Ups and Downs for the Week of January 5 - 9

This is a partial transcript from The Beltway Boys, January 10, 2003, that has been edited for clarity.

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MORT KONDRACKE, CO-HOST: You've been waiting for who's up and who's down, here it is ...

UP: President Bush's Chief Political Adviser, Our Friend, Karl Rove

It was his brainchild to give legal status to millions of immigrant workers, a move designed to score big-time points with two key constituencies, Latinos and suburban swing moderate voters.

Here's Bush Wednesday at his compassionate conservative best.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As a Texan, I have known many immigrant families, mainly from Mexico (search), and I've seen what they add to our country. They bring to America the values of faith in God, love of family, hard work, and self-reliance, the values that made us a great nation to begin with.


KONDRACKE: A poll taken by the Pew Hispanic Center (search) showed that 90 percent of Latinos would favor a proposal that would allow illegal or undocumented workers in the United States to obtain legal status, and 71 percent would back a guest worker proposal whereby they'd enter the United States legally, work for a limited period of time, and then go back home, basically that's the Bush plan.

Now, 58 percent of Anglos, white voters, also favor that Bush plan. So, it does have some attraction, even though both conservatives and liberals ... are ...

FRED BARNES, CO-HOST: ... The problem is in 2002...

KONDRACKE: Yes, I know.

BARNES: ... The Bush plan didn't come out till this past week.

KONDRACKE: I know, but it...

BARNES: How can they endorse it ...


KONDRACKE: ... no, no, but it indicates that ... there's a decent base ... there. But, the real test of whether Bush is a real compassionate conservative or just a phony, election time compassionate conservative, is whether he will try really hard to get a more liberal immigration policy passed in this session of Congress by maybe making a deal.

He'll never get the nativist Republican friends of yours in the House of Representatives to vote with him. So he's got to reach out to Democrats, and that means that he's going to have to be more liberal and create an opportunity for hard-working illegal aliens to eventually get green cards and become United States citizens.

BARNES: Yes, look, now, Mort, that's unfair to call most conservatives who oppose something like the Bush plan nativists. They're not at all. They're against illegal immigration. Now, what they should be ...

KONDRACKE: Some of them just argue that.

BARNES: No, come on, Mort, don't tell me you've looked into their heart again like you did with Trent Lott (search). I mean, please.

Look, I think this is a bold initiative on Bush's part. And that was lovely language he had about immigrants. He's entirely right. I think they're basically saving the country. They made America better. They've helped our economy enormously. But there are reasons to have doubts about the substance of this program.

Now, it's designed, among other things, to keep further illegal immigrants from coming in the country, to discourage them. And as Simpson- Mazzoli was in 1986. It's not going to do that. By giving them a piece of paper that makes them official, and they will get some of the privileges of citizenship. They'll be able to get driver's licenses and things like that.

You're rewarding them for having come in illegally. I think you will attract more.

But Bush will also politically attract more Latino voters, and the truth is, he deserves to get them. And, once again, he's done something that conservatives don't like, like the prescription drug benefit, that's going to help with the campaign and enhance his reputation...

KONDRACKE: ... triangulation.

BARNES: All right. Yes, sort of, yes.

DOWN: The Nation's Threat Level

The feds on Friday lowered the alert level one notch to yellow. That's the level known as elevated. The yellow ... it's down out of the yellow risk of attack. However, many precautions put in place during the higher orange level, you remember that, Mort, over Christmas and New Year's, will remain in place.

I love these, these codes. I think they work. I think they make people more alert to things that are suspicious. And, and people can decide what they are. They're smart, Mort.

And, and it also, I think, has a deterrent effect on terrorists who might come in the country.

Now, you have this other situation where there are the French and the British and the Germans and all and the Brazilians are all complaining about these heightened security precautions that the U.S. has insisted on for flights, airline flights, to the U.S. And all those flights were canceled, you know, from England and France.

Heck with their complaints. They didn't have 9/11, their countries aren't targeted like ours is. And, in fact, politically, this thing gave the Bush administration a good chance to show how serious they are about homeland security.

KONDRACKE: Yes, well, I assume that it wasn't politics. I don't think it was politics. I think there, there...

BARNES: Well, but it did help the president.

KONDRACKE: ... it has an advantage, you're right.


KONDRACKE: It, look, I assume that there was good intelligence indicating that, that Al Qaeda (search) was planning to use international flights as terrorist weapons. And we may have deterred something. We don't know. We certainly didn't catch anybody.

Now, the...


KONDRACKE: Yet. Well, we're not, I don't think we're going to catch any, well, maybe we will, who knows? This fingerprinting thing, I, I don't think can work, because you got 28 countries that are exempted from it, including Britain and France, where Zacarias Moussaoui came from, with a French passport. Richard Reid came from with a British passport.

And if you, if you're not checking on those people, you know, I don't think you're, you're doing any good.

BARNES: That's a fair point.


UP: House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

His plan to redraw congressional lines in Texas, which, of course, favors Republicans was upheld by a federal court this week. The ruling would swing as many as seven seats to the Republicans, strengthening the GOP's hold on the House and probably helping DeLay when he decides that he wants to become speaker.

BARNES: Yes, yes, true. And as I think you'll agree, the Supreme Court will probably not take this case. What I think is, this means one thing, it means that Republicans are going to gain seats in the House in the 2004 election, and probably get near what I think is their maximum level, the most they can possibly get, and the best of all possible worlds for them, and that's about 240.

KONDRACKE: Well, I just hope that two guys survive, Martin Frost (search) and Charlie Stenholm (search), Democrats, Charlie, they're both moderate, well, Charlie is ...

BARNES: I know, you like him.

KONDRACKE: ... is a conservative, Martin Frost is a moderate. We need them.

BARNES: And Stenholm has a better chance than Frost.

DOWN: Baseball Bad Boy Pete Rose

Fourteen years later, Charlie Hustle (search) grudgingly admits to betting on baseball just in time to sell his autobiography, his second autobiography. He lied in the first one. And upstage the Hall of Fame induction of Dennis Eckersley and Paul Moliter, two great players.

Now, in fact, as some sportswriters have noted, this is better. His confession is more, offers more evidence for his non-reinstatement than for his reinstatement by major league baseball, which would allow him to be elected to the Hall of Fame.

He shows no remorse, there's no reason to believe he's telling the full truth. He hasn't apologized to all those people he denounced who had proof years ago that he had bet on baseball. And he hasn't apologized to those poor people like Bill James, the baseball statistician, who defended him and said he hadn't gambled.

KONDRACKE: Look, I think that he should be banned from baseball for life, but that posthumously, there ought to be a Hall of Shame at Cooperstown for Pete Rose and Shoeless Joe Jackson (search) of the Black Sox.

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