Who's up and who's down this week? The Beltway Boys decide.
Down, self-appointed Afghan emissary Jesse Jackson.
FRED BARNES, CO-HOST: His latest attempt at diplomatic freelancing backfires big time. First his offer to mediate is rebuffed by the U.S., then the Taliban contradicts Jackson's story that they were the ones to initiate contact on a peace delegation.
MORT KONDRACKE, CO-HOST: Well, you know, Jesse Jackson had a sex scandal and a money scandal...
KONDRACKE: ... and, and he disappeared for a little while. Then he, he was going to make a comeback, try to make a comeback on the terrible issue of reparations...
BARNES: Oh, geez.
KONDRACKE: ... for, for slavery. But then along came September 11, and he went back to his old standby, nuzzling up to anti, anti-American, you know, enemies of the United States. It didn't work.
BARNES: Yes, who do you believe, the Taliban or Jackson on who made the first contact?
KONDRACKE: It's a hard choice. I think I believe the Taliban.
BARNES: I do too. But look, you know, one person who handled this Jackson thing very well, I didn't think so at first, but he really handled it well, was Secretary of State Powell. And, and he said, Look, no good can come of this Jackson mission, if there is one. But if Jackson wants to go, that's his right to go. That denied Jackson the ability to say, Peace was at hand if I could only have gone and dealt with the Taliban, but the secretary of state wouldn't let me. He, he, he was denied that.But you know what? He's not going.
Up, CIA director George Tenet
KONDRACKE: Despite sniping from Capitol HIll, President Bush publicly and pointedly gives Tenet and the CIA a vote of confidence at a pep rally at Langley this week. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: This is a war that is unlike any other war that our nation is used to. It's a battle and -- it's a war of a series of battles that sometimes we'll see the fruits of our labors and sometimes we won't. It's a war that's going to require cooperation with our friends. It is a war that requires the best of intelligence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KONDRACKE: Well, the CIA and the FBI clearly messed up and, and didn't, didn't have any -- get advance warning of the, the September 11 attacks. But George Tenet has been trying to do the things that are necessary to rebuild the, the spy corps...
KONDRACKE: ... after a decade of, a decade of failure, and both Bush and Cheney, Dick Cheney, respect that, and like him and want to keep him.
BARNES: Yes, I think...
KONDRACKE: ... I think his job is secure.
BARNES: Yes, I do too. But it's about time that they were getting around to getting some spies, you know, human intelligence. I think he's evading accountability here. But the good news is that Bush did not say similar wonderful things about the other Clinton holdover, Jane Garvey, who's the head of the Federal Aviation Administration, the FAA, which is years behind in tightening its security rules for those guards at airports, and, and, and upgrading the whole system. They're a part of the problem. I have a candidate to take over the job at the FAA, Rudy Giuliani, soon out of work in New York City.
KONDRACKE: Man who needs a job.
Up, San Antonio radiologist Al al-Badr al-Hazmi.
BARNES: He was mistakenly held by the FBI for two weeks as a material witness in the terrorist attacks. Al-Hazmi, who was released Tuesday, says he doesn't blame authorities and urged tolerance. Now, Mort, listen to this. This guy has the right angle.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AL AL-BADR AL-HAZMI, FALSELY DETAINED: Let us be tolerant to each others, and both together, and be united, and learn not to hate, because hatred is evil and love is good.What happened September 11 is -- has nothing to do with any religion, and it has nothing to do with Islam. The teaching of Islam is totally against violence and killing innocent people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BARNES: An exemplary response, but, you know, this whole question of, of detaining noncitizens who are suspected of terrorism has become a big issue in Washington, the civil liberties lobby is against it and a lot of people on Capitol Hill and so on. But it is -- but that is the wrong response to September 11. That power is needed if we're going to fight a war. This is wartime, Mort. And, and mistakes are going to be made. There will probably be more people like this doctor detained, and, and found innocent, and maybe they won't respond as well as he did. But the authority to do this is necessary.
KONDRACKE: Well, you know, I mean, look, hate crimes are odious, but, but the fact is that the newspapers are, some of the newspapers and television networks are pretending that what's being done to Arab Americans is like what was done to the Japanese after, after Pearl Harbor.
BARNES: Yes, right.
KONDRACKE: I mean, it, it, it is simply ridiculous. But in San Antonio, even the head of the, the Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee said what happened to al-Hazmi was regrettable, but this is what you got to do in, in wartime, which was the right response.
BARNES: Yes, yes, yes, yes, good for him.
KONDRACKE: Now, now, all, and the, and the Bush administration's been very clear that Arabs and Muslims not responsible.Then we have your pal, Prime Minister Berlusconi, of Italy, who did, did the, the coalition, my, my sainted coalition, no good at all by saying, quote, "We must be aware of the superiority of our civilization, a system that has guaranteed well-being, respect for human rights, and, in contrast with Islamic countries, respect for religious and political rights." That was...
BARNES: ... wait a minute, I...
KONDRACKE: ... totally impolitic.
BARNES: ... I have a question for you, though. What part of that
statement did you, do you disagree with?
KONDRACKE: ... it is a fact that there is no Islamic democracy. But
he said that it was our job to conquer the, the Islamic world. That is not
BARNES: Well, that's not quite what he meant, but, I mean...
KONDRACKE: That's what he said.
BARNES: Well, but do you believe it's a -- we have a superior
KONDRACKE: I think it's not our job to conquer the...
BARNES: All right.
KONDRACKE: ... the Arab world.
BARNES: ... wait a minute, go ahead...
KONDRACKE: My turn.
BARNES: Your turn.
Up, His Airness Michael Jordan.
KONDRACKE: He's making another NBA comeback, inking a two-year deal with the Washington Wizards. Jordan says he'll donate his first year's salary, a million dollars, to victims of the September 11 attacks.
BARNES: OK, is it my turn now?
KONDRACKE: It's your turn.
BARNES: OK, look, this is the best thing to happen in Washington. The only good thing in -- the second best thing, let me put it that way, to happen in Washington since September 11, the first best thing, of course, is this great leadership by George W. Bush. And the good news, Mort, I renewed my season tickets for the Wizards.
KONDRACKE: I, I know it, I know. Now, here's the, here's the games I want. I want the Knicks, I want the 6ers, OK?
BARNES: Yes, yes, yes.
KONDRACKE: But I'll leave, but I'll take Golden State if that, that's all that's available.
BARNES: But I remember, I remember last year when the Bullet -- when the Wizards were bad, and boy, and you had to clean your sock drawer.
Whose on your up and down list for the week? E-mail the Beltway Boys at firstname.lastname@example.org to submit your nominations and look for winners and losers on this webpage.