This is a partial transcript from "The Beltway Boys", Nov. 6, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.
Watch "The Beltway Boys" Saturday at 6 p.m. ET and Sunday at 1 and 6 a.m. EST.
FRED BARNES, CO-HOST: Welcome back to “The Beltway Boys”.
Let’s take a look at the ups and downs in the campaign.
First, UP: Bush campaign manager Ken Mehlman (search).
MORT KONDRACKE, CO-HOST: Well, he did a fantastic job of organizing. The Democratic 527 and the Democratic Party, you know, and the Kerry campaign together, did OK. I mean, they held their vote, and they turned it out. But Mehlman and company supercharged this system, and they overwhelmed the Democrats. I mean, the whole Mehlman idea was that, that a voter is more influenced by having somebody he knows, a volunteer come to the door instead of some paid person that he, that he’s never met before. Also, the strategy, the Rove strategy was right, in that this was not just a referendum on President Bush, it was a comparison between two candidates, and whacking Kerry was the right thing to do.
BARNES: You know, for me, credibility is everything. And Ken Mehlman had a lot of credibility. Everything he told me turned out to be true, on how many volunteers they’d have, what they were doing, and on Election Day, he was the first guy to tell me the exit polls, all wrong. Of course, he was right about that too.
KONDRACKE: Right. DOWN: Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe (search).
BARNES: He, I mean, he really is a loser. I mean, look, while he’s been national chairman, I mean, one thing has happened, the Democratic Party has lost. And, and then, when you, when you talk about credibility, I mean, when you see him on television being interviewed, he has none, zero, zip.
KONDRACKE: Yes. Well, he, by comparison to the very dignified Ed Gillespie, the Republican chairman, McAuliffe did tend to be a loudmouth. On the other hand, he did raise a lot of money.
BARNES: DOWN: John Edwards.
KONDRACKE: Well, first, let us say a prayer for, for Elizabeth Edwards, who has, who’s been diagnosed with breast cancer. But as to her husband, I mean, he delivered and set off a pyrotechnic, angry response with his populist acceptance speech, in contrast to the dignified one that John Kerry delivered. That was his opening shot for 2008. Sorry, buddy, you’re behind Hillary Clinton.
BARNES: Here’s the test. George Bush won North Carolina by 13 points in 2000, John Edwards’ state. John Edwards is on the ticket, Bush wins North Carolina by...
KONDRACKE: Thirteen percent.
OK. Republicans UP, Republican Senator George Allen of Virginia, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
BARNES: Well, he was obviously extremely successful as head of their campaign committee, picking up four seats, knocking off Tom Daschle — big. Republicans loved it. It made the, their victory even sweeter. He’s a guy who is very politically gifted, I think. You know, he was one of the people in Virginia I know wears cowboy boots, but then he’s from California originally.
I think he has a future. I think he does want to run for president. And, and for me the test is this, in his case, when he goes to athletic events in Virginia and elsewhere, he’s cheered, not booed. Most politicians are booed, I boo them.
KONDRACKE: That’s because his name is George Allen.
BARNES: That helps.
KONDRACKE: The football coach of the Redskins (search) was his father.
Now, I think Jon Corzine, his Democratic counterpart, actually did a pretty good job of recruiting candidates.
The Democrats had great candidates in all those states. The problem was, they were all red states, and they got redder and redder as it went on, and, and they couldn’t overcome that.
BARNES: DOWN: gay marriage.
KONDRACKE: Well, you know, this country is in fact getting much more tolerant toward gays as, as the years go by. But the Massachusetts Supreme Court did and the mayor of San Francisco did this process a terrible disservice by jumping the process, trying to force it on the public. And the, and there was a huge backlash that ultimately helped Bush.
BARNES: Yes, it did help Bush, no question about that. But look, Mort, voting to protect traditional marriage between a man and a woman is not a vote for intolerance, it’s not a vote for bigotry, it’s a vote for what civilizations have handed down to America and other countries for thousands of years now, Mort, it’s as simple as that.
KONDRACKE: Some people who voted against it are bigots.
BARNES: The votes, well, I mean, that’s true, of course, some, but not most. Eighty-six percent voted against gay marriage in Mississippi, all the way down to a very liberal state, Oregon, 57 percent, 60-plus in Ohio and Michigan, so you get the drift.
KONDRACKE: UP: evangelical voters.
BARNES: You know, evangelical voters mattered a lot. But you know what mattered more? What mattered more were the moral issues that appeal not only to evangelical voters, of which there are a lot, but to the mass of voters, including a lot of Democratic voters. It’s the issues, conservative moral issues, that really matter, whether it’s the issue of the sanctity of life or protecting the family or protecting marriage or many other ones. Those are very popular with people, not only evangelicals.
KONDRACKE: You know, this is the problem for liberals. Most liberals that I know think that evangelicals are bigots. Liberals are supposed to be liberal minded.
KONDRACKE: In fact, the liberals are the bigots. I mean, they just have an automatic negative reaction toward evangelicals. My advice to them is, go to church. It’s a public place. Go see what happens there. It, it’s not, you know, there aren’t Klan sheets in the closet. You know, it’s all about love and forgiveness and that kind of stuff.
DOWN: rapper P. Diddy (search) and the youth vote.
KONDRACKE: Well, you know, there are two ways to look at the youth vote. I mean, the, the size of it, as a proportion of the, of the voting population, stayed exactly the same as it was in 2000, so there was no increase there. P. Diddy was supposed to bring it out. But in fact, since the whole of the electorate got much bigger, the, there actually was an increase in the, in the, in the number of, of young voters, and they went more for Kerry than they did for Bush, for, for, for Gore.
