Ups and Downs for the Week of March 4 - March 8

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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...

BARNES:  Right.

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.

Horrible decision.

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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