This is a partial transcript from "The Beltway Boys", Jan. 8, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

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MORT KONDRACKE, CO-HOST: Let’s check out this week’s ups and downs.

DOWN: Palestinian prime minister candidate Mahmoud Abbas (search). With Palestinians heading into the polls tomorrow, Abbas is acting more and more like his predecessor, Yasser Arafat (search), calling Israel the "Zionist enemy" and sidling up to Arafat’s militant Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade.

You know, the optimists will say, Oh, well, he’s just playing to his base.


KONDRACKE: He has to do that.


KONDRACKE: But the fact is that he is doing this stuff. And, and that, what that means is that Yasser Arafat has so poisoned the, the minds of the Palestinian people that a guy like Abbas, who is ostensibly a moderate, has to go appeal as an extremist to these people. And how is he possibly going to do anything different when he becomes the president?

BARNES: Yes. Look, I think you’re entirely right. You know, I am still looking for some accountability on the subject of Yasser Arafat, and in this regard. There were so many people who claimed that Yasser Arafat was the path to peace. Now, they’re the, these same people say it is the absence of Arafat, it’s his death, that now creates a path to peace.

I think they need to come forward and say, Look, we were wrong all those years about Arafat, who was a terrorist, and we led you astray. But I’m not holding my breath.

KONDRACKE: To his credit, Bill Clinton has said that.

BARNES: He has, and I agree, to his credit. OK.

UP: Illinois congressman and former Clinton aide Rahm Emanuel (search). After just one full term, Emanuel gets a plum assignment on the powerful Ways and Means Committee and is expected to take over as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Well, you know, brains, toughness, political savvy, you know, those go a long way in Washington to making you a success. And I’ll have to say Rahm Emanuel, who is not a charmer, exactly, but he certainly has all three of those.

The DCCC, the campaign committee, is underrated, I think, by a lot of people who don’t recognize that it can be a launching pad for someone. The first member of Congress who really got a lot out of it was Lyndon Johnson back in the late 1930s, when he headed it.

BARNES: So Rahm’s got a great career ahead of him.

KONDRACKE: Yes. Other parallels apply here. This is a guy who is very tough and in that sense, you know, he could ultimately be the Republic, the Democrats’ Tom DeLay (search).

BARNES: I’m not so sure that that was a compliment.

KONDRACKE: No, no, no. Well, I’m not sure it is.


KONDRACKE: I hope he doesn’t go that far. In any event, there’s another precedent in that he was a top aide to Bill Clinton in the White House, and now, now goes to the House of Representatives. Who do you know who was once a top aide to a president and eventually became a congressman and a leader? Dick Cheney.

BARNES: Dick Cheney.



KONDRACKE: All right, OK.

UP: Iraqi elections. Despite continued attacks, interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi (search) holds firm to the January 30 election date and has extended emergency laws in his country to rein in terrorists. Here’s a hopeful President Bush talking about that on Friday.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes, we’re having elections on January the 30th. It’s going to be an historic moment. I suspect if you were asking me questions 18 months ago, and I said there was going to be elections in Iraq, you would have had trouble containing yourself from laughing out loud at the president. But here we are at this moment.


BARNES: You know, no matter how this election goes on January 30, no matter how much violence there is, having it is much better than not having it, than postponing it. And here’s what I’m afraid may happen, and that is that the media and the Bush-bashers will say if the Sunnis don’t show up, the 20 percent of the population that was basically the base of Saddam Hussein (search), who was a Sunni — I guess he still is a Sunni, because he’s not dead yet, but that if they don’t show up, then even though the other 80 percent, the Shi’ites and the Kurds, show up, that it’ll, somehow it’s not a legitimate election.

What I say is, if you get 80 percent of the people really turning out for this, and some Sunnis, that makes it a legitimate democratic representative election.

KONDRACKE: Yes. And there will be Sunnis in the new government, you know, the Sunnis will be represented in the new government, whether they participate in large numbers or not. And a lot of them, I think, would like to, but they’re scared, because of the insurgents, who are going to kill them if they, you know, if they participate.

Now, the question is, how do the Shi’ites and the Kurds handle the new government? They’ve got, they’ve got a tough job.


KONDRACKE: They’ve got to both crack down on insurgents, they got to win this war against the insurgents, who are mainly Sunnis. But they’ve also got to somehow figure out how to win the, the hearts and minds of the average, average Sunni (search). It’s a tough job, but I think they, they, they could do it, they, and they can do it a lot better than we can.

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