This is a partial transcript from "The Beltway Boys", August 6, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
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MORT KONDRACKE, CO-HOST: Let’s take a look at this week’s ups and downs.
UP: Senate majority leader Bill Frist (search). His stem cell stand continues to rankle the religious right, but a smart election, general election strategy it is if Frist decides to run in the year 2008.
Now, there are two polls recently out that show that by two to one, the public favors embryonic stem cell research, and so not only is this... it’s not, not only good general election politics, but it’s also the right thing to do, or, I should say, the correct thing to do, because obviously the right doesn’t think it’s the right thing to do.
What, Frist favors is fund, federal funding only for embryonic stem cell research (search) using embryos that would be otherwise destroyed, left over and destroyed, at in vitro fertilization clinics, and that they can be used, instead of being discarded, to help save lives.
And Frist is a doctor, after all, and, you know, he believes in saving lives, and so he thinks that this is the right thing to do.
The radical right is furious at him, as if, you know, that he’s done favor after favor after favor, made it, cleared the way for Justice Roberts, justice-to-be Roberts and all these other judges, you know, through the, the threatened nuclear option and so on. But the right is deeply unhappy with him. And, you know, all I can say is, good luck to him.
TONY SNOW, GUEST CO-HOST: A member of the really, the radical right, then. He’s got an interesting position, Mort, which is, the embryo is a human life, he doesn’t believe in destroying human life, but these you can, because it’s better than throwing them in the garbage. It’s all those things where he is saying that it is, in effect, an act of murder, but it’s justifiable homicide. No, that says it’s nascent human life...
SNOW: I’m just going ahead and, and translating that into old simpleton terms. So it seems to me you’re destroying nascent human life.
The second thing is, we already have stem cell research for embryos. We have embryonic stem cell research all over the country, privately funded.
Meanwhile, the interesting thing is, so far as you know, because you’ve studied this more than just about anybody else, embryonic stem cell research hasn’t worked out so far. It’s been successful in producing cancers rather than cures.
Meanwhile, adult stem cells and also blood stem cells have showed enormous promise in 65 to 70 different... And 65 to — it’s better than zero.
SNOW: And so the point is, if you’re trying to come up with the smartest expenditure of federal dollars, where do you go? One that hasn’t worked but is being tried out in the private sector? Or one that has worked?
I would rather go ahead and chase things that show promise right now. And you know what? If somebody finds out in the private sector that the embryonic stem cells have promise, they’re not only going to be successful, they’re going to get really rich.
So I don’t think, the reason the polls indicate that people favor embryonic stem cell research, don’t think it is happening. They don’t know what the situation is.
Now, one other point politically. Bill Frist has been disinvited to Justice Sunday by the Family Research Council. Dumb move by them. You know, he disagrees with them on, on the key position, but on the other hand, is it really smart to tick off the Senate majority leader with so much on the docket?
All right, DOWN: China (search). One of its government-controlled oil companies was forced to scrap plans to buy American oil company Unocal. Now, the move comes after members of Congress on both sides of the aisle denounced the move as a ploy by the communist government to take over American oil interests.
Well, duh. You know, a Chinese company is not like an American company. It’s not like a takeover from a private firm. It’s a takeover from the government. I got to say, I’m impressed by the audacity of the Chinese government trying to pull this off. It’s one of the rare issues, Mort, that’s got Democrats and Republicans in agreement, not only for national security reasons, but it’s just dumb to turn over an American company to a foreign government.
KONDRACKE: Well, look, strategically and commercially, this is not really a big deal in terms of the size of it, or the importance of it. But what happened was, it suddenly triggered an awareness of what China is all about, I mean, that is, at the present time, basically a fascist country, which has a government-controlled economy, no freedom, is building up its military, and wants to displace the United States in Asia, strategic adversary of the United States.
What, what I hope will happen is that China someday, and someday soon, will have another Tiananmen crisis, and this time the good guys win.
DOWN: billionaire Bush-basher George Soros (search). His giant pro-Democratic interest group American, America Coming Together (search), with its millions of dollars and a who’s who of Democratic operatives, is closing up shop. Soros pulled the financial plug after huge GOP gains in the 2004 election.
Well, Soros, who does dislike Bush intensely, deposited $20 million of his own money as seed money. They raised $200 million. They mounted ads, they did voter turnout and all that. They really did generate a lot of turnout for John Kerry.
The problem was, and the problem is, that it was all anti-Bush. There was nothing...
SNOW: That’s right.
KONDRACKE: …nothing really that they could say pro-John Kerry. And that’s basically why John Kerry lost, because nobody was for him.
SNOW: Mort, well — yes.
KONDRACKE: So, Soros decided to pick up his marbles and go elsewhere.
SNOW: Moral of the story, after $220 billion, angry white men still aren’t attractive.
DOWN: Baltimore Oriole Rafael Palmeiro (search). After a public and angry denial before Congress, the superstar slugger now is facing a congressional perjury investigation because it was revealed this week that he’d tested positive for steroids.
Here’s Palmeiro on a conference call with reporters, saying it’s all a big misunderstanding.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
RAFAEL PALMEIRO (on phone): I played my heart out for those fans, for my fans in Baltimore, and I will continue to do so. I just hope that they forgive me. You know, I want to apologize to them, because, you know, I really am sorry that this has happened to me, and our organization. But this, by no means, was an intentional act. You know, I, I didn’t know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SNOW: You know, I’ve liked Rafael Palmeiro for a long time.
KONDRACKE: Me too.
SNOW: But he sounds like he not only has been doing dope, but he sounds like one.
SNOW: I don’t know how those steroids, I just started to feel a little jingly one day, and I started hitting the ball.
It’s a terrible line, for a guy who testified in Congress in March to test positive in May for steroids. Oh, man.
KONDRACKE: I know. You know, when he testified, he said, I absolutely have never used steroids, period. I thought, Wow, great, you know...
KONDRACKE: Raffy, because I really liked Raffy. And I said, At least there’s one slugger out there who isn’t on juice.
KONDRACKE: Well, stanozolol (search), or whatever it’s called, is not something that you, that you just sort of accidentally take in with your Red Bull or something like that.
SNOW: No, makes you look like Popeye.
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