Today, on the floor of the Senate, Dr. Frist betrayed the conservative movement, President Bush, the history of the Republican Party, and thousands of defenseless Americans. In doing so, he effectively ended his brief flirtation with the Presidential nomination of the GOP - and if this is a just world, he may also have effectively ended his leadership role within the party in anything but title.
There is simply no justifiable reason for Dr. Frist to have changed his position on such an important matter, except in some crass attempt to appeal to a biased media. After years of claiming to be a pro-lifer - after accepting money, support, and applause from the pro-life community - Dr. Frist throws them overboard for the sake of The New York Times.
The issue, of course, is the move by Frist to support federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.
My concern here is not with the correctness of either viewpoint, but with the tactical error of embracing the Democratic tactic of eating our own. Are we the big-tent party, or do we prefer to dwell in the cocoon of activism like the Kossacks?
Again, here's Augustine:
There is only one explanation for today's Senate floor flip-flop: Bill Frist is a man without principles. He does not deserve polite acceptance of his treachery by any Republican. And any party that truly believes in a culture of life does not tolerate such men in positions of leadership. It should not tolerate Dr. Frist.My, oh my...a man without principles? The only explanation? Frist can't honestly disagree with your position without being a worthless traitor?
Contrast this with Bush's dignified reaction:
Bush, notified by Frist of his decision Thursday, said, "You've got to vote your conscience," according to White House spokesman Scott McClellan.
UPDATE 9:53 p.m. central - the despicable Armando of the Daily Kos is having a field day with the Red State piece, and proving my point with his own loathsome partisanship:
Truly vile, reprehensible (and poorly written and reasoned) garbage...
Here's what I think - Frist's position on Schiavo and his unwillingness to stand up for stem cell research were both the acts of a craven politician who wanted to be President, and that the Dobson Party demanded it, along with extremist judges.
Why the change now? Frist now knows he will not be the GOP nominee for President in 2008. Does that mean this is more calculation? An attempt to regain his "moderate" image in the Media? Or is it a change of conscience spurred by the realization that his political career is basically over?
Frankly, I don't know and I don't care.