The Bush Blowout; Democratic Disarray

This is a partial transcript from The Beltway Boys, September 14, that has been edited for clarity. Click here to order the complete transcript.

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FRED BARNES, CO-HOST: I'm Fred Barnes.

MORT KONDRACKE, CO-HOST: And I'm Mort Kondracke, and we're The Beltway Boys.

Well, that was nice and modest of the president. But...

BARNES: Yes, he won.

KONDRACKE: ... but the -- Yes, but the -- He won, absolutely. The hot story of the week was the Bush blowout. It was his approval rating which our friend Bill McInturff, the Republican pollster, says was 76 percent in the most hotly contested average in the most hotly contested House races around, around the country.

That's what produced this, this big Republican victory, historic. I mean, House, Senate, governorships across the board, and it hasn't happened this, this big since 1934.

Now, the Democratic national chairman, Terry McAuliffe, had this to say. Now, he's partly right, but listen.

BARNES: All right, all right.


TERRY MCAULIFFE, CHAIR, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: The burden of leadership now rests squarely on his shoulders, and he has yet to prove that he can handle this responsibility. The president got what he asked for last night, and now he will have to produce.


KONDRACKE: Now...McAuliffe said, in addition to that, that this was a -- still a 50-50 country...

BARNES: Yes, that's wrong...

KONDRACKE: It's not a 50-50 country. What he is right about is that it's now Bush's responsibility. He's got to produce.

BARNES: Yes, but Mort, Mort, Terry McAuliffe talking about leadership is like Bill Clinton talking about abstinence, it's something he did -- it's something he's never practiced it and doesn't know much about. I mean, I think this was -- you mention '34, I think this was the single greatest election for a president and his party in the first midterm election ever, maybe in human history. I mean, when you...

KONDRACKE: Oh, please.

BARNES: ...I'm going to, look...


BARNES: ... I'm going to run down the list.

KONDRACKE: All right, OK.

BARNES: I got six points I want to make one under. The Senate, this is the first time in a, in a first midterm a president's party took over the Senate. In the House, they, they're back now winning six or seven seats. They're now back to the 1994 level when they won, you know, I mean, one of the great, the greatest sweeps in history.

Governors, even we predicted they'd lose five. I think they lost one. But more Democratic incumbent governors were beaten than Republican incumbent governors. So Republicans are still strong there.

Then go to the state legislatures. Do you know that there are more Republican state legislators around the country than Democrats for the first time in 50 years? And this was achieved in an off-year election.

Then there are Hispanics, I mean, Democrats think Hispanics, they had a lock on them, and Hispanics, a majority of non-Cuban Latinos in Florida went for Jeb Bush, George Pataki in New York got 51 percent of the Hispanic vote, in Texas Rick Perry got 35 percent against a, an Hispanic opponent who had about 100 percent ID, he got 35 percent, which shows that there is a permanent Hispanic vote, at least in Texas.

Now, and then there are young voters. Young, I mean, I mean, polls indicate that young voters, including women, young women, are gradually moving in a Republican, not a Democratic, direction, even to the point where women vote at the, the same percentages as men, no gender gap.

So it, it's really something. OK.

The other hot story, one that I know makes you weep, and that is Democratic disarray. And you know who one of the, one of the people who has helped caused that's...Democratic disarray?

KONDRACKE: Bill Clinton.

BARNES: Terry -- no, well, actually, Clinton too, but maybe he's, because he picked Terry McAuliffe and Hillary to be the Democratic national chairman. And, and, and what McAuliffe did was produce this new kind of model of a candidate and a party where the candidates are people with no ideology, no firm views on issues, just interested in winning at all costs, just winning.

They've created this image of the party as the expedient party, not the party of the little guy, not the party of the work, of working families or anything, but this expedient party. Not very appealing.

KONDRACKE: Look, I -- you, you, you are overblowing the size of the victory.

BARNES: Oh, come on.

KONDRACKE: You are trying -- No, wait a minute. You are trying to say that this is realignment again? I, I've heard that story from you after 1994.

BARNES: Look...

KONDRACKE: It didn't happen...

BARNES: You're...

KONDRACKE: ... it drifted to parity.

BARNES: You...

KONDRACKE: This is not parity. Bush won, no question about it, Republicans are ahead. But this is not, this is not the beginning, necessarily of a, of a, of a great party realignment.

BARNES: But even you said it's not 50-50...

KONDRACKE: It's not, not equally divided... it's now...

BARNES: ... it's 52-48, 53-47.

KONDRACKE: Now, Terry McAuliffe is not supposed to be a policy maker, he's, he is, he is supposed to be a nuts-and-bolts money raiser. And, and he was pretty good at that. Now, the, the, the leadership of the party has to determine what the policies are, and your idea of what the Democratic Party ought to be, weak on foreign policy, soft on crime, you know, profligate with spending, you know, the, the, it's going to be fulfilled, at least in the House. I mean, Pelosi is going to take over as the, as the, the Democratic leader, but in 2004, it will be the presidential candidate who will be the face of the, of the Democratic Party, and I hope that the party will have somebody who is at least tough on foreign policy.

BARNES: Mort, one of the things I love about this show is when you tell me what I think...

KONDRACKE: I know what you think.

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