Left Push Alienates Dem Voters

This is a partial transcript from Hannity & Colmes, October 24, 2003, that has been edited for clarity.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Is the Democratic Party now alienating their own voter base because they are pushing to far to the left. Joining us from Washington, former speaker of the house Fox News Political Analyst Newt Gingrich.

Even Bill Clinton (search) said they're pushing too far to the left. You were with me during an interview that I had in Atlanta this week with Senator Zell Miller (search).

Let me put up on the screen, for our audience, what he said.

He said, "They're just taking that shrinking Democratic base and they are appealing to the most shrill and the most active and the loudest -- what they're doing is they're pulling this party further and further to the left."

He goes on: "These nine candidates," he calls them, "the naive nine who are running for president", they're not really running for president, they're running for the nomination, "They're not trying to put together a consensus to win."

Is that all accurate?

NEWT GINGRICH, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think it's increasingly clear that the naive nine, and I think Senator Miller, who has been a lifelong Democrat, was lieutenant governor for 16 years, was governor for eight years, is the most popular Georgian, politically, by a huge margin.

Senator Miller put his finger exactly on the problem. As you know, he has a new book coming out called The National Party No More: The Conscience of a Conservative Democrat, but the term naive nine, I think, Sean, is at the heart of this.

This is the most left-wing, distrustful of America, bash the government, say whatever you want to as long as it's shrill and negative that we have seen since George McGovern. They combine the tax increases of Walter Mondale with the left-wing, runaway from reality policies of George McGovern in a way that I don't think we've ever quite seen.

And eight of the nine of them are doing it every day. And the only one who is coming anywhere near not doing it is Senator Joe Lieberman.

HANNITY: Yes, I'm going to be down in Georgia next week. We're taping a television interview that we'll have with Zell Miller. This book, I have to be honest, is one of the most honest political books I have ever read in my life. And we'll have that interview here next week.

You know, Andrew Cuomo (search), of all people, referred this week to his party, as bloodless, soulless, clueless. Said they fumbled their role in the post-9/11 world. Said we have become a party of fear instead of a party of hope.

Clearly these are not conservatives saying these things. I don't think they're going to be listened to. I think it will be Howard Dean.

GINGRICH: But if I could for a second, Sean, I think it's fascinating that Andrew Cuomo would be that open in his dissatisfaction. But I thought about it ever since you and I talked about it on your radio show the other day. And I think he's wrong about being bloodless. Howard Dean is the full-blooded, passionate outcry of the left-wing unilateral disarmament, hide from reality, don't try to engage the terrorists, don't do anything difficult, don't try to solve problems, hope they'll never find us, wing of the Democratic Party.

It's McGovernism times 10 and there's passion there. It's not that he's soulless.


GINGRICH: There's enormous passion for that belief.

HANNITY: But you know something, I actually refer to him affectionately as Howard Dean McGovern and John Kerry Dukakis, but certainly tradition has had it that in a campaign you tend to go more solidly towards the base of a party, during a general election you move a little bit more to the center here.

I don't even see any wiggle room where he could attempt, on issues of national security, national defense -- and taxes, to even attempt to try and move to the center, which means there will be a clear distinct choice for the American people about where they want to go on these issues.

GINGRICH: But I think that's very good for the country. I think we need to get beyond the petty baloney of clever pollsters and clever ad men. Let's have a genuine, honest choice in 2004.

President Bush is trying to do something that's very, very hard. Let's be clear about it. Not desirable, but unavoidable, necessary. He's trying to lead in a war on terrorism that's very difficult.

Governor Dean, to his credit, has taken the full-blown view in the other direction. He was against the war in Iraq. I assume he would be comfortable if Saddam was still there. I'm sure he's going to adopt all of these left-wing assaults on the intelligence community as part of his stock and trade. He is a guy who I think will give the American people a real choice and that will be healthy for the country to have that debate and decide what kind of country ...

COLMES: Mr. Speaker ...

GINGRICH: I think it's really ...yes?

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: How are you?


COLMES: I know the strategy is to take the front runner among the Democrats, try to paint them as liberal as possible. That will be the Republican strategy, correct?

GINGRICH: Well, not if ...

COLMES: You are going to try to make that person out to be a big lib, and way to the left.

GINGRICH: Not if it's Joe Lieberman. He is a centrist. I would say no.


COLMES: You were nice enough to endorse my book, which is just out. And so I have liberals attacking me. How dare you put Newt Gingrich on what's supposed to be a liberal book. My point, we should all come together -- we need to find a place where we're all Americans. That bothers some of my fellow liberals that you're on the back of my book. It shouldn't be that way.

GINGRICH: Well, but, Alan, you're ...

HANNITY: Priceless.

GINGRICH: You're in a sense making my point.

COLMES: I know I am.

GINGRICH: True liberals, the true faith, the passionate folks who want to run and hide, they don't want to be in the middle. They want to feel virtuous standing over there with unilateral disarmament and proudly standing for the ostrich as their symbol and hiding from reality. I think they feel very hurt that you want to be in the middle.

COLMES: Let me talk about -- I'm not always in the middle. But let me talk about this issue. You said the left wing attacks on intelligence, the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, which just came out with a report in The Washington Times today, it is Republican senators who are doing this. It's not the left that's saying the intelligence was flawed. There may be a big intelligence problem. They're talking about this forthcoming report, blaming the CIA for using single sources of information, among other things. That's not coming from the left.

