Ups and Downs for the Week of Feb. 21

This is a partial transcript from "The Beltway Boys", Feb. 26, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

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FRED BARNES, CO-HOST: Let’s check out our ups and downs.

UP: the Republican Party. President Bush’s reelection has deepened the party’s coffers big-time. According to the Federal Election Commission (search), the Republicans have a six-to-one fund raising edge over the Democrats, which means Howard Dean has his work cut out for him, Juan.

JUAN WILLIAMS, GUEST CO-HOST: Big-time, exactly right.


WILLIAMS: And, you know, Howard Dean has pledged to send $11 million back to the state parties, Democratic parties, to help organize. This is going to have to be a two-way street, Fred, because they’re going to have to help him raise this money.

Also, you’ve got to remember that there are groups, these 527s we became familiar with in last year’s campaign...

BARNES: Right.

WILLIAMS: They’re going to have to realize, this is an ongoing campaign.


WILLIAMS: You can’t stop at the end of the presidential election. So the 527s, like (search), George Soros (search), all those guys are going to have to pitch in. And Howard Dean’s going to go have to go back to his Internet buddies and ask them for some of their dollars to keep this moving.

But meanwhile, Fred, let me tell you that Howard Dean is in hot water. Here’s what Dean said a couple of weeks ago before the DNC’s Black Caucus: "You think the Republican National Committee could get this many people of color in a single room? Only if they had the hotel staff in here."


WILLIAMS: Unbelievable, Fred.

BARNES: Yes, look, think for a minute, Juan, if a Republican had said that. Dean seems to be getting away with it, I think, basically. There’ve been complaints by Republicans. But if a Republican said that, the entire Democratic apparatus in the country would be all over him, and so would, or her, the Republican, and so would the media. But I think the media in particular is giving Howard Dean a free ride here.

WILLIAMS: Well, you know, Ken Mehlman, chairman of the Republican National Committee, he said it was a racist statement...

BARNES: Yes, yes, yes.

WILLIAMS: And I think anybody who’s aware that there are more than poor black people working on a hotel staff have got to have some questions about what Howard Dean was thinking.

BARNES: Yes, but, yes, I know, I wonder about that. Now, on the fund-raising, here’s why Republicans are doing so well, and why Democrats are despondent. One, Bush was reelected. But Republicans and conservatives are more excited and more handing over money than any times, I think, since Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980. It is really an extraordinary moment.

WILLIAMS: Well, they want access.


All right, UP: Harvard University president Lawrence Summers (search). He staved off a no-confidence vote from Harvard’s faculty this week after vowing to, "set a different tone" with his management style. Summers also apologized again for his comments on the lack of women in science.

Now, look, I thought the Harvard faculty just made itself a laughingstock in the country by going after Larry Summers on what was basically his defiance of political correctness, where he raised, in a very tentative and questioning and speculative way, some of these questions. And sometimes in a humorous way, you know, Why aren’t there more Jewish farmers? Why aren’t there more black, whites in the NBA (search)? And so on.

And so I thought it was totally defensible. But then he goes out and apologizes about five or six times. He kept apologizing. I didn’t think he needed to do that at all. And the interesting thing is, my impression is that Harvard students were not with the faculty, they were basically with Summers.

WILLIAMS: Well, you know what really was interesting to me is that eventually, Larry Summers released a transcript of exactly what he’d had to say. Now, before this, I was pretty much in your corner, saying, you know what? It was hypothetical. He’s an intellectual. He’s allowed to raise all sorts of possibilities.

But in the transcript, it really comes off more as a defense of the status quo, as opposed to a guy who’s saying, Let’s make sure that we open doors for people who’ve been previously excluded.

And so that’s why I think, when you start to think about women who are working hard and trying to get into the old boys’ club, Larry Summers’ remarks, as the president of Harvard, suggest that really he’s more comfortable with just explaining why things are the way they are, Fred.

BARNES: Yes, well, well, I don’t know.

Anyway, DOWN: former Bush 41 aide and now former Bush friend, Doug Wead (search). He put the prospect of Bush sales ahead of his personal relationship with Bush when he released to the media secretly recorded audiotapes of his conversations with the president.

Now, one, you shouldn’t secretly record.

WILLIAMS: No, definitely not.

BARNES: And two, obviously secretly recorded means that he didn’t tell Bush. And then you shouldn’t be going out and releasing them, and he obviously released them to help sales of a book.

I think this is a classic case of someone exploiting a friendship with a famous figure in order to help themselves financially, in this case. It’s sleazy. And then when I see Doug Wead, who was actually a marginal figure in the White House of Bush’s father, described as a Bush, a George W. Bush evangelical adviser, I just don’t believe that’s true.

WILLIAMS: Well, you know, it’s funny, been a funny week on this story, because I think what Doug Wead did is indefensible. He’s supposed to be a minister Church of God. But I don’t think any minister should behave in this fashion much less some shill. But I’ll say this for you, what’s been funny about this is, there’s been less talk about the idea that the president may have smoked pot and doesn’t want to tell the kids about it than there is all the conspiracy theories in Washington that suggest that somehow Karl Rove (search), the president’s puppet master, was really behind Doug Wead putting this out because the president said in these taped remarks, you know, I’m not going to discriminate against gays, I don’t want to hurt anybody.


WILLIAMS: And, you know, he comes across as a really progressive thoughtful, kind man. And also, there are questions about what else are on these tapes because there are other tapes that haven’t been released, including conversations with Rove. So, there’s a lot of speculation.

BARNES: Juan, all these conspiracy theories come from Democrats, who are delusional.

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