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Ups and Downs for the Week of Jan. 7 - 11

This partial transcript of The Beltway Boys, Jan. 12, was provided by the Federal Document Clearing House. Click here to order the complete transcript.

FRED BARNES, CO-HOST: Ups and Downs, if you're ready.

MORT KONDRACKE, CO-HOST:  I'm ready.

BARNES:  All right.

Down: Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle 

BARNES:  Down, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle.  Less than a week after Daschle claimed President Bush's tax cut caused the recession, several Senate Democrats publicly dispute Daschle's charge on both political and economic grounds.

KONDRACKE:  Now, you know that I have a deep soft spot for Tom Daschle.  I like the guy very much.

BARNES:  Sure.

KONDRACKE:  And I even agree that he's fundamentally right on the issue that Bush – that Bush's tax cuts were too big.  But ever since he made the speech a week ago, he has been nothing but clobbered, both by Republicans, who you'd expect, but also by Democrats...

BARNES:  Yes, I know.

KONDRACKE:  ... and especially the Democrats who voted...

BARNES:  Yes.

KONDRACKE:  ... for the tax bills...

BARNES:  Yes.

KONDRACKE:  ... chiefly Georgia Democrat Zell Miller, who said, quote,  "How do you have as one of your highest priorities to reelect moderate Democrats from South Dakota, Montana, and Missouri, on the one hand, and then on the other hand blame them for voting for a tax cut that Daschle maintains has created the recession?"  Hello?  I mean, so it's just – you know, he's just been pummeled ever since he made that speech.

BARNES:  You know, I have a soft spot for Daschle.  I like him, he’s an impressive guy, he's smart, he's nice.  It's not as soft as your spot,  however – or it's not as deep.  I mean, I agree with "The Economist"  magazine that said this week that Daschle in that now-famous speech was  "breathlessly inconsistent."

I mean, on the one hand he was criticizing tax cuts at the deficit –  and the deficit that we're going to have in the budget next year, and then  he was advocating tax cuts and more spending.  I mean, that made no sense  whatsoever.

KONDRACKE:  They were temporary tax cuts, that's the point.

BARNES:  Oh, well, they were still – oh, come on, and...

KONDRACKE:  That's what the point was.

BARNES:  That's green eyeshade stuff.  Look, the point is, Daschle  and Democrats are on the losing side of this economic debate.  Look at this  poll number, these poll numbers that Fox has in its new – in the new Fox-Opinion Dynamics poll, which shows that 52 percent think Democrats would  rather have the economic downturn as a campaign issue than work to improve  the economy.

That is a very damaging number...

Up: Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy 

KONDRACKE:  OK, now we'll move on to the next.  Up, Massachusetts  Senator Ted Kennedy.  President Bush makes Kennedy a lead player in his  bipartisan road show, heaping praise on the senator for his work on the  education bill.

Here they are, as a matter of fact...

BARNES:  Yes, yes...

KONDRACKE:  ... Bush and, Bush and Kennedy joshing it up in Boston.

BARNES:  I love this clip.  This is great.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS:  President Bush was there  every step of the way, making a difference on this legislation...

BUSH:  I told the folks at the coffee shop in Crawford, Texas, that  Ted Kennedy was all right.  They nearly fell out.  But he is.  I've come to  admire him.  He's a smart, capable senator.  You want him on your side, I  can tell you that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KONDRACKE:  Well, this was – that was Boston...

BARNES:  Yes.

KONDRACKE:  ... they did it, first they did it in Ohio, then they  moved to New Hampshire...

BARNES:  Right.

KONDRACKE:  ... then they did it in Boston.

BARNES:  Right.

KONDRACKE:  It was a road show.

BARNES:  Yes.

KONDRACKE:  And I cannot believe that this was a gift, a can – piece  of candy for Tom Daschle, because what it in effect said –  Bush said, I'm  bipartisan, therefore, you know, Daschle wasn't.  And...

BARNES:  Did you get the impression that maybe Bush and Kennedy kind  of like each other?  And Bush was right about one thing.  You do want  Kennedy on your side.  Now, a conservative Republican president isn't going  to have him there many times, but boy, you want him when you can have it.

And, but did you notice in his speech – you probably didn't, but I  notice this kind of thing – Kennedy also zinged previous administrations  for not joining in education reform – who do you think...

KONDRACKE:  What could have had in mind?

(CROSSTALK)

KONDRACKE:  You never quit.

BARNES:  ... he was the...

KONDRACKE:  You're so predictable.

BARNES:  ... the C-word, yes, but Bush is right, you know, Kennedy is  a real adult.  You know what his agenda is, and he will deal with anybody  to get it.  A very effective legislator.  All right.

Down: PLO chairman Yasser Arafat 

BARNES:  Down, PLO chairman Yasser Arafat.  The U.S. and Israel conclude that  the Palestinian Authority and the Fatah faction of the PLO, both led by  Arafat, were involved in an abortive scheme to smuggle 50 tons of weapons  to the Palestinians.  The – a remarkable blunder.

But I think one of the biggest blunders by Arafat in this is lying to  General Anthony Zinni about this.  He's the personal representative,  President Bush, Secretary of State Colin Powell, lying to him.  How can the  U.S. then continue to sponsor a peace process over there when you have a  guy like Arafat?

I think it is time to shove Arafat aside, jettison him, and wait, and  it may take a while, but wait for a responsible new Palestinian leader to  emerge.  And one will.

KONDRACKE:  Well, I don't know about responsible.  That's going to  take some time.  But the fact is that Arafat has no defenders practically  anywhere, in the State Department even, in Europe, increasingly the one  group that has to turn on him that hasn't quite yet is the Palestinian  people.  Maybe they will.

Down: Melissa Gilbert

KONDRACKE:  Down, Melissa Gilbert.  Gilbert, the former "Little House on the  Prairie" star, is stripped of her title as the president of the Screen  Actors Guild due to, get this, voter irregularities.  Gilbert will now have  to face a runoff with – rematch, I'm sorry, with former "Rhoda" star  Valerie Harper.

This is your – this is your subject here.

BARNES:  You're a member the Screen Actors Guild, right?

KONDRACKE:  I am, I am.

BARNES:  And who did you vote for?

KONDRACKE:  I think I wrote in Cybill Shepherd, your favorite actress.

BARNES:  Right.  Yes, well, I'm a member too, I have to say, I didn't  vote in this.  But this is an important election.  This is Laura Ingalls  versus Rhoda.  Now, I mean, it's pretty clear who the sides are.  You know,  Laura is, in effect, Melissa Gilbert, she's the Bush stand-in, she's the...

KONDRACKE:  Really?  How do you figure that?

BARNES:  Because she's for – well, there is a good reason.  She's for – against this protectionism that's gotten into the entertainment  industry...

KONDRACKE:  That makes – let me see, that makes...

BARNES:  ... that makes her...

KONDRACKE:  ... Rhoda the Clinton candidate.

BARNES:  Exactly.

KONDRACKE:  Oh!

BARNES:  Melissa's going to take it.

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