This is a partial transcript from "The Beltway Boys", Feb. 12, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
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MORT KONDRACKE, CO-HOST: Let’s check the ups and downs.
UP: newly minted secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice (search). She’s getting good reviews after her transatlantic charm offensive. Here she is in Paris on Tuesday, urging France and the rest of Europe to join in the fight for global democracy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE: Imagine where we would be today if the brave founders of French liberty or of American liberty had simply been content with the world as it was. They knew that history does not just happen, it is made. History is made by men and women of conviction, of commitment, and of courage who will not let their dreams be denied.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KONDRACKE: I hate to indulge in personality politics. This is a substance show, after all. But I have, but I have to say, the, the world has got to be impressed with the image of the United States secretary of state is an African-American woman, a dazzling one at that, somebody who’s fluent in several languages, is a skater, is a dancer, is a pianist, and all of that, and is a Republican.
Now, if this doesn’t stun the rest of the world, I don’t know what possibly could. And, I mean, they ought to get the impression that the United States is, really is advertised, a land of opportunity, a beacon of hope and all that, and if they don’t get that impression, they’re hopeless.
BILL SAMMON, GUEST CO-HOST: I had the opportunity to interview Condi when she was still national security adviser about a year ago in her West Wing office at the time. I spent an hour with her, one on one. And I walked out of there telling people that I had just talked to the most articulate member of the Bush administration, including, especially, the president. And I think he’d be the first to admit that he’s not the most articulate member of this administration.
But, I mean, think about this. This woman, I really think, has the potential to perhaps be the, one day, the first black president of the United States, and, of course, the first woman president of the United States. And that would present a nightmare scenario to Democrats. Dick Morris had a column this week, and he had, had a couple good points, one of which is that she would peel away two key Democratic constituencies, blacks, which the Democrats have traditionally always gotten, and single women. I mean, after all, she is a single woman.
So she’s going to be a real nightmare if she runs for president.
UP: Karl Rove (search). White House senior adviser Karl Rove. As if his imprint on the White House wasn’t big enough, Rove has a new title to add to his resume, White House deputy chief of staff. The promotion gives Rove a wider role in developing and coordinating policy, not just politics.
You know, Mort, when this announcement first was made on Air Force One today, a pool reporter erroneously put out a dispatch that said Rove was going to be in charge of national security, as opposed to merely coordinating the National Security Council with the domestic security council.
And the liberals seized on this as evidence, finally, that Rove was really the man running the whole White House, and that he’s Bush’s brain and all this kind of thing.
I think the truth of the matter is that now that we’re past the reelection, Rove doesn’t have to worry about getting George W. Bush elected again, naturally he’s going to shift away from a political role and more into a policy role.
KONDRACKE: Yes. The, the opposition can’t figure out whether Dick Cheney (search) is running things or Karl Rove is running things. I mean, George Bush does run things, but with their assistance.
The fact is that Karl Rove has always been a policy guy as well as a political strategist. And he is a wonk, you know. I mean, he, he knows the political history of practically every county in the country. He knows all about polls. But he, but you ask him about forest management, for example, or Labor Department job training programs.
SAMMON: He’ll talk your ear off.
KONDRACKE: Exactly. I mean, he, he knows all that stuff.
DOWN: civility. So much for changing the tone in Washington, as President Bush promised. The rhetoric and the tactics used by politicians to attack each other are getting harsher and harsher all the time. The, you know, the 109th Congress has barely begun. I mean, we’ve had one bill voted on in each house, and, and the, and already the Republican National Committee is out with a big long 16-page memo accusing Democratic leader Harry Reid (search) of being an obstructionist. He hasn’t had time to obstruct anything yet.
Meantime, Harry Reid is trying to answer back. And we’re in a brouhaha. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REID: They call me an obstructionist? They’re destructionists. And I’m not going to, you know, I’m not going to lose — and I want everyone to listen to this — I want the boys at the White House, the girls at the White House, the men and women at the White House, everyone to understand, I haven’t lost one wink of sleep over their attack yesterday.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KONDRACKE: He just got reelected, you know, and whereas Tom Daschle, his predecessor, was defeated, and he got elected pretty handily in the state of Nevada. So, you know, he shouldn’t be losing any sleep.
On the other hand, he acts like he has been losing sleep.
SAMMON: Yes, I mean, you know, here’s a guy who’s complaining about being attacked by the Republicans. I went through these memos that the Republicans put out. Other than calling him an obstructionist, it’s basically a recitation of his voting record and some of his own quotes. So, I mean, this is politics ain’t beanbag. You’re going to have to get, you know, used to running with the big boys here.
You know, there was another example of the lack of civility in politics this week, and it came from Baltimore mayor Martin O’Malley. Let’s take a listen to what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR MARTIN O’MALLEY (D), BALTIMORE: Back on September 11, terrorists attacked our metropolitan course, two of America’s great cities. They did that because they knew that that was where they could do the most damage and weaken us the most.
Years later, we are given a budget proposal by our commander in chief, the president of the United States. And with a budget axe, he is attacking America’s cities.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KONDRACKE: Not the first time he’s compared Bush to, to Usama bin Laden. That, over the top, sure, to be sure, but O’Malley was also the victim of probably the dirtiest low blow of the whole week, that is a top aide to the governor of, the Republican governor of Maryland, Rob, Rob Ehrlich was fired because he has been spreading scurrilous and untrue rumors about, about O’Malley’s marriage, which could hurt Ehrlich, in the reelection campaign.
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