Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Back in November the Senate Republican Conference gave me the opportunity -- along with a few other bloggers -- to meet with six or seven leading Republican senators, including several who have obvious presidential ambitions. At the time I wrote this about Bill Frist:
Senator Frist was very impressive. He spoke very briefly, leaving lots of times for questions, and stepped around the podium in front of us to speak to us very directly and respectfully. He is obviously a man of great interests, knowlege and depth. Whether he has the personality to make a good president remains to be seen, but by my measure he is much better prepared today for the presidency than any of the other Senators who appeared before us.
It isn't surprising that I would like Bill Frist, in that I am fairly moderate in my right wingedness and easily seduced by book learnin'. Bill Frist's challenge has always been the red meat conservatives; one gets the sense that they regard Senator Frist as a bit PNQLU*. I was therefore interested and encouraged to read that John Hinderaker came away from his meeting with the Majority Leader with substantially the same impression that I had last November. Indeed, if I were forced to choose today, I might very well support Bill Frist for the Republican nomination. Perhaps that is because he is the only candidate for the nomination about whom I do not have some specific reservation, and perhaps that will change. At the moment, though, Bill Frist has my support until he loses it.
Senator Frist's blog is here.
*People Not Quite Like Us. Duh.
I'm easily seduced by book learnin too, but knowledge cuts both ways. If you want a rep as a smarty, you can't act like an idiot. My specific reservation with Frist would be when reviewed the Schiavo tapes. Here you have a cardiologist who hasn't practiced in years, who thinks he can look at a videotape and make a better clinical diagnosis than practicing neurologists have in person. That's all kinds of ridiculous.
If he was putting on a show, it was a dumb show. If he really thinks he can give a better diagnosis than the specialists, then he has dangerous self-important delusions. Talk about cherry-picking your data.
OTOH, he'd almost certainly do a better job than the dimwit currently in office.
He's not a cardiologist. He's a cardiothoracic surgeon.
Anyway, the Schiavo thing is going to be very divisive on the right. I'm a neurotologist (not a neurologist) who looked at the video and can tell you she had the brain function of a bag of parsely.
Charlottesvillain has it right - Frist can be quite likeable and engaging with small audiences. He is definitely bright and educated (certain doesn't hurt that he's a fellow Tiger :-)
Unfortunately, his public speaking to larger audiences is absolutely brutal. His 2004 convention speech was pretty terrible - and it was great in comparison to the speech that he delivered at my brother's medical school commencement (GWU Med, 2003). I had thought of Frist as a solid 2008 contender until that speech... no longer.
How can you even think of supporting him for president. He has shown such poor leadership in the Senate and wasted much of the polical gains we have worked hard to achieve. I dont care how smart the guy is or what/how well he speaks. His actions in the last two years border on complete incompetence. I have refused to give a dime to the Republican party until Frist is replaced as majority leaded and minority maker.
We have a saying where I came from "Dont piss down my back and tell me its raining". That is what Frist is doing now. I aint buying it.
Tiger I appreciate your thoughts. I am a NY conservative and think Frist will be a good candidate.
I work in washington and have an interest in campaigns...
To win, you need to be well organized, politicallly sound, and able to raise money...
So lets look at the field:
McCain: RINO in Red clothing...his campaign finance position, gang of 14 and immigration stance make him anathema to conservatives, well organized, can raise money
Giuliani: Pro-Choice, Pro-Gay draws from same well that McCain does, when push comes to shove, better organized mccain will win votes from this wing of party before rudy does,
Hagel: Not an option politically for republicans with his stance on iraq and penchant for photo ops, cant raise money
Pataki: uninspiring, not an option, wont raise money
Huckabee: possibility, faith based conservative, but he wont be able to raise money...
Romney: can raise money, mormonism shouldnt be a problem, decