Ups and Downs from the Week of Nov. 29

This is a partial transcript from "The Beltway Boys", Dec. 4, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.

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MORT KONDRACKE, CO-HOST: Let’s take a look at this week’s ups and downs.

UP: former New York police commissioner Bernard Kerik (search). He’s President Bush’s pick of the director of homeland security, and he’s likely to face smooth sailing for confirmation. Here’s what he said on Friday.


BERNARD KERIK, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY NOMINEE: There isn’t a day that has passed since the morning of September 11 that I haven’t thought of the sacrifices of those heroes and the losses we all suffered. I promise you, Mr. President, that both in memory of those courageous souls and the horrors I saw inflicted upon our proud nation will serve as permanent reminders of the awesome responsibility you place in my charge.


MORT KONDRACKE, CO-HOST: Well, Kerik was the police commissioner of New York on 9/11, which was the most terrible day in, in NYPD history, but also its finest hour, you know, the police department performed valiantly.

Now, he was also the guy, along with William Bratton, his, his predecessor as New York police commissioner, who helped Rudy Giuliani basically reform New York and, and, and make it a safer city, and reduce, reduced the crime rate by a lot.

BARNES: Yes. I like Kerik. You know, he was recommended for this job by Rudy Giuliani, the, the former mayor himself, who obviously could have had the secretary-ship of Homeland Security if he’d wanted it, but he didn’t.

KONDRACKE: He’s busy making money.

BARNES: Yes, make money and run for president at the same time. And, Kerik’s very good. He’s done a lot of training of police in Iraq, which is important.

There is one big question about him, however, and that is, does he have the management skill to handle this department, which is a huge, you know, amalgamation of all these departments around the government; and management does matter there. In a lot of these jobs it, it really doesn’t. But it does at that department.

And, and we’ll see. All right.

DOWN: 9/11 commission co-chair Tom Kean (search), you know, the former governor of New Jersey. He acts as if Congress must do exactly whatever he and the 9/11 commission tells them to do regarding intelligence reform. And if Congress hesitates, then somehow they’re making America less safe than they should, and then, and it’ll be the fault of Congress and so on if there’s an attack.

The truth is, look, Mort, the 9/11 commission asked for three extra months so they could finish their report in the first place. So obviously there’s nothing imminent in their report, unless you think shuffling -- a bureaucratic shuffle is something that has to be done imminently.

The stuff that needed to be done, which you know perfectly well, getting more under, spies who will work as spies and a lot of them who know Arabic in particular, President Bush has already ordered that. So there’s no reason why Congress has to say, Yes, sir, Mr. Kean, we’ll do whatever you want.

KONDRACKE: Look, the problem with the intel bill is not a Tom Kean problem. It is a House Republican problem. I mean, the fact of the matter is that the Senate would overwhelmingly pass the compromise bill that’s already been passed. The House would pass it overwhelmingly, but the speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, does not want to pass this bill with Democratic votes.

And so they’re waiting on Duncan Hunter, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Jim Sensenbrenner, to agree to it and bring along majority Republicans.

Now, I don’t know why, look, that the speaker is supposed to be the speaker of the whole House not just of his majority.

BARNES: You know the roadblock? It’s Susan Collins, the senator from Maine. She’s not, she could actually make some concessions to the House, and it would pass.


UP: Ukraine (search). After weeks of protests, Ukraine will get a revote of its disputed presidential elections, meaning that the country is more likely to become a free and independent country and not just a puppet of Russia.

BARNES: You know, first it was the, the Ukrainian parliament, which invalidated the prior election. Then it was the Supreme Court. Now we are going to have an election. And obviously, Russian President Vladimir Putin is not going to like this. But tough. The truth is, his lackey, who, Viktor Yanukovych, who won, who actually stole the first election, is probably going to lose the second election to the guy who won it, Viktor Yushchenko, and Yushchenko wants to have outreach to the West, you know, to join the European Union and so on.

Putin doesn’t like that. But again, I say, tough.

KONDRACKE: Yes, I think this is a wonderful thing to watch, a country deciding to become a democracy. It’s a, it’s a gratifying thing for any American.


KONDRACKE: And I thought that in the Boris Yeltsin era that the same thing was going to happen in Russia. But now we have Vladimir Putin, who is dragging the community back into czarist authoritarianism, and wants to have Russia dominate all of its neighbors as though the cold war was still on.


KONDRACKE: You know. Now, President Bush said that Ukraine should, should not be interfered with by any foreign country. He was talking about his old pal Putin.

BARNES: Yes, well, Ukraine’s not quite Switzerland yet, Mort, but at least they’re heading in the right direction. All right.

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