This partial transcript of The Beltway Boys, March 9, was provided by the Federal Document Clearing House. Click here to order the complete transcript.
FRED BARNES, CO-HOST: Let's go to Ups and Downs, if you're ready.
MORT KONDRACKE, CO-HOST: Ready.
BARNES: More time.
Down: Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle
BARNES: Down, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle. With the war back on the front pages and the economy rebounding, Daschle is finding few weapons in his arsenal to fight President Bush and the Republicans. Here's Daschle last week versus this week after introducing a resolution supporting the troops.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
U.S. SENATOR TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MAJORITY LEADER: I don't think the success has been overstated, but the continued success, I think, is still somewhat in doubt.
There's a lot of support for offering a resolution in light of the lost lives a few days ago, and just to – an effort once again to send the troops a message that at times of setback like this, that we want to make sure they know that they're in our thoughts and that we strongly support their efforts.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
BARNES: You know, Daschle really did get burned when he voiced this, I thought, very – fairly mild criticism. In truth, the issues he talked about were not really what I think most of these Democrats think. They're not that worried about consultation or unilateralism. I think they have real European-like qualms about extending the war after Afghanistan. I don't think they want to go into Iraq.
KONDRACKE: Calling them European is pretty mean, Fred.
BARNES: Yes, (UNINTELLIGIBLE), I know, I know, I meant it to be mean. But I think they really worry about this. But they're just not allowed to say this in the current political climate in America. I'm glad they're not.
KONDRACKE: Didn't you tell me last week that you thought they'd come around on Iraq?
BARNES: I think they will. Once the war in Iraq begins, I think Daschle and other Democrats will be there supporting the president. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) but they – they're not – I think they're not in favor of it now. They have real qualms, and...
KONDRACKE: Look, I think Daschle...
BARNES: ... and you know...
KONDRACKE: ... I think, I think Daschle won one this week when Congress passed the – a cut-down stimulus bill, a lot more to his liking than the Republicans with their – more humongous tax cuts for rich corporations...
KONDRACKE: ... that they tried to pass first. So, so now – so that's a small Daschle victory, which I don't think he's going to get credit for.
Now, Daschle's real problem, though...
KONDRACKE: ... is that he doesn't control the Senate the way the Republicans control the House. And as a result, he can't pass Democratic plans through and get 60 votes in the Senate to embarrass the Republicans...
KONDRACKE: ... the way the Republicans can pass things through the House to embarrass him in the Senate.
BARNES: Well, why doesn't he just pass some of the bills that have cleared the House, because for the good of America? Why didn't he do that rather than...
KONDRACKE: Because he...
BARNES: ... have them stack up on his desk?
KONDRACKE: Because he disagrees with a lot of them.
BARNES: Well, he can...
BARNES: ... work out compromises rather than just being an obstructionist.
Down: President Bush
KONDRACKE: Down, President Bush. Bush slaps temporary tariffs on imported steel, opening himself up to charges that he can talk the talk on free trade but won't walk the walk. Here's Bush defending his decision.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: We're a free-trading nation, and in order to remain a free- trading nation, we must enforce law. And that's exactly what I did. I decided that, that imports were severely affecting our industry, an important industry, in a negative impact, and therefore provide temporary relief so that the industry could restructure itself.
That's exactly what the World Trade Organization allows for.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KONDRACKE: You know, this is the second Bush blow to the, the concept of free trade, which he pays such lip service to. The first one, he sold out to the textile interests when he was trying to get trade promotion authority, hurting, among other countries, the Caribbean countries...
BARNES: Yes, right.
KONDRACKE: ... and also Pakistan, which wants (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to send his textiles. Now, this one, he's, he's caved in to steel, big steel, and the steel voters...
KONDRACKE: ... you know, and...
KONDRACKE: ... and the problem is that what the Europeans will use this for is to impose tariffs on, on our agricultural product...
KONDRACKE: ... and protect their...
KONDRACKE: ... agriculture industries. And they will be (UNINTELLIGIBLE), you know, in such moral – acting as though they have the moral high ground...
BARNES: Yes, exactly.
KONDRACKE: ... because we're not living up to our principles.
BARNES: And, and, and, and the truth is, we're not. I mean, this was a, a – I thought, a pretty lame rationale the president gave. These other countries aren't dumping steel. And, and secondly, he did give away the high ground. Look, he certainly has the political capital and the popularity to get away with not coddling the steel industry, which will – is not going to be improved by this.
Not only did he lose the high ground in dealing with our, our, our trading partners around the world, this just invites other industries in the United States to come in for their bailouts, and they'll be there soon.
Up: Republican nominee for California governor Bill Simon
BARNES: Up, Republican nominee for California governor Bill Simon. Political neophyte Simon wins a landslide victory over early favorite Dick Riordan in Tuesday's GOP primary. One factor in his win, nearly $10 million in TV ads bashing Riordan courtesy of Democratic Governor Gray Davis.
Well, Simon is more conservative than California, but then so was Ronald Reagan when he ran for governor there twice and was elected. I think he's got to do a couple things if he's going to win this fall. One is, he has to defend his positions on social issues, like abortion and guns. If he starts waffling, the press will just clobber him day after day after day.
BARNES: And two, he's got to go after Gray Davis on issues that he's weak on, particularly the energy. They don't call Gray Davis the Prince of Darkness in California for nothing. Energy, the budget, and a few others. He's got to be very, very aggressive.
KONDRACKE: Well, this, this general election campaign is going to be Gray...
KONDRACKE: ... versus grayer.
KONDRACKE: Bill, Bill Simon, you know. But the, but the, the, the rhetoric is going to be pretty, pretty colorful.
KONDRACKE: You're going to have Davis accusing Simon of being an extremist, and you're going to have Simon accusing Davis of being a failure.
KONDRACKE: I say the failure wins. Bill Simon is no Ronald Reagan.
BARNES: No, sir.
Down: ABC News
KONDRACKE: Down, ABC News. The threatened ouster of Nightline and revamp of the Saturday – Sunday morning program, This Week, plunges the once-dominant news dynasty into disarray, further deteriorating the relationship between ABC's news division and the parent company, Walt Disney.
I would be very sad to see Nightline, a serious news show, go in favor of Dave, David Letterman, which is silly entertainment.
KONDRACKE: I got to say, though, that, that Nightline ain't what it used to be.
KONDRACKE: I mean, Ted Koppel's hardly there any more...
KONDRACKE: ... and besides that, you know, when it – when – after 9/11, they were talking constantly about why the Arabs hate America, the Muslims hate America, instead of what's wrong with Arab culture or Muslim culture around the world.
BARNES: Yes. Mort, a good point.
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