Thursday, April 21, 2005

The Cost of Frist-ism

Tom Bevan over at the superblog,, once again spreads wisdom in a post about the Republicans' utter failure to properly manage the judicial filibuster. I agree with his point that if Frist has only laid down political cover over the past few months, the Byrd Option would have been an easy sale, because the Democrats' behavior is truly inexcusable.

I don't think that it is possible to belabor hammering Bill Frist or his predecessor, Trent Lott, enough on what amounts to an obvious and sustained failure to lead. Rather than standing up for what they believe, they have spent the past four years catering to the Democrats, giving them kindness for evil without fail. It is one thing to turn the other cheek and to respond with a gentle answer. It is quite another to allow one's self to be treated as the willing victim of another. And Frist has done just that. He has squandered a working majority, which the voters gave the president in 2002 and even more so last year, into an motley impotent crew whose only unifying factor is a single-letter party designation after their names.

I think that the talk of Frist's presidential hopes and this controversy's relationship to it is so much wasted oxygen and ink. Frist was chosen because the Senate Republicans believed that he would be a good leader. Instead, he followed in the footsteps of Lott. He pandered to the Democrats who remember no kindnesses and are only too quick to stick a knife into the side of the Republicans. The problem is that Dr. Frist has the collegiality to show them the ribs between which the knives should go to do the most damage. Those are not the qualities I want in a president. I think he is beyond rehabilitation.

This is a battle for the integrity of our government and the limitation of power of renegade government officials. It is a shame that Frist has not bothered to take it seriously. And it would be appropriate to replace him with a vertebrate leader at this point. Doing any less risks the Republicans' Senate majority, presuming of course that it is not already at risk.


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