Thursday, November 30, 2006

Is There a Frist in Our Future?

Bill Frist has withdrawn from running for President in 2008, a bow to the obvious fact that he didn't have a chance. But blogger Dean Barnett says that the cardiologist-turned-pol shouldn't be counted out as a future force of some sort in the GOP:
...when I spoke with [Frist]...he seemed like an extremely intelligent, impressive and well-informed guy...that has not been my typical experience when conference-calling with Republican machers. I also recall my chance meeting with a Republican Senator on the golf course a couple of years ago. His praise for Frist was obviously sincere and heartfelt.

Frist has obviously made the right move in not running. The entire Congress the last few years has been an epic disappointment, and as the leader of the Senate there was no conceivable way he could skate away from that record. But in considering Frist’s future, it’s worth noting that this Senator from a mid-sized state and with short-term service was recognized by his colleagues as the man who should lead them. Furthermore, First was never plagued with the kind of grumblings that went on behind Coach Hastert’s and President Bush’s backs, even as the 2006 election season began to resemble a political Hindenburg.

Frist has much more to offer. Retiring from the field at this point in time is the best way for him to maintain his ability to do so.
Some say that John Kerry, who hasn't stopped running for President since the 2004 race, would do well to withdraw from his bid for the 2008 Democratic nomination and so, like Frist, enhance his credibility for the future.

The presidential fever, from which Kerry has suffered his entire life, is a virulent virus that beclouds judgment and will, if its victims aren't careful, turn them into Harold Stassen or Eugene McCarthy. Maybe Kerry needs to contact Dr. Frist and ask for the cure.

[UPDATE, An Explanation: For the younger set, Stassen was a one-time Republican kid-governor and McCarthy the first Democrat to challenge Lyndon Johnson for the presidential nomination in 1968. Both apparently began as serious political figures. But their perennial campaigning for president, way beyond any realistic hope of getting to the White House, made them, in the end, objects of ridicule and marginalization.

[The moment that best captures this in Stassen's case came at the 1968 GOP convention, thirty years after his first promising rise to prominence. After his name was put in nomination for the presidency, Stassen's one-and-only delegate, his nephew, was the only participant in the then-customary floor demonstration accorded each candidate. Demonstrations usually included confetti, streamers, loud brass bands, and chanting, marching delegates. Stassen's floor demonstration consisted of his nephew laughingly and good-naturedly walking around the hall with a transistor radio blaring music.

[Perennial candidates may think they're just one primary win from having their faces chiseled next to Washington's on Mount Rushmore. But to the rest of the world, their images belong in a photo gallery with that of Norma Desmond. Bill Frist gets that and may, as a result, still play a major role in government in the future.]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It seems that Kerry has a misguided dual-sense of destiny and entitlement. But he's incorrect, of course....

I actually believe he's a bright, committed man, but he's the epitome of the old-style New England Democrat: wealthy, out-of-touch, inarticulate, intellectual to a fault.

He will never be President. Never.

About Bill Frist, he was in over his head as a hardball political player in the Senate. And his aristocratic ways can be as offensive as those of John Kerry.

But rather than returning to private practice, Mr. Frist wants to contribute to humanitarian causes overseas. I think he may have been correct when he said that in recent years, that which is most interesting about him has been lost.

Thanks for the link, Mark!