Friday, July 29, 2005


What Happens When You're Up For Re-Election But Your Boss Is Not?

You start finding reasons to blow off your boss, that's what:

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist on Friday threw his support behind House-passed legislation to expand federal financing for human embryonic stem cell research, breaking with President Bush and religious conservatives in a move that could impact his prospects for seeking the White House in 2008. ``It's not just a matter of faith, it's a matter of science,'' Frist, R-Tenn., said on the floor of the Senate. Frist's announcement immediately dented his support among Christian conservatives but won lavish praise from former first lady Nancy Reagan, who said it ``has the potential to alleviate so much suffering.'' Her husband, the late former President Ronald Reagan, had Alzheimer's disease.
It's not shocking that Frist blew off his Fundie backers; they've never really trusted him anyway, vastly preferring Jeb Bush even though Jeb's married to a Catholic Latina. What is shocking is that he's blowing off Bush/Rove, the people who took him from being an obscure Senator and made him Senate Majority Leader to replace Trent Lott, who was showing distressig tendencies of actually wanting the Senate to behave as an independent branch of government and not as just another arm of the Bush White House. (And you all thought it was because of Lott's Strom Thurmond eulogy. Nope, that was just the pretext.) For Frist to do this -- Frist, who is a made man for BushCo -- really does show that Second-Term Bush has got a lot less pull than did First-Term Bush. Here's the deal: Frist may well want to run for the White House in 2008, but he also has to worry about getting re-elected to the Senate in 2006. Furthermore, he cannot live on Fundie wingnut votes alone, even in the heart of Fundie wingnut country; he needs to get the mushy middle, and the mushy middle distrusts rabid Fundieism. (This goes double for the rest of the nation.) And considering that he made a very public goof with his actions in the Terri Schiavo tragedy (and his subsequent lying, and lying blatantly, about his actions), he has to really start distancing himself from the Bush-wingnut axis and to start inventing some reasons to make people think he's really a centrist. (UPDATE: It just occurred to me that Frist wouldn't be doing this if he still feared the Wrath of Rove. Wonder if he knows something that we don't?)

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