Winners and Losers of 2004

This is a partial transcript from "The Beltway Boys", Jan. 1, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

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FRED BARNES, CO-HOST: The winner of the year Iraqi interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi (search).

MORT KONDRACKE, C0-HOST: Yes. And he and the president of Iraq, Ghazi Al-Yawar, have been such stalwarts and so brave and they’re leading people who were also very brave. You know, these people — anybody who sides with the United States and tries to establish a democracy in this country is a target. And the idea that people are joining the military and joining the security services and serving in these very ministries and stuff like that, and as election workers — they are heroes.

And you know, they don’t get half — anywhere near as much credit as they deserve for doing this. I hope Allawi gets elected in his own right by the people of Iraq and becomes the leader of the country because he is one tough guy and he will really go after the enemy.

BARNES: You know, oddly, who is a winner is Ariel Sharon the prime minister of Israel who ended the year as being this former general and now the end of the year is a peace leader. Amazing.

The loser of the year ousted Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle. I think Senate Democrats are going to act differently in 2005 than the way they did with just sheer obstructionism as they did under Daschle in 2004 and his loss will really make a difference, which is why Bill Frist the Republican leader went out, unprecedented went out and campaigned against him in South Dakota.

KONDRACKE: I would not be too quick to make that assertion. I think that Daschle in a lot of ways was reflecting what he was hearing in the Democratic caucus and that attitude continues. And you’ve got a lot of moderates who used to be in the Senate like John Breaux are not there any more to create balance.

But Daschle clearly was the biggest single loser.

BARNES: Yes one more of those, the mainstream media. The mainstream media just took a beating. I mean it was so one sided and blatantly and brazenly in favor of John Kerry, everybody could see it, particularly the New York Times dumping on — not wanting to cover the Swift Boat vets and so on and they lost.

KONDRACKE: The winner then would be the alternative media, the bloggers both the left and the right. I mean they are a new phenomenon and there are millions of people all over the country who are logging on and reading them and getting their opinions from them. And they’re the ones who undermined CBS in that whole issue of the phony documents.

As soon as CBS came out with that story bloggers were on — were in the Web pointing out that these were obvious forgeries and you know, created a — undermined the reputation of Dan Rather and so on.

BARNES: What does your buddy George Soros (search) get for his $27 million. He’s another loser.

KONDRACKE: Not much. Loser-of-the-year runner-up.

BARNES: One — another loser is the Democratic Party. Remember the emerging Democratic majority? It didn’t emerge.

KONDRACKE: OK. You mean majority.

BARNES: Majority.

KONDRACKE: The majority did not emerge. OK, “The Beltway Boys” person of the year, President George W. Bush. And Time magazine (search) agrees with us.

BARNES: Yes. I was surprised Time did. You know I don’t think I can think of a president running for reelection who faced the relentless attacks, the scandals, the disappointments, the negative media, hostile media that Bush did and yet won what I think was a narrow landslide, enormous. It would have much more of an impact than you think by winning what, 51, 49 or 51, 48.

KONDRACKE: No question. Historic victory. Two, he brought more members of his party in two straight elections. That’s a historic event. You’ve got to say though that the other people of the year who deserve all of our thanks are the troops serving in Iraq and their families.

Everybody who goes to Iraq, including you, comes back moved by their dedication and their heroism and they uncomplaining service.

BARNES: And their sense of duty. And one in particularly, Pat Tillman (search), the pro football player who gave up his big salary, volunteered went to Afghanistan and was killed by friendly fire. An amazingly brave and patriotic person that is a real loss for America to lose somebody like that as the what, 1,200 that have been killed in Iraq in particular, a thousand of them in combat.

All right. That’s all for “The Beltway” Boys this week.

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