Ups and Downs for the Week of April 28-May 2

This is a partial transcript from The Beltway Boys, May 3, 2003, that has been edited for clarity. Click here to order the complete transcript.

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MORT KONDRACKE, CO-HOST: Let's take a look at the Ups and Downs now.

UP: Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (search)

KONDRACKE: Daschle and Senate Democrats continue to tie the GOP agenda in knots, whether it's tax cuts, Arctic oil drilling, or judicial nominees.

FRED BARNES, CO-HOST: You know, in recent months, Tom Daschle has looked angry and strident and mean and so on. He's not a pretty picture on television. And he used to be the best of any politician I'd ever seen on television.

But -- you'll like that -- since he's had some success lately, he seems to have -- well, you know, he looks a little different. But watch him when he talks about the subject of Democratic unity on the tax issue.


SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MINORITY LEADER: I am confident that our Democrats, the ones who have voted similarly during the budget process, feel as strongly as they did then about the consequences of a tax cut that is too large. And so, no, Nancy, I'm not concerned about it at this time.

QUESTION: Senator Nelson says he could go...the makeup was....

DASCHLE: As I said, I am concerned about some Democrats.


BARNES: That is the old Daschle.

KONDRACKE: Yes, well, you know, you and the Republicans were constantly accusing Daschle of being an obstructionist when he was majority leader. Now he's minority leader, and he is an obstructionist...

BARNES: Right.

KONDRACKE: ... and he is loving it...and he's, and he's quite a, and he's quite effective at it.

BARNES: Mort, we weren't accusing him, we were describing him. Yes.

KONDRACKE: The Republicans were accusing him. And...


KONDRACKE: ... you know, but I do think that the -- that filibustering judicial nominees is over, is over the top. That is, that's obstructionism carried to a dangerous degree, which the Democrats will live to regret.

BARNES: Yes. All right.

UP: Secretary of State Colin Powell (search)

BARNES: After years of cajoling the parties in the Middle East and cajoling President Bush as well, Powell sees his hard work realized this week. The so-called road map to peace in the Mideast is being implemented.

Now, there are problems with the road map, Mort. You know, one, Yasser Arafat's (search) still around, and, and he's not going to help it be -- do the kind of things the Palestinians have to do to reach an agreement with the Israelis. It's got deadlines that can't possibly be met. And that's just a couple of things that are wrong with it.

And I don't think the parties involved in the quartet, so-called, you know, the U.S., U.N., European Union, and Russia, who drafted this darn thing, at least three out of four, I mean, the ones other than the United States, they're not going to lean on the Palestinians, whether it's Abu Mazen, the new prime minister, or Arafat, to really stop the terrorism, crack down on the terrorists.

They wouldn't even hold Saddam Hussein accountable. They're not going to hold the Palestinians accountable.

KONDRACKE: Well, I think every, everything you say is true, except that I think that we -- this is a problem that we have to work on, and we have to...

BARNES: Right.

KONDRACKE: ... be seen working on, and that's what, that's why Powell is in favor of it, and that's why also George Bush is in favor of it.

Now, it's George Bush who signs off on foreign policy, it's not concocted by Colin Powell by himself, which was the sort of assertion made by Newt Gingrich...


KONDRACKE: ... when he was slamming the State Department for undercutting Bush's foreign policy. In fact, what, you know, he -- the -- everything that he describes was not just State Department doing, and certainly there are bureaucrats who detest what, what, what Bush is up to.  But he was all -- but Gingrich was slamming...


KONDRACKE: ... what -- Colin Powell, and Colin Powell slammed right back. Watch.



COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: I'm on the offense for the people who work in my department doing a great job. And if you come after them, come after them with legitimate criticism. We'll respond to that. We're not above criticism. But you've come after us just to come after us, you're in for a fight.


DOWN: Democratic presidential hopeful Howard Dean

KONDRACKE: His Johnny-one-note opposition to the war in Iraq is coming back to haunt him. The war is over, and was successful, and he's perceived as a one- issue candidate. And thanks to his rival, John Kerry, he's been branded not fit to be commander in chief for suggesting that the United States might not always have the strongest military.

I actually talked to Dean this week, and what he...

BARNES: Lucky fellow.

KONDRACKE: ... what -- and what he said, what, what he said was that the United States was so scary to the rest of the world that the rest of the world was gang up on us and overcome our military superiority. I mean, I think that he does not understand what the military balance is the world...


KONDRACKE: ... and how far...


KONDRACKE: ... how far out in front of -- he is. Now, not only, not only that was he wrong about, but, but also Dick Gephardt managed to, to steal his other big issue, which was health care, and he wasn't very nice about it. He said that, that, that Gephardt's plan was pie in the sky. He should have been much -- you know, much more gentle about it, I think.

BARNES: Hey, Mort, this is presidential politics. This is not a game of nice...

KONDRACKE: Yes, right.

BARNES: ... but, I mean, he really said that about the military balance in the world?

KONDRACKE: He did. Yes, he did, you bet.

BARNES:, he doesn't get it at all, does he?

KONDRACKE: And he said that...


KONDRACKE: ... Bill Clinton agreed with him.

BARNES: Yow. Bill Clinton agrees with everybody on everything, according to -- Well, anyway, you'll find out.

DOWN: Director Oliver Stone

BARNES: HBO puts the kibosh on his documentary on Fidel Castro, saying the film doesn't address the dictator's brutal past, or present, for that matter, including recent executions and jailings of dissidents, and sends Stone back to the drawing board, or maybe the rock pile.

KONDRACKE: Yes. I am really sorry, in fact, that this HBO special of Oliver Stone's got canceled. I think that Oliver -- that Oliver Stone should have been exposed for the hero worshiper to a dreadful dictator that, that, that Oliver Stone is. And also, HBO ought to be exposed for the fact that they, that they were going to run this thing, you know?


KONDRACKE: If it hadn't been for Castro's...


KONDRACKE: ... exposing himself as a...


KONDRACKE: ... as a, a guy who throws dissidents in jail...

BARNES: Yes, yes.

KONDRACKE: ... and shoots people for, for trying to steal a ferryboat, you know, HBO would have run it.

BARNES: Yes, I've got a couple other ideas for shows for Oliver Stone and HBO, Uncle Joe Stalin, we hardly knew you, you know, you could have Pol Pot, the misunderstood mass murderer. And, you know, things along that line.


BARNES: OK, you got the drift.

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