Ups and Downs for the Week of March 1 - 5

This is a partial transcript from "The Beltway Boys", March 6, 2003, that has been edited for clarity.

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MORT KONDRACKE, CO-HOST: It's time for this week's ups and downs.

UP: California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

His political clout is at an all-time high after two key ballot measures won with wide margins on Tuesday. Proposition 57 (search), the $15 billion bond measure, passed 63 to 37, and Prop 58 (search), the balanced budget measure, passed 71 to 29.

Here's Arnold on the victories.


GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA: When we started with Proposition 57 and 58, when we started our work, we were 17 points behind. And you know something? Everyone wrote us off, everyone said, This is not going to happen. The Democrats and the Republicans will never work together.

But you know something? We knew better. We knew that we can work together.


BARNES: I love listening to that guy.

KONDRACKE: I know ...

BARNES: He's great. He's great. Actually, Democrats in the legislature didn't do him any favors. They were against these things and blocked them, so he had to go to the referendum process. And actually he trumped them, he killed them, crushed them. OK.

There's good news, though, out of that. He can go back to the ... If they don't go along in the legislature, he can go back to referenda again, and win again, first on workmen's comp, which is out of control in California, and Schwarzenegger wants to reform it and should. Then on next year's budget, which is going to have a big deficit to start with, he can get proposed spending cuts. If they don't go along, go to the referendum. He can win that way.

The -- you didn't mention Prop 56, which was an attempt to make it easier to raise taxes. It was also defeated 2 to 1.

KONDRACKE: Yes, fortunately, the California voters decided that they would support school construction.


KONDRACKE: Now, now look, Arnold is my kind of Republican. He is the kind of, he's the kind of Republican who believes in...


KONDRACKE: ... holding down spending and keeping taxes low for the purpose of...

BARNES: Right.

KONDRACKE: ... building economic growth, and then using the revenues for, for government to help people, and not just simply line the pockets of rich people.

And that, the difference between him and Bush is the reason that Bush will never carry California.

BARNES: You know ... you know how to get the most revenues out of people, out of rich people? Lower their taxes. You get a lot more revenues, and then you can pay for all the things you want to. All right.

DOWN: The Congressional Black Caucus

They not only accuse the Bush administration of engineering the recent coup in Haiti (search), they say the U.S. actually kidnapped former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide (search). Here, here's New York's Charlie Rangel grilling the administration's top aide for Latin America, Roger Noriega. Watch.


REP. CHARLES RANGEL (D), NEW YORK: And twice he was asked for that resignation, and he would not have left unless he signed it. Is that correct?

NORIEGA: We wanted to be able to have a basis, a ...

RANGEL: But you would not have take...

NORIEGA: ... political solution...

RANGEL: But you told him that unless he signed it, he could not leave the country.

NORIEGA: We wanted to have a sustainable political solution, and the only -- and only, only way to be able to put that...

RANGEL: And without that resignation, it would have been a coup d'etat by anyone's standard.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Time's expired.

NORIEGA: We have the letter of resignation, sir, that he ...

RANGEL: Sure did. And I would have signed one too.


KONDRACKE: Look, the...

BARNES: I'll bet, I'll bet he wouldn't have signed one.

KONDRACKE: Look, the Congressional Black Caucus utterly failed to induce their boy, Aristide, to be something other than a despot in running Haiti. They're partly responsible for his failure. Now they're accusing Bush of kidnapping him, when actually Bush gave him a ride out of town to, to Africa in order to save his neck from the rebels ... who were, who were about to kill him.

You know, what, it's too bad that the administration didn't have a videotape of the, of the whole proceedings that they, that they could now play. But it's pretty interesting, I did not hear Charlie Rangel mention one word, France.

BARNES: Yes, I know.

KONDRACKE: France was ... more responsible for ... for, hustling Aristide out than the United States was.

BARNES: They led the way, I mean, I can't remember any time in the last 50 years when I've agreed with the French. Well, I ... the first Iraq War, they were good. That was a long time ago, though, 1991, France was ...

Look, you have to remember about Aristide. Aristide is a guy, one, he's a madman, two, he, he lined his pockets as president. Three, he stole an election, and four, he sent out his thugs to attack his opponents and kill some of them. So not a good man.

DOWN: The National Rifle Association

KONDRACKE: The Senate pulls the plug on NRA-backed legislation after opponents attached two gun control provisions to the bill. The original bill would have given gun manufacturers protection from lawsuits.

You know, here the NRA was going to get what it wanted, this, this liability protection. But the Democrats and some Republicans succeeded in attaching what? An extension of the assault weapons ban, you know, nobody uses an assault rifle for hunting. And that they were going to prevent future Columbine kind of massacres by closing the gun show loopholes so that they would have, have to have identity checks at gun shows.

The, the NRA pulled the plug on the whole bill in order to save the protect themselves against those two perfectly reasonable measures. The NRA is ... disgusting.

BARNES: Now, look, the gun show...

KONDRACKE: Disgusting.

BARNES: ... the gun show thing is designed to eliminate gun shows, and I don't blame them for not going along with that. But what about the double game that Tom Daschle (search) played? He was for removing the liability for the gun manufacturers but voted for both of those gun control measures, got them in the bill, which he had to know would defeat the bill, that it would...

KONDRACKE: He's up for reelection in South Dakota.

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