GINGRICH: Well, let me just say, first of all, what you've seen in The Washington Post in the last two weeks, is two consecutive leaks, one from the House, the other from the Senate. Both of the leaks were not about reports. The CIA had not had a chance to answer any of the questions. Both of them are designed to hurt the CIA and the intelligence community at large. And they're designed to hurt the Bush administration.

Senator Rockefeller was out there today going full bore after the president on intelligence issues. It's quite clear that the Democrats have decided for partisan reasons that they want to -- that they're willing to tear down the intelligence community of the United States if that helps them win the election next year.

COLMES: Wait, wait...

GINGRICH: And I think that's very dangerous.

COLMES: I've heard Republicans say time after time how diminished our capabilities are blaming the Clinton administration and Democrats in the past for hurting our intelligence capability.

GINGRICH: That's right.

COLMES: So all of a sudden this comes out and now you want to blame Democrats for doing something Republicans have done for a long time, blame the intelligence community and blame Democratic administrations for doing it.

GINGRICH: Wait a second. What you just said is technically correct. The Clinton administration refused to increase the intelligence budget any year for eight years except one -- the year that as speaker I imposed a $1 billion increase against the wishes of the Clinton administration.

The Clinton administration systematically weakened the intelligence community. President Bush for three years, working with the Director Tenet, has been rebuilding our intelligence capabilities. They are substantially better than they were in 2000. And it is very discouraging to this intelligence community to have the kind of leaks without a fair hearing, without a chance to answer questions, without the people being accused having a chance to go into these committees and answer the questions.

COLMES: I agree with to the other side


GINGRICH: ...bad for America.

COLMES: But clearly supposedly 95 percent of the report is known and it certainly ...

GINGRICH: That's not true.

COLMES: That's what was reported.

GINGRICH: Let me just say, if the Senate staff thinks they're 95 percent done, they're not doing their job. Because they don't have enough information to be 95 percent done.

COLMES: I want to read it right here, we're talking about this report that came out about the Select Intelligence Committee, a forthcoming report that they have says bad things about our intelligence.

You have said bad things about our intelligence. But it seems to bother you when this committee says some of the same things I've heard from Republicans about how depleted our resources are.

You had Senator Roberts -- Pat Roberts -- saying the Intel at the White House down. He then says he was misquoted. And you have John Rockefeller saying Roberts wants to blame all of this on Intel not the White House and let the Bush administration off the hook. What do you make of all of that?

GINGRICH: First of all, Alan, intelligence may be the most important aspect of American national security. Our ability to send people out at the risk of their lives, to go all around the world in some of the most despicable and deadly places, to recruit agents, to find out secrets, to make assessments, is at the heart of our security.

The purpose of House and Senate intelligence committees is to be bipartisan and to keep their mouths shut, to be secret, to only render judgment when they have carefully and thoughtfully gotten the situation under control. We've had two weeks now where The Washington Post has had reports that are harmful to the intelligence community, harmful to America's role in the world -- and, frankly, wrong.

It is simply plain wrong. I talked to Chairman Goss, who did not agree with the tone and the focus of the report in "The Washington Post" two weeks ago. I have talked with people at the Central Intelligence Agency and in the office of the director of Central Intelligence, today, who were astounded that only two days after George Tenet asked for time to respond to this so-called report, it ends up getting leaked to "The Washington Post" which is exactly wrong.

This is the most destructive behavior by the Congress since the Church Committee in the mid 1970s.

HANNITY: Absolutely.

GINGRICH: Deliberately dismantled the intelligence community. It's very dangerous for America.

HANNITY: Well, the real story that a lot of people don't want to face Mr. Speaker, is we rendered our intelligence community impotent in the 1990s, even going as far as saying they cannot deal with unsavory characters. And that really needs to be addressed especially in light of 9/11.

I want to ask you a question about General Boykin (search). Among the comments that were deemed controversial, he said there's a spiritual enemy, speaking in a church, named Satan. And another instance he said President Bush is in the White House because God put him there. And he also said about a Muslim militia leader in Somalia, ‘I knew my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol.’

Your thoughts?

GINGRICH: Well, I'm not sure that American generals -- this reminds me of Patton's more outrageous comments in 1944, I'm not sure an American general has any place while he's on active duty making these kind of comments. And I certainly think it is harmful to America and wrong to suggest that Allah is somehow not something to be respected and to be observed.

And I think in that sense, what he said about Somalia is just plain wrong.

HANNITY: But wait a minute, he was talking about his battle with a Muslim militia leader. Was he not referring to the radical interpretation of Islam -- not mainstream? I don't interpret it that way. I think he was talking about the Somalian, you know, enemy at the time, not Islam in general. I don't read that.

GINGRICH: I'm not sure what he means then when he talks about his God versus the Muslim God.

HANNITY: That's true, we don't know.

GINGRICH: I mean -- and I'd be very happy if General Boykin wants to make quite clear what he was referring to and wants to make quite clear that he has great respect for Islam. But I don't think it is helpful to engage in talk which diminishes the belief of a billion people, who are sincere and who are as sincere as you and I are.

COLMES: Newt, thank you very much for being with us.

GINGRICH: Thank you.

COLMES: We're just out of time. Good to see you.

Copy: Content and Programming Copyright 2003 Fox News Network, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2003 eMediaMillWorks, Inc. (f/k/a Federal Document Clearing House, Inc.), which takes sole responsibility for the accuracy of the transcription. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material except for the user's personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon Fox News Network, Inc.'s and eMediaMillWorks, Inc.'s copyrights or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.