Howard Dean Taking Pot Shots

This is a partial transcript from "The Beltway Boys," on July 29, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

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FRED BARNES, CO-HOST: Time for the "Ups and Downs" for the week.

Up: Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. He managed to sidestep controversy over his comments condemning Israel with his passionate speech to Congress, asking the U.S. to stand by Iraq and its fight against terror.

Here's a sample.


NOURI AL-MALIKI, IRAQI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Confronting and dealing with this challenge is the responsibility of every liberal democracy that values its freedom. Iraq is the battle that will determine the war.


MORT KONDRACKE, CO-HOST: I thought Maliki's speech was really eloquent. And it sort of reminded you of President Bush's second inaugural. And he went on to say in that very quote there that if the forces of democracy can prevail in Iraq, that the cause of terrorism, which he described as "the impostors of Islam," will be defeated everywhere.

What he didn't do though was to give assurances that U.S. forces and Iraqi forces can get Baghdad under control. And as you pointed out, the foreign minister said, they've got until December to bring it about, or else the people in Iraq are going to lose faith. And they're going to start yearning for a strong man of the Saddam Hussein variety. Not Saddam Hussein, obviously.

But, you know, Baghdad is the whole ballgame. And the United States and the Iraqis are going to increase forces there, which will help some. But the Iraqi force has got to be a lot more aggressive.

BARNES: Yes, they do have to be a lot more aggressive.

But, look how could Maliki give assurances? I mean, he doesn't know. He already had one plan over the last couple of months, which…

KONDRACKE: Didn't work.

BARNES: It didn't work. What was it? Operation Forward Together.


BARNES: Maybe it didn't work because it had such a lousy name. It’s hard to remember or even say.

But, look, he did a couple other things that were really the right thing to do in the United States. Americans love foreign leaders who like America.

And here's a guy that, you know, he went down to Fort Belvoir, south of Washington, and talked to military families, and expressed such gratitude there for, you know, sending their sons and husbands overseas to fight in Iraq.

I mean, gratitude is important in this case, because we hear so much other stuff from around the Middle East and even Iraq, where that parliament -- the speaker of the parliament, a Sunni Muslim, said, you know, they ought to erect monuments for all the Iraqis who've killed American soldiers. That's not the way to win friends and maintain American support.

But Maliki, everything he did I thought helped.

KONDRACKE: Yes, the foreign minister denounced that.


KONDRACKE: The speaker of the parliament.

Down: Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean. Get this: he called Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki an anti-Semite, and he compared Republican Senate candidate to Joseph Stalin. And then he called for an end to divisiveness in politics.

Here's Dean this week taking a whack at Florida Senate candidate Republican Katherine Harris.


HOWARD DEAN, DNC CHAIRMAN: Katherine Harris, who didn't understand that it is ethically improper to be the chairman of a campaign and count the votes at the same time. This is not Russia, and she is not Stalin.


BARNES: I thought he was going to pop his cork again. There he was getting -- by the way, she didn't count the vote. That wasn't her job. The tallies were sent into her. She certified them. And she did it entirely according to the law.

Now, there are lots of ways to look at politicians, Mort. You probably heard me on the subject. There are Republicans, Democrats; conservatives and liberals; uniters and dividers. I won't even mention that in terms of Howard Dean.

But there are haters and non-haters. And we know who they are, and Howard Dean is a hater. And it shows up almost every time he speaks, that he's filled with hatred. You know what? That's not an appealing characteristic in a politician.

KONDRACKE: Yes. I mean, honestly, he looks like a demagogue.


KONDRACKE: I mean, you can always depend on Howard Dean to go over the top. I mean, he famously said, I hate Republicans. He used the hate word, you know? And I believe he does.

BARNES: Yes. He meant it.

KONDRACKE: And he said something, like, Republicans never go to work. You know, don't work for a living, as if they all clip coupons.

You know, now, so far as I know, as to Katherine Harris and Joseph Stalin, there are no gulags in Florida. And he's even divisive within the Democratic Party.

He has got this 50-state strategy, where he's spending valuable resources trying to build up infrastructure all over the country, even in red states, while Rahm Emanuel, the House campaign chief is trying to spend that money on winnable House races. So they're doing battle with one another.

BARNES: I want to go to one more up and down.

Up: U.N. Ambassador John Bolton. Despite chest-thumping and delay tactics by Democrats, Bolton could be on track for a full appointment as U.N. ambassador when the Senate votes this fall.

Mort, look at who's against John Bolton. One, you have the entire establishment of the United Nations, from Kofi Annan on down. Two, you have all these ambassadors from other countries who criticize Bolton but won't let their names be used -- such courage. And then you have all these partisan Democrats in the Senate who don't like him either.

I think when you have enemies like that, you must be doing something right. And I think he is. Here's a guy who promotes and defends the American interests at the U.N. And that's what you're supposed to do.

KONDRACKE: Yes. Well, the vote is not going to happen until the fall. The Democrats are going to hold up a Senate Foreign Relations Committee vote until after the break.

Then it looks like he should be voted, although because George Voinovich, who was against him the last time, Republican from Ohio, has decided to be in favor of him. But now the question is, will Lincoln Chafee, the Republican liberal from Rhode Island, who's now undecided, vote for him?

But assuming that he gets through the committee vote, the Democrats are apparently not going to filibuster. Why? Because Bolton has the support of Israel and Israeli supporters in the United States, and the Democrats don't want to offend him.

BARNES: Hey, I like that reasoning. All right.

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