From last night’s Special Report with Brit Hume:
—On a Democratic Majority in the House—
MORT KONDRACKE: . . . on all kinds of spending issues, homeland security, education, health research, energy research, the Democrats are going to want to spend a lot of money — a lot more money than the Republicans would. . . . [They want] to raise the capital gains rate back to the ordinary income rate. I mean, there’s a lot of sentiment among the Democrats that under income should be taxed at the same rate as earned income.
NINA EASTON: Nancy Pelosi said this week that was off the table, actually. She said they wouldn’t tax that. And I think part of what we’re seeing now is people like — Nancy Pelosi, in particular, knows that they’re auditioning for 2008. Are we credible enough to take back the White House? And I think we’re seeing a little bit, at least this week, sort of a trimming of the sails on some of their positions. . . .
MICHAEL BARONE: If John Conyers will be chairman of the Judiciary Committee which handles immigration . . . I expect that they would be pushing for something like the bill that passed the Senate this year with guest worker legalization provisions to come before the House. And it would have — it would tend to have a majority of votes in the Democratic House, I think.
—On North Korea—
HUME: And the subject, of course, is North Korea’s nuclear ambitions and nuclear weapons program, uranium enrichment to be specific, and the president has succeeded [in] getting the North, at least, to come back to the table to discuss the matter. . . . Which did this — carrots, sticks, or both?
KONDRACKE: Well, I can’t believe it wasn’t the Chinese saying, at a minimum, get back to these talks. I mean, the Chinese were humiliated by the nuclear test. It’s significant there hasn’t been another nuclear test, which the Koreans — North Koreas were working themselves up to.
However, will they give up their nuclear program in these talks? You know, I don’t think so. . . . So, the North Koreas are going to want to discuss the . . . financial sanctions issue and we’ve got to say uh-uh, you know, we’ll talk about financial sanctions if you give up your nuclear program. I don’t know if we can make that deal.
BARONE: Well, I think it’s something of a vindication of President Bush’s approach. I was one of several columnist that met with him at the White House last week and he talked about, you know, how we try to work diplomacy, try to persuade other people, like China to persuade people that are really adversary to us, like North Korea, to do something. And that seems to have been successful. I think the sticks of the financial, cutting down this bank in that Macau was important. Apparently it cuts off their supply of brandy and luxury goods that the North Korean nomenklatura likes to have. But there’s still an awful lot of tough work ahead, as Mort says.