BARNES: Mort, that was lame. The truth is, it was demeaning to young people 18 to 29 for the media in particular to think that somehow they were waiting for advice from Bruce Springsteen and Michael Stipe and Eddie Vedder and all those people to tell them how to vote.
KONDRACKE: Eminem helps Bush, and so does P. Diddy.
KONDRACKE: UP: majority leader Tom DeLay, your great hero.
BARNES: Yes, he is Mr. Realignment, along with Bush. I mean, look at Texas. Here’s all you need to know. The Texas delegation before the DeLay reapportionment down in Texas was 17 Democrats to 15 Republicans. Well, once he realigned the state, or reapportioned the state, Ralph Hall switched, so it was 16-16, then another Democrat dropped out, then he knocked off four incumbents. That’s a pick up of six Republicans. That’s a big deal for Tom DeLay.
KONDRACKE: Memo to political reformers, fight gerrymandering and use the referendum process in the states where it’s allowed.
BARNES: Yes, but Democrats like it in the states they control.
All right, coming up, more ups and downs, including how Old Europe will fare with Bush returning to the White House.
KONDRACKE: Welcome back to “The Beltway Boys”.
We’re continuing to look at more election ups and downs.
DOWN: lawyers, and the endless chatter about an overtime election.
BARNES: You know, I apologize to viewers for any of this chatter that we indulged in, and we were, we didn’t do a lot, but, but we did do some. I mean, the lawyers, they, they, they could serve no good purpose in this election except shut it down and have another 36 days. I’m glad they didn’t have that opportunity.
KONDRACKE: Yes, well, absolutely, except that the lawyers in the Kerry campaign, as I understand it, wanted Kerry to fight the, the Ohio results. Kerry, thankfully, didn’t do it. The lawyers were, were a pernicious influence.
BARNES: UP: Florida senator-elect, Republican Mel Martinez.
KONDRACKE: Well, now there will be two Hispanic senators, with Ken Salazar, who got elected in, in, in Colorado. Now, what’s important is that, that President Bush increased his percentage of the, of the Hispanic vote from 35 percent last time to 40 percent this time. That has big implications for the future of, of politics.
BARNES: It does. So much, Mort, for the emerging Democratic majority.
KONDRACKE: DOWN: Old Europe.
BARNES: You know, Old Europe, I mean, they still haven’t gotten it about, I mean, the headlines in the European papers were shock and awe that Bush had won reelection, they can’t take it. You know, they better get with the program, because they need Bush a lot more than he needs them. I mean, France, Germany, and those countries.
KONDRACKE: Yes, the headline in the one London paper was, "How Could 59 Million People Be So Dumb?"
BARNES: Yes. And they believe that.
KONDRACKE: All right. Memo, memo to Old Europe, get used to it.
KONDRACKE: Memo to President Bush, reach out, pretend to be conciliatory, and be conciliatory to the extent you can.
BARNES: Yes, there’s nothing to lose by pretending.
DOWN: the mainstream media.
KONDRACKE: Well, you know, I think the big losers in this campaign were CBS and, and, and, and The New York Times, which we won’t, don’t have to get into in detail. The, the big winners were, in no particular order, the, the blogs.
KONDRACKE: Web logs, Jon Stewart of The Daily Show, and Fox News.
BARNES: Yes, some of that’s true. You know, we now have a nation of bloggers, fact-checkers, all over fact-checking, and, and a lot of them are conservatives, fact-checking all this stuff in the liberal media. The guy that typed up one of those CBS documents on his computer and put it over the CBS document showing immediately that that was a fraudulent document, didn’t come from 30 years ago, had been typed on a computer more recently, he revolutionized the media. It was a guy whose Web site is Little Green.
KONDRACKE: CBS can redeem itself if it will be a fair analysis, of how this all happened, and the right, the right people are held accountable.
BARNES: Yes, and who would that be?
KONDRACKE: Well, probably Dan Rather.
BARNES: I agree.
The buzz is up next. Don’t go away.
KONDRACKE: What’s the buzz, Fred?
BARNES: As you know, Mort, this is a no-gloat zone. But just in case you were wondering, here’s how our predictions panned out last week. Now, this is just for accountability purposes, you’ll understand that, I’m sure. OK.
Here’s what we called for the popular vote, not bad, huh? And the electoral vote, we were dead on. And here’s what we predicted for the Senate. We were off by one.
Same thing for the House, which we saw up there, we were very close on it too. So not bad.
KONDRACKE: Not, not bad. Yes, I know, and there was a little luck factor in here. OK.
The other buzz, look, I, President Bush is going to go ahead with Social Security reform. But that is nowhere near as big a problem as the Medicare and Medicaid problem. That is what really needs attention.
KONDRACKE: The, the Congressional Budget Office says that by the year 2050, which is a long, seems a long way away, but it’s not that far, the, the, those two programs, those two health programs will account for 27 percent of the U.S. economy. Right now, the entire federal government, including defense and everything else, accounts for 20 percent of the economy.
They have to be reformed, and I don’t see it on Bush’s agenda.
BARNES: You know, I have a couple of unsung heroes of the campaign. You know who the unsung hero for, for Kerry was, really helped him? David Kay, the inspector, who said no WMD in Iraq. For Bush, John O’Neill of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. He, he hurt Kerry badly with his book.
KONDRACKE: I actually think that Joe Lockhart’s arrival as a, as a Kerry spokesman was actually very good.
KONDRACKE: You were talking about credibility.
KONDRACKE: When I talked to Lockhart actually, I got, I got straight dope.
KONDRACKE: A lot of the other Kerry campaigners were all about spin, but when you called Lockhart, you got pretty straight dope.
KONDRACKE: OK, that’s all the time for “The Beltway Boys” for this week. Watch us on "Special Report" with our buddy Brit Hume weekday evenings at 6:00.
BARNES: And join us next week when “the boys” will be back in town.
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