Ups and Downs for the Week of July 21-25

This is a partial transcript from The Beltway Boys, July 26, 2003, that has been edited for clarity. Click here to order the complete transcript.

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MORT KONDRACKE, CO-HOST: Let's go to the ups and downs.

DOWN: California Governor Gray Davis

KONDRACKE: After months of legal wrangling and bravado, Davis has the dubious distinction of being the first governor in the Golden State's history to face a recall election. Here's Davis after the election certification on Wednesday.


GOV. GRAY DAVIS (D), CALIFORNIA: While they have problems with me, while I've made mistakes, while we have a tough economy all across the country, at the end of the day, I believe they will acknowledge we have been making progress in a tough economy. And I don't think they're going to replace my progressive agenda with a conservative agenda.


KONDRACKE: Well, the polls now are 51...


KONDRACKE: ... in favor of recall, 43 in favor of keeping Davis. Davis has three weeks in order to bring those numbers closer together, and to keep another Democrat from jumping into the race. And the, the person that everybody's waiting on is Dianne Feinstein (search), who said the other day that at the moment, or right now, nothing that I know of interests me in running.

Right now, you know…

BARNES: Are you suggesting that's not Sherman-like?


BARNES: Yes. The…you know, the thing about Davis is, as that bite showed, Davis doesn't understand what's going on. It's not…this is not somebody seeking a, a right-wing takeover of the state, it's a revolt against a political class in Sacramento, of which he's the head, and which Democrats run, because people in California feel that Democrats, and some Republicans too, for that matter, live high on the hog, they take care of the people who, who've given money to their campaigns, like...particularly like, yes, Gray Davis (search) does, by people who, who work for the state government. They raised taxes, and they…but they've created a mess, a budget mess, and, and that ignored the people around the state.

So it is…there is a huge populist aspect to this that Davis and some other state leaders don't recognize. OK.

UP: Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas

BARNES: He gets a big-time vote of confidence from President Bush in an historic White House (search) visit this week, an invitation, by the way, that PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat never received. Here's Abbas Friday on his vision for a Palestinian state.


MAHMOUD ABBAS, PALESTINIAN PRIME MINISTER: We do not merely seek a state, but we seek for a state that is built on the solid foundations of the modern constitution, democracy, transparency, the rule of law, and the market economy.


BARNES: Well, that sounded good to me. Now, I think President Bush has done everything he could to elevate Abbas and downgrade Yasser Arafat, and he gave him a…on Friday he gave him another $20 billion...


BARNES: ... not billion, million...yes, million…to help cope with poverty among the Palestinians. He's going to send a couple of cabinet members over there to help them juice up the economy and so on.

I think it's time for Arab leaders in Egypt (search)…in Jordan (search), and in other places to do the same thing and help elevate Abbas and not stick with Yasser Arafat, with whom there is no peace in the Middle East.

KONDRACKE: Well, also at that session with the president, Abbas insisted that the Israelis have to freeze settlements and also stop building this wall to separate the Palestinians and the…and the Israelis. And President Bush sort of indicated that he was going to do something about that. Ariel Sharon arrives in Washington next week, and Bush is going, you know, going to have to deliver something, and I guess there, there will be some step in that direction.

DOWN: Republican Congressman Bill Thomas

KONDRACKE: The powerful and prickly House Ways and Means (search) chairman is forced to publicly admit that he used poor judgment last week when he called the Capitol police to evict protesting Democrats from the committee library. Here's Thomas on the House floor Wednesday.


REP. BILL THOMAS, D-CALIF., CHAIR, WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE: I learned a very painful lesson on Friday. As members, you deserve better judgment from me. And you'll get it.

I want to rededicate my efforts to strengthening this institution as the embodiment of what is best about us. I need your help, and I invite it.


KONDRACKE: Well, there was applause after that. But in spite of that, and in spite of the, the apology, the war continues in the House of Representatives. The Democrats feel totally oppressed and dismissed and, and are able to participate hardly at all in the legislative process, and, you know, some would say, well, it serves them right for the way they treated the Republicans when they were in the, in the minority.

The Republicans, however, staged a revolution led by Newt Gingrich (search), and I think that the Democrats are sort of in a pre-revolutionary state right now.

BARNES: You wish.

Mort, you know, you wrote a very good editorial on Pete Stark, who, at that same House Ways and Means Committee session, screamed things that I can't repeat to you, even, on…about, about Chairman Thomas. And you chastised him strongly. San Francisco Chronicle said they need another congressman from Pete Stark's district.

Now, that's about all there's been in the press about Pete Stark. If this were a Republican who had said those things, the press would be chasing after him, insisting that he too get on the floor like Thomas did and apologize. OK.

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