Hot Stories for the Week of June 23-27

This is a partial transcript from The Beltway Boys, June 28, 2003, that has been edited for clarity. Click here to order the complete transcript.

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FRED BARNES, CO-HOST: Mort, the hot story is bullish on Bush, by which I mean that the stars are falling into alignment for President Bush to win a reelection in 2004. Now, I base this on what is happening and what is expected to happen, and let me run down the list for you.

Number one, of course, is a domestic policy win with Medicare and a prescription drug benefit, hasn't happened yet, probably will. Bush needs a domestic triumph. That's it.

Secondly, of course, is a foreign policy win, and that's happened in Iraq. It's sort of a bumpy road postwar, but so far, it's going very well.

Probably most important, the economy is improving. All the indicators look good. One thing that hasn't happened yet, of course, is capital investment increasing. I expect it will, although it hasn't yet. OK.

Next, the Democrats can't get their act together. I think you probably agree with that. They're having a horrible time.

Next, the big media has been discredited. You saw the coverage of the war in Iraq. It was pathetic. And people were fleeing from the network news shows.

And lastly, he's got a huge money advantage. You know, Bush has raised $30 million in June, and he's expected to raise $200 million by the end of the year. No Democrat can match that.

BARNES: Now, wait...


BARNES: ... I have a caveat.

KONDRACKE: Yes, yes.

BARNES: You know, this does not guarantee Bush's win, but it means that he -- I'd rather be in his shoes than any Democrat's shoes.

KONDRACKE: Well, that's right, but I think you are the person who has famously warned against straight-line projections from the present...

BARNES: Yes, I agree.

KONDRACKE: ...All right.

BARNES: And I have.

KONDRACKE: All right. Well, the Democrats have an answer for much of the -- many of the points you make.

One, the Medicare plan won't work. The Democrats are the party to fix it. And also to provide a ... to provide -- to help care for the uninsured and, and control costs.

Two, they expect Iraq to be a postwar disaster.

Three, they expect no economic recovery, or at least a weak one.

Four, when they have a nominee, they will have their act together. What you have now is cacophony among...

BARNES: Yes, I know.

KONDRACKE: ... among many candidates.

Big media, who cares about?

Now, the one, the one point they can't answer is the money. I mean, there's no question...

BARNES: Yes, money.

KONDRACKE: ... but what Bush is going to be -- have, have gobs of money, and I don't know what they're going to do about that.


KONDRACKE: You forgot one Bush advantage...

BARNES: Right.

KONDRACKE: ... and that is the current character advantage for, for him.

BARNES: Right, yes.

KONDRACKE: People, people trust him, which means that the Democrats are going to attack like crazy.

BARNES: Yes, but who has the best case right now?

KONDRACKE: Well, right now, you know, right now I'd have to say, if you want to straight-line project...


KONDRACKE: ... which you keep warning against... I'd have to say Bush is the favorite.


KONDRACKE: OK. The other...

BARNES: And the big media matters, because the big media, I mean, their decline matters, because they hate Bush.

KONDRACKE: Yes, all right... pound it in. All right, all right.

Now, the, the other hot story is liberal supremacy...


KONDRACKE: ... that is, as in Supreme Court.

BARNES: Yes, I got the, yes...

KONDRACKE: The Supreme Court, you know, finishes...

BARNES: ... I got the...

KONDRACKE: ...with two liberal...

BARNES: ... yes.

KONDRACKE: ... decisions, and no retirements, which means no big fights over, over who's going to come onto the court until probably 2005.

The, the liberal rulings were upholding affirmative action, racial preferences, in college admissions and legalizing gay rights.

Now, once upon a time, the President Bush told you that, that his favorite justices were Scalia and Thomas, the, the, the, the archconservatives...


KONDRACKE: ... but, you know, his reaction was very interesting to these rulings. He praised the affirmative action ruling, he was utterly silent about the, the gay rights rule, ruling. I think his real favorite candidate, favorite model on the Supreme Court is Sandra Day O'Connor, the moderate.

BARNES: Well, I doubt that. But speaking of Sandra Day O'Connor, she did something amazing. In 1986, when she was on the court, she said that gay sex in private was not constitutionally protected. Just this past week, she said it was constitutionally protected

Now, one way to explain this is to listen what -- to what Justice Scalia said in his dissenting opinion, which he read aloud in the court. He said, "Today's opinion is the product of a court that has largely signed on to the so-called homosexual agenda. It is clear from this ruling that the court has taken sides in the culture war." I think Sandra Day O'Connor is taking sides in the culture war.

And this is different. Overturning a precedent in this case than, say, when separate but equal in schools was overturned by Brown versus Board of Education in 1954. Then, they pointed to copious evidence, educational, sociological, and other evidence that showed that separate but equal didn't work and was harmful and so on.

There was no evidence, there was no evidence to point to this time. It was just the -- a change in the culture, and, and so the court decided to change its mind.

Look, I think these laws that barred private gay sex were wrong. I wouldn't put them into law. But the, but the truth is, states that have them were, were eliminating them, abolishing them, anyway. This was not something for the Supreme Court to do. And let the democratic system work.

KONDRACKE: The democratic system did work.

BARNES: Well, no, this was the court. This wasn't the court...


BARNES: ... then the court shouldn't have been doing that.

KONDRACKE: Well, it was an egregious, it was an egregious idea that you could, that a certain groups of people would be, would be arrested for their, their sexual conduct, and the court decided to throw out something that, that was antiquated.

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