Ups and Downs for the Week of March 10-14

This is a partial transcript from The Beltway Boys, March 15, 2003, that has been edited for clarity. Click here to order the complete transcript.

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DOWN: Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va.

BARNES: Fellow Democrats force Moran to step down as regional whip, a leadership position, though a minor one, after he suggested the Jewish community is driving President Bush's Iraq policy. Here's what he said exactly, quote, "If it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for this war with Iraq, we would not be doing this," unquote.

And Moran's reaction to the furor was bizarre. Watch this.


REP. JIM MORAN (D), VIRGINIA: I'm rough around the edges. I always am going to be. I -- you -- given my childhood, you never could have imagined that this guy was ever going to wind up in the Congress. And, you know, it's not a neat fit for me to be up here in the Congress. I may wear a tie, but I'm probably not meant to be in the Congress.


MORT KONDRACKE, CO-HOST: Yes, but he's not pulling out.

BARNES: I know he's not. I live in his district. He's my congressman. But anyway, look. I am surprised, pleasantly surprised, that Democrats have jumped all over him on this and suggested he should not run again and so on, stripped him of his leadership position.

I think they're really disgusted with what he said. But there's also something else, they are very worried about this migration of Jewish voters to the Republican Party. They're moving in that direction, mainly because Bush has been such a strong supporter of Israel, and also is, obviously, determined to defeat Islamic radicalism, which is, obviously, a threat to Israel.

KONDRACKE: Yes. Well, what Bush, what, what Moran said was, was not only offensive, but it was also just patently false. I mean, the last time I looked, George Bush was not Jewish, Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Condi Rice, Colin Powell, George...

BARNES: Don't forget George Tenet.

KONDRACKE: ... Tenet...

BARNES: Yes, right.

KONDRACKE: ... the CIA director, they're...

BARNES: Right.

KONDRACKE: ... you know, they aren't, they're not Jews. And it's not only Moran who's, who's floating this canard, our one-time compatriot Pat, Patrick Buchanan was out alleging that there was a mostly Jewish neoconservatives conspiracy afoot here. Here's what he said, quote, "What these neoconservatives seek is to conscript American blood to make the world safe for Israel," unquote.

Now, fortunately, all that Patrick, Pat Buchanan represents is a lunatic fringe.

BARNES: Yes, now, in, yes, there, well, there is a lunatic fringe, and Pat, it's hard to think, you know, that Pat was a serious presidential candidate just a few years ago. I think the person who broke the, broke the story that he was going to run in the first place was you, right?

KONDRACKE: Something like that, yes.

BARNES: that. He's now marginalized himself.

But, you know, Mort, where do you mainly hear, it's not on the right where you mainly hear this stuff about a Jewish conspiracy and anti- Semitism, it's on the left, and it's on the far left, and you hear it at these antiwar rallies in particular. That's where the problem is.


UP: Pro-life movement

KONDRACKE: They got a big boost this week after the Senate voted overwhelmingly for a partial birth abortion ban. The House looks to follow suit, and the president says he'll sign the measure.

Now, 16 Democrats voted for this, including...

BARNES: Right.

KONDRACKE: ... Tom Daschle. That cannot make the National Abortion Rights Action League very, very happy.

BARNES: No, no, they've changed their name to drop the word "abortion." That shows you how well things are going for them.

KONDRACKE: Yes, and interestingly enough, John Edwards and John Kerry, two presidential candidates...


KONDRACKE: ... absented themselves for the vote. They said they were out campaigning...


KONDRACKE: ... but my guess is...


KONDRACKE: ... that they were ducking.

BARNES: Yes, Mort, yes, why would they duck it, though?

KONDRACKE: Well, because, because they're -- because there was an overwhelming majority of people...


KONDRACKE: ... who oppose partial birth abortions. On the, on the other hand, if they voted with them, they would have offended NARAL.

BARNES: Yes, well, the person who I think is going to have the say here is Sandra Day O'Connor, the Supreme Court justice, because she was the fifth vote that overturned Nebraska's state ban on partial birth abortion, and she dwelled particularly on its lack of a health exception for a mother, and, and this bill doesn't have one either.

But it says that you don't need a health exception because there is never a health reason for having a partial birth abortion, and that's the A.M.A.'s position. I hope she accepts that, but I'm not sure she will.

UP: The Smart family

BARNES: Nine months of prayer pays off for the Utah family. Their 15-year-old little girl, Elizabeth, is safe and sound after being kidnapped by two drifters. And it really is a miracle of God that she has been saved and gotten home and so on.

But I'll have to say, that first day, I was irritated by, one, the police in Salt Lake City, who did a terrible job, and yet they engaged in an orgy of self-congratulation, you know, congratulating each other and this jurisdiction and that one.

And then the relatives of the Smart family came out with a PR man and talking points, you know, about, you have to get this Amber Alert passed nationally. Thirty-eight states already have one. So it's not that urgent anyway. And they said, Well, it has to be standalone legislation, and not in a larger bill.

I mean, come on, get out of the weeds.

KONDRACKE: Yes, yes.

BARNES: Where do they -- go hug Elizabeth.

KONDRACKE: Well, you know, I respect the police in general, but I've got to say...

BARNES: Well, so do I.

KONDRACKE: ... that in this case and in the Jon-Benet Ramsey case, and in all these cases where increasingly number, numbers of innocent people who are jailed...


KONDRACKE: ... for things get freed on DNA evidence indicated the police, police botched this. You know, this would not have happened it had -- the -- she would not have been found had it not been for "America's Most Wanted."

BARNES: Yes, right.

KONDRACKE: That, that was -- and I think...

BARNES: Absolutely.

KONDRACKE: ... and I think a national Amber Alert is a good idea.

BARNES: Right. Well, I do too. It'll pass. And doesn't need lobbying from them. OK.

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