This is a partial transcript from The Beltway Boys, August 9, 2003, that has been edited for clarity. Click here to order the complete transcript.
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FRED BARNES, CO-HOST: All right.
UP: Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire
BARNES: Despite deep divisions and a last-minute attempt to derail his nomination, Robinson was elected Tuesday as the first openly gay bishop of the Episcopal Church (search). Here's Robinson after the vote.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REV. GENE ROBINSON, BISHOP-ELECT, EPISCOPAL CHURCH: I also think that, you know, when our church doesn't fall down, when the bishop who happens to be gay walks in, it just gets people a lot more calm about gay and lesbian folk in leadership positions. I don't think anyone is going to see anything terribly differently.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BARNES: This was a triumph, again, another one this year, for the whole gay movement, gay rights movement (search), you know, Canada…gay marriage, Supreme Court says you can't outlaw private sex among homosexuals, or I, or I guess for anyone else, for that matter. And now there's this.
I think this is going to split the Episcopal Church, despite what Robinson says. I don't think the reaction is going to be calm. And even he said that his election was at odds with church teachings and the Scripture and, and the Bible.
And here's his explanation of why that's OK. He says, ‘Just simply to say that it goes against tradition and the teaching of the church and Scripture does not necessarily make it wrong. We worship a living God, and that living God leads us into truth.’
A lot of Episcopalians, such as myself, believe you…the Bible (search), what it says is true, and you have to stick to it.
KONDRACKE: Well, you cannot deny that, that our understanding, mankind's understanding of what's God will is has changed over time. I mean, the Old Testament is filled with stories of the Israelites essentially committing, you know, ethnic cleansing against various populations. We don't stay with that any more. And...
BARNES: Well, but it doesn't say you're supposed to do that.
KONDRACKE: But, but, but St. Paul…and St. Paul, you know, says that, that slaves should obey their masters. We don't believe that any more either.
BARNES: …it doesn't say that the…a church teaching is, is in favor of slavery. It…I think it's a different situation.
KONDRACKE: Yes, it was so interpreted.
In any event, also, I think that the, that in addition to this, the, the Episcopal Church sort of approved commitment ceremonies for, for homosexuals.
KONDRACKE: It's not mandatory, but the, but individual churches and dioceses can do that. And I think that encourages fidelity and permanence of relationships, which are, which are good things.
DOWN: The Senate Democrats
KONDRACKE: They're forced to defend another vulnerable…Democratic seat after the announcement this week that Senator Fritz Hollings of South Carolina is retiring. The Democrats are now down two seats, and of the 34 seats open in next year, Democrats must defend 19. And seven of those are considered vulnerable, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Nevada, Washington, and South Dakota.
BARNES: You skipped over Georgia, but...
KONDRACKE: And Georgia, OK.
Now…at all…most of those, except, except for Washington and…well, I think Washington is the only state among that group that Bush did not carry, Florida obviously he carried by very little, or not at all.
But if Howard Dean is the nominee of the party, you…I think you can largely kiss those seats away, and including South Dakota, which is the seat of Senator Thomas Daschle...
KONDRACKE: ... who is the Senate majority -- minority leader.
BARNES: Right, yes, there are couple of vulnerable Republican seats, Illinois and Alaska, and they're very vulnerable. But and maybe there's another vulnerable Democratic seat, Louisiana, if, in I think the unlikely event John Breaux retires, and I…some people think he might retire.
Hollings, who's leaving, was not the nicest man, actually. He liked to attack people personally. He once made fun of Rueben Askew in 1984 for having a facial tick. And listen to what he said at President Bush just the other day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. FRITZ HOLLINGS, D-S.C.: The poor boy just campaigns all the time. He had…pays no attention to what's going on in the Congress. Karl Rove (search) tells him to do this, do that, or whatever it is. But he's out campaigning.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOWN: Liberian President Charles Taylor
BARNES: His story changes nearly every day, but Taylor claims he'll hand over the reins to Liberia's vice president on Monday. The news comes as West African peacekeepers (search) made their way into the capital city of Monrovia (search), in anticipation of Taylor's exit…I mean, Taylor, he obviously doesn't want to leave.
Now, I know you want us to put President Bush down in regard to…Liberia, but what the president wants to avoid, and I think he's right, is another Somalia, where you put American troops in where they don't have enough firepower, they don't have enough tanks to protect them, and they're in a dangerous situation.
In Liberia, it's a bunch of drugged-up and coked-up teenagers with AK- 47s and other weapons. And Bush…is right to be worried.
Mort, where is the U.N. (search)? How can the U.N. possibly say, We can't do anything for four to six months? That's what they said. Where is the U.N., Mort?
KONDRACKE: The U.N.'s incompetence is precisely why it takes a U.S.- led force in there with enough firepower, air power, and maybe tanks, if, if that's what's necessary to control…to get the country under control, feed the people who are starving, stop the violence, get Taylor out of there, and then turn it over to a, to a peacekeeping force when, when the U.N. has arrived.
But we are now training a 10,000-member African constabulary force, but it's not ready in time.
BARNES: Yes, you kissed off the U.N. OK.
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