Ups and Downs for the Week of July 7-11

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This is a partial transcript from The Beltway Boys, July 12, 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.

UP: Africa

KONDRACKE: Whether it's the war on terror or the war on AIDS, Africa (search) is now a major player on the global stage, a point not lost on President Bush, who visited the continent this week.


PRESIDENT BUSH: We will ensure that the nations of Africa are full partners in the trade and prosperity of the world. Against the waste and violence of civil war, we will stand together for peace. Against the merciless terrorists who threaten every nation, we will wage an unrelenting campaign of justice in the face of spreading disease. We will join with you in turning the tide against AIDS (search) in Africa.


KONDRACKE: Well, most of Bush's agenda was humanitarian...


KONDRACKE: ...the war against AIDS and this millennium challenge…program where…to encourage economic development.

But Africa is a global security issue, a major one. I mean, failed states like Liberia provide haven and refuge for terrorist groups who can operate there. Nobody's going to prevent them from doing it. The diamond trade is being used for…to, to fund terrorism.

And also, you've got Nigeria, which is a huge oil producer and is a half-Muslim state, 50 percent Muslims, restive...


KONDRACKE: ... and, you know, and often corrupt. They're often, you know, involved in political disorder.


KONDRACKE: So presidents cannot just afford to go there once per term and forget about it. I mean, it's some, some...

BARNES: I agree.

KONDRACKE:'s a major national security issue.

BARNES: I agree, it's a different world. All presidents are going to have to go there. Bill Clinton (search) went there, now Bush. I wish he had gone to Kenya, where you'd had a…where we just had a democratic revolution that overturned a dictator. He wisely went to Uganda, where through a government program of discouraging promiscuous sex, they've actually almost triumphed over AIDS. All right.

DOWN: Democratic presidential candidate Joe Lieberman

BARNES: Lackluster fund raising numbers coupled with dismal poll ratings in early primary states is causing jitters, and rightfully so, in the Lieberman campaign. He's in third place in New Hampshire behind Kerry and Dean, and in Iowa, Lieberman's in fourth place, 14 points behind front-runner Dick Gephardt.

I think fund raising is a problem for Lieberman, but the biggest problem is finding an early primary state where he can win. He's not going to win Iowa, New Hampshire doesn't look too good. There's Delaware and the District of Columbia, which are not great states.

He is supposedly strong in Arizona, but that's the same day as the South Carolina primary, where all the media attention will be. So it looks tough for Joe Lieberman.

KONDRACKE: Well, as I've said before, I'm afraid that, that Lieberman is too moderate for the Democratic Party to, to nominate him. And the Democrats could be in the, in the unfortunate position, if President Bush is vulnerable, if the economy remains weak, if Iraq turns into a mess, that they will nominate somebody so far to the left that that person can't defeat a weakened President Bush.

BARNES: It sounds like 1972 again...

KONDRACKE: ... it's like suicide, is what it sounds like.

BARNES: Sounds like 1972.

KONDRACKE: Yes, or 1980, or 1984.


KONDRACKE: You know, they've done it before.

UP: Trial lawyers

KONDRACKE: They got a big win after the Senate shoots down a bill to limit the amount of money that plaintiffs can receive in malpractice cases.

Well, you know, the trial lawyer lobby is overwhelmingly Democratic, at least it gives its huge takings from the tobacco legislation and other...litigation...

BARNES: Mort…the Democratic Party.

KONDRACKE: ...Exactly, they bought the Democratic Party.

BARNES: Right.

KONDRACKE: And the Democratic Party pays them back by blocking tort reform legislation in Congress.

The fact is that if you're in a state which doesn't have caps on medical malpractice, claims...

BARNES: Yes, right, yes.

KONDRACKE: ...your insurance payments can be double...what they are in other states...

BARNES: Exactly.

KONDRACKE: ... and doctors are quitting the business.

BARNES: Well said.

Now, let's get to the most important issue of the week.

DOWN: Milwaukee sheriff's department

BARNES: the Milwaukee sheriff's department for arresting Pittsburgh Pirate first baseman Randall Simon (search) after Wednesday night's game against the Milwaukee Brewers. Here's what happened.

In between the sixth and seventh innings…now, watch this, Mort…four people dressed up in sausage costumes raced around the infield. Simon tapped one of the sausages with his bat in what he intended to be a brief but playful interaction.

The sausage fell and took down a hot dog with her. Neither woman, the hot dog nor the sausage, wanted to press charges. And they were treated for minor scrapes on their knees. Simon, however, was handcuffed and carted off to jail. He was later fined $432 for disorderly conduct, and one of the officials of the Milwaukee Brewers said this was one of the most outrageous acts he had ever seen. He was sickened.

This was absolutely ridiculous. I mean, the guy…it was, it was a playful thing. They reacted dramatically…overreacted dramatically in Milwaukee. No wonder the Brewers are in last place.

KONDRACKE: That's why they're in last place.


KONDRACKE: Aha. I thought it had something to do with Senator Cole.

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