Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Frist agonistes

Bill Frist today comes out and says “No deals!” on judges after the Dems float a compromise. There’s only one way to read this: the Dems are setting him up. They know he can’t compromise w/o reeaaalllly teeing off Dobson & Co. So by forcing him to loudly reject a compromise, the Dems aim to appear reasonable to the public at large, and make the look GOP trigger-happy. Which will probably work, given the current state of public skepticism towards the whole project. Frist, ever maladroit, has allowed himself to be maneuvered into an untenable position and will end up taking damage one way or the other. I don't know what Karl Rove sees in the guy.

Of course, it's possible that Frist is making this calculation: He will go to the mat for the religious right, doing his party some short-term damage, but in three years the only people who will remember this are the people pushing him now, who will reward him with the nomination. This is indeed possible. However, this hypothesis assumes that the political conditions in 2008 will be substantially similar to 2004 - and the ground already appears to be shifting.