Ups and Downs for the Week of Dec. 10 - 14

This partial transcript of The Beltway Boys, Dec. 15, was provided by the Federal Document Clearing House. Click here to order the complete transcript.

FRED BARNES, CO-HOST:  Let's go to the ups and downs, Mort, if you are ready for me.


Down: U.S. Mideast envoy Anthony Zinni

BARNES:  Down, U.S. Mideast envoy Anthony Zinni.  He's on his way back  home after Israel declares PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat irrelevant after yet  another week of bloodshed, putting a big question mark over Zinni's  relevance and influence in the region.

KONDRACKE:  Well, the only way now for Yasser Arafat to ever be  relevant again is to finally and for once and for all take on and defeat  Hamas and Islamic Jihad decisively and for good.  Otherwise the Israelis  will have nothing to do with him.  And this is becoming the U.S. position.

BARNES:  Yes, sure.  Right.

KONDRACKE:  And it's also becoming the European position.  So, Arafat  has very little other place to go.  He – if he doesn't know that it's his  last chance, he's going to be a very surprised man, he's going to be out  pretty soon.

BARNES:  Now, wait a minute, Mort.  You and I and Ariel Sharon, the  prime minister of Israel, all know one thing.  Yasser Arafat is going to do  some cosmetic stuff.  He is never going to really crack down on Hamas and  Islamic Jihad and other terrorists, Hezbollah, any of them, because he  fears he may wind up not being the head of the Palestinian Authority or  even alive if that happens.

So knowing that that's not going to happen, the Israelis have adopted  a new policy, and that's to take the issue in their own hands, and that is  to ignore Yasser Arafat and go after and presumably kill or capture these  terrorists themselves, because they have no alternative, they know the Is - - Arafat's not going to do it.

KONDRACKE:  Arafat is in a position called a rock and a hard place.

BARNES:  Right.

Down: The 1972 Antiballistic Missile treaty

KONDRACKE:  OK.  Down, the 1972 Antiballistic Missile treaty.  The  president formally notifies Russia that the United States is pulling out of  the treaty, paving the way for unlimited missile defense tests.

Here's Bush seeking to allay Russia's concerns.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Today, as the events  of Sept. 11 made all too clear, the greatest threats to both our  countries come not from each other or other big powers in the world but  from terrorists who strike without warning, or rogue states who seek  weapons of mass destruction.

Defending the American people is my highest priority as commander in  chief, and I cannot and will not allow the United States to remain in a  treaty that prevents us from developing effective defenses.


BARNES:  The good news, of course, Mort, is that the Russians were  allayed, they were not – they didn't care for this decision, but they're  accepting it, there's no rupture in the relationship between George Bush  and Vladimir Putin, no rupture in the, in the overall U.S.-Russian  relationship.

Now, Sept. 11 played a big part here.  This made the decision of  Bush to sack the ABM treaty and go full-bore for missile defense a lot less  controversial, and there were many fewer complaints.

You know, this time – look, inevitably this was going to happen, but  maybe not in December of 2001.  Only a few liberal Democrats complained on  Capitol Hill.

KONDRACKE:  Well, and I – look, I have no tears to shed for the, for  the ABM treaty, and arms controller – arms control nostalgists will mourn  it, and some Democrats will too.  But I do think that the Democrats have to  keep an eye on the feasibility of this, I mean, the lot of the tests are  either easy or have failed.  Also the cost.  It's going to be astronomical.   Also the timing, how fast do we want to do this?  Are we getting ahead of  the game?

And who is this directed at?  You know, I think it was a good sign  that the president is now going to, going to talk to the Chinese about it  and allay their anxieties as well.

BARNES:  Well, it's particularly going to be aimed at terrorists who  we know have weapons of mass destruction or are seeking them, and sometime  in the – actually the foreseeable future, will have ballistic missiles  that can reach the United States.  So it's aimed at them as well.  All  right.

Up: Majority Leader Dick Armey 

BARNES:  Up, Majority Leader Dick Armey.  The conservative stalwart, a key  architect of the 1994 Republican takeover Congress, announces his  retirement this week to spend more time with his family.  Here's an  emotional Dick Armey paying tribute to his wife on the House floor on  Tuesday.


REP. DICK ARMEY (R-TX), HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER:  I have kept my love  for her just as it was on the day we were wed.  Just as she's always been,  my darling wife, Susan, is here with me today from our home in Texas.

And honey, I want to thank you for all your years of sacrifice.


BARNES:  He sounded, he sounded a little like Phil Gramm, remember,  the senator from Texas…

KONDRACKE:  Yes, right.

BARNES:  ... who said – who got emotional when he announced his  retirement too.

Let me say a couple things about Dick Armey.  One, Dick Armey and Tom  DeLay, his whip, have been one of the most effective House leadership teams  ever.  Look at the stuff they passed this year with the five-vote majority,  an economic stimulus package, among other thing, all this stuff that's now  piled up on Tom Daschle's desk.

Secondly, Armey is a radical tax cutter and a radical – almost a  libertarian about reducing the size of government.  And that – you know,  there are a lot of those who came in in '94 and earlier, so it's sort of a  dying breed.  The new conservatives are ones who are much more conventional  conservatives.  And I for one am going to miss Dick Armey a lot.  I like  his type of conservative.

KONDRACKE:  Well, he – to give him his due, he was the idea man of  the Republican revolution, the theoretician.

Now the – Tom DeLay is going to succeed him, much less of an idea  man, more of an, of an operator.  And the – the big fight is for whip.   It's going to be Roy Blunt, DeLay's man, Ray LaHood, the moderate, the –  maybe the last of the mod – the last leading moderate, maybe J.C. Watts.   I bet on Blunt.


Up: Veteran rocker Neil Young 

KONDRACKE:  Up, veteran rocker Neil Young.  He delivered some tough  medicine to the liberal audience attending the People for the American Way  annual dinner this week in Beverly Hills.  He told the free speech crowd,  quote, "We've only given up our rights for a while to fight something that  preys on our freedom and our vulnerabilities and our openness.  So it's a  tough time for all of us who believe in a certain way of life to come to  grips with the fact that we have to make a compromise."

Neil Young is a Canadian, you know...

BARNES:  Yes, right.

KONDRACKE:  ... but the way he talks and the way he sings, you know...

BARNES:  Yes, yes, right.

KONDRACKE:  ... makes you think that he ought to do what Jim Carrey,  another Canadian, has done...

BARNES:  That's right, yes.

KONDRACKE:  ... sign up, become an American.  Why not?

BARNES:  Right, right.  Right.

KONDRACKE:  Go all the way.

BARNES:  He's not really a conservative, but he did say nice things  about Reagan back in the '80s, and the liberal rock crowd went crazy.  They  may go crazy again.  His new song is one that honors Todd Beamer and those  heroes on Flight 93 that crashed in Pennsylvania, and it's appropriately  titled, "Let's Roll."




BARNES:  Great song. 

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