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August 22, 2005

More Frist Fumbles

Poor Bill Frist's inept constituency-chasin' only gets worse. After sticking a dagger in his medical dignity by offering a (totally wrong) telediagnosis of Terry Schiavo, he tried to walk the damage back by supporting stem cell research. Criticism from his friends on the Christian Right, however, shivered the poor doctor's spine, and in a vain attempt to be asked back to Dobson's pulpit, he's loudly, futilely proclaiming his support for Intelligent Design in schools.

The first response is that the supposedly moderate leader of the Senate is taking a position so nutty that even Rick Santorum won't endorse it. "Bill Frist: Crazier Than Santorum!" just isn't the sort of reputation one wants to have. The second, though, is pity. Bill Frist wants to be President. He's not going to be. He's no titan of the Senate whose entrance will clear the field, no national figure whose very name gets independents nodding in coffee shops, no regional hero who'll have a clear set of primaries to dominate. His hope, then, was to finally be the leader able to actualize the Christian Right's agenda. If their years of frustration could be ended by Bill Frist, they'd have to support him!

So he went with them on judges and Schiavo, abortion and ID. But instead of looking like their hero, he just seemed their slave. He made an ass of himself on Schiavo, lost, at least in their eyes, on judges, and was never quite out front on abortion. And all this came at the expense of his professional reputation and public dignity (kowtowing to neanderthals never helps the self-esteem). So he tried to use stem cells to reassert independence. Turns out, Dobson doesn't like independence. So now he's back, trying to heal the breach and make amends. And once again, he just looks weak.

Poor Bill Frist. Nobody, not even Christians, really want the weak and easily steamrolled sitting in the Oval Office. And so he'll never get there. The Bible says the meek shall inherit the earth, but it doesn't command that the devout vote them the deed. Bill Frist has managed to keep himself from being the Christian Right's enemy, but his obvious calculation and transparent political ineptitude will keep him from ever getting their respect. And since he's got no one else to turn to, Frist's bid is, basically, DOA.

August 22, 2005 in Republicans | Permalink

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» Good lord from August J. Pollak - xoverboard.com
I leave for two days and the Senate Majority Leader goes completely out of his mind. I think the time has come to start honestly examining the veracity of Bill Frist's medicial license. The man's doing for the image of... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 22, 2005 1:07:23 PM

» It is pitiful from Common Sense
I agree with Ezra's assessment of Bill Frist and his turn to the dark side. I've heard from people that he actually is very nice and that he was an accomplished doctor. Unfortunately, he wants to be president, and in [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 23, 2005 1:02:02 AM

» Poor Billy Frist, Trying So Hard... from telescreen.org
I greatly enjoyed this post over at Ezra Klein:Poor Bill Frist's inept constituency-chasin' only gets worse. After sticking a dagger in his medical dignity by offering a (totally wrong) telediagnosis of Terry Schiavo, he tried to walk the damage back [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 23, 2005 11:13:59 AM

Comments

I thought that a distinguishing characteristic of surgeons is self-confidence so pronounced that it's easy to mistake for arrogance. Maybe Frist is one of those guys who compensates by playing the bottom in the S/M experience that is his political life.

Be my bitch, Bill! Oooooo.... ssssss..... mmmmmm....

Posted by: sglover | Aug 22, 2005 12:24:01 AM

The meek shall inherit the earth...in plots about six feet deep.

Posted by: pansauce | Aug 22, 2005 2:26:11 AM

I don't think we should be comforted when the elected leader of the majority party (and the sole person who can determine which legislation is considered by the Senate) is openly playing to radical conservative Christian fundamentalists in his party.

That he maintains his leadership position in spite of his wacko ideas says as much as need be said about the condition in which the US finds itself home and abroad - the wheels are coming off American democratic republicanism. The world can see this, but only a minority of the US people do, and almost none of our major media.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Aug 22, 2005 4:19:39 AM

That he maintains his leadership position in spite of his wacko ideas...

Be aware, Jimmy, that posting on this and other board like it gives one a sense is centrism where none is warranted. You may not agree with them, but intelligent design and pro-life positions are hardly 'wacko' ideas. They are positions held by a great many people in this nation.
I think Ezra is suffering from a slow news week. If that is the case, perhaps he could comment on Hillary's latest statement about the war since there is a great likelyhood of her being the great white hope of the Democratic party in '08.
"We don't want to send a signal to the insurgents, to the terrorists, that we are going to be out of here at some date certain." "I think that would be like a green light to go ahead and just bide your time," the New York Democrat said."

Posted by: Fred Jones | Aug 22, 2005 7:42:11 AM

If ID isn't a whacko idea, let's see some links to some peer-reviewed ID papers.

Posted by: verplanck colvin | Aug 22, 2005 9:10:27 AM

More "great white whale" that "great white hope," wiseass. And you and the all the other scum-sucking Republican lower life-forms know it.

Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Aug 22, 2005 9:48:30 AM

What I love is that people pretend intelligent design isn't a dangerous misconception--it's just an opinion, and it's of merely academic interest. Well, it IS dangerous above and beyond making our kids stupid.

For example, according to evolutionary theory it is clear that overuse of antibiotics is causing "superbugs" to emerge. According to evolution 101, we should respond to this by better controlling our use of antibiotics. According to intelligent design, there's nothing we can do about it since it was going to happen this way anyway.

Big implications in which approach we pick, not the least of which is whether my grandkids are going to die of tuberculosis or an infected cat scratch in the year 2060.

Posted by: theorajones | Aug 22, 2005 10:39:15 AM

intelligent design and pro-life positions are hardly 'wacko' ideas. They are positions held by a great many people in this nation.

Is the second sentence supposed to be evidence for the first?

Posted by: djw | Aug 22, 2005 10:45:36 AM

Bill flip-flopped on the stem cell funding. Did he so out of political want or was it just that he actually does believe in the research? Or maybe he did indeed feel horrible about what he said about Schiavo and is trying to make up for it?

Its hard to believe in a person's sincerity when that person won't go on record as denoucing the idea that HIV can spread through tears and sweat. That to me was the moment that defined his sincerity. He could be sincere in all the other cases, but this moment tarnished the validity of those cases.

I do agree though, ID isn't some wacko concept. I don't believe in it myself, but I think it has sound moral ground and should be respected. This issue itself isn't whether ID is right or wrong, its whether it should be taught in public schools, something I am emphatically against.

Posted by: Adrock | Aug 22, 2005 10:52:28 AM

Is the second sentence supposed to be evidence for the first?

I think he wants it to be, DJW. But I think we're missing a huge point here. The politically expediant position for Democrats is NOT to run around the country claiming this is a wacko idea. Its to respect the position while making an intelligent case that the ID concept is better taught in the religious context and setting instead of the public school system. We can do this.

Posted by: Adrock | Aug 22, 2005 11:03:25 AM

ID is not science. People may have every right, moral or otherwise. to believe that a supernatural entity is behind everything (and let's be clear, that's what we're talking about) -- but it's not science. The term "supernatural" should be your first clue. So don't be passing it off as science in the public schools.

Posted by: nolo | Aug 22, 2005 11:45:38 AM

Paraphrasing here, but I heard someone say that "intelligent design is like saying my thermos keeps things hot and keeps things cold because God makes it do that." I agree that it's fine if someone wants to hold this as a philosophical viewpoint, but as "science" it is worthless.
I hope Frist hangs on and gives the presidental campaign his best shot. The GOP primaries will be a hoot.

Posted by: sprocket | Aug 22, 2005 1:02:09 PM

I don't need a political strategy 101 lecture. I'm not a prominent democratic politician or opinion leader. There's nothing inconsistent about pointing out that ID is carefully disguised crackpottish drivel, and Democrats should handle with caution.

Posted by: djw | Aug 22, 2005 4:13:20 PM

Evolution = science. Creationism (ID) = religion. Don't teach religion in science class, & I won't teach science in Sunday school. OK?

Here's what I would love to teach: The Church of the Flying Spagetti Monster. That religion shows proof that natural disasters are caused by not enough pirates in the world. (At least as much proof as a creationist offers.)

http://www.venganza.org/index.htm

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