Hot Stories for the Week of November 3 - 7

This is a partial transcript from The Beltway Boys, November 8, 2003, that has been edited for clarity.

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FRED BARNES, CO-HOST: Mort, the hot story is realignment, realignment, of course, meaning the shift of power from one party to another, and it's shifting to the Republicans, not only...


BARNES: ... because they hold the White House, there ain't no question mark here, it is happening, you can laugh all you want. The Democrats aren't laughing. I mean, Republican hold the White House, they hold Congress, they hold the majority of the state, majority of the state legislators are now Republicans.

And last week, of course, they won, Republicans won the governorships of Kentucky and Mississippi, Kentucky for the first time in 32 years, and Mississippi the second time only that a Republican had been elected governor there.

They won the downstate office, I mean, the down ticket offices which is a real test of realignment, if you can win those. They now have 29 of the governorships, including the governorships of the four most populous states, California, Texas, New York, and Florida, which is impressive, I think.

And there's other evidence, though. This new polling that's been assembled by the Pew Center is remarkable in showing a shift toward the Republican Party pretty much all over the country, but just look at these states in particular, the shift to Republicans in states that won, were won in 2000 narrowly by Gore, particularly look at Iowa, that's a critical state, Minnesota, those are states that Bush can win in 2004.

And then jump to the states that Bush narrowly won in 2000, and you can see he's got a lot, a lot better chance, look at Florida in particular, it shows him a big gain there, and more likely to win Florida, as I think he is in 2004.


BARNES: So realignment lives.

KONDRACKE: Yes, well, to support your thesis even further, I've got to say, Pew showed in net that there were seven states that Bush carried narrowly with a total of 77 electoral votes, you know, where, Republican ID has increased significantly, to the point where you might think that Bush could carry the again, and as Zell Miller points out in his book, population changes and changes in the electoral a result of the 2000 census automatically bring up Bush's electoral total by 14 votes in states that he carried back in 2000.

So it raises the mark for the Democrats. And even worse Democratic news this week, Senator Bob Graham of Florida decided that he's not going to seek reelection, which puts in play a whole bunch of Southern states, there...a screen here with, with a list of them. There you go, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Florida. And you might add to that Louisiana, if John Breaux decides not to run.

Meantime, only Alaska, Illinois, and perhaps Oklahoma are states that Republicans now hold that might be vulnerable.


BARNES: Yes, don't you think Republicans have a better chance of winning those Southern states than Democrats do, the other ones you mentioned?

KONDRACKE: Yes, I do, I do. OK.


KONDRACKE: Now, the other hot story is, it's all about Dean. I mean, no matter how many minefields...Howard Dean lays for himself, as he did this week with his remark about, you know, trying to get the votes of Southern guys with Confederate flags on their pickup trucks...

BARNES: Yes, yes, jeez.

KONDRACKE: ... he is surging toward the nomination. He got the, the endorsement of the Service Employees Union and the government employees union this week, and he is now, he's confident enough in his fund raising ability hat he's going to kick away public financing and go on his own, go make it the way, the way Bush is doing...and try to raise that kind of money to fight the Bush machine. Here's, here's what Dean had to say about that.


HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is the one Democratic campaign which has the opportunity to fight back against the onslaught of the Bush attacks between March and August. Spending caps would leave a publicly financed Democrat broke by next spring.

A Democratic nominee with no money is exactly what the Bush campaign is hoping for, and ours is the only campaign with a chance to defend itself in those five months.


KONDRACKE: So he's on...his way to the nomination, and, I'm afraid, George McGovernhood, that is, a disastrous defeat.


KONDRACKE: One, because he's so hostile to Bush and to the war, but more so because here is a guy who could have made himself into a kind of a centrist independent thinker and has been shoved left all the time on, on affirmative. He wants, he's in favor of affirmative action according to income. He used to be for Medicare and Social Security reform, you know, and he made this halfhearted attempt to get Southern white votes...but he kicked that away.

I mean, this is the, probably the most secular Democratic candidate for president we've seen in a long time, and, you know, he's just not going to get Southern votes.

BARNES: No, no, he's not. And, and it's amazing, you know, this statement he made about Southern elections, you're just all about gays and God and guns and race and so on. I don't think he's spent a lot of time in the South. I mean, that's something that may have been true 50 years ago, but it, it's certainly not true now. I mean, he just showed amazing ignorance.

And look, if you're going to be a presidential candidate, you don't want to kick away a whole region of the country. Bill Clinton didn't. And, and it's not only that, if you're right, he has a McGovern foreign policy, but he also has a Mondale economic policy of high taxes, so that's not going to get him anywhere either.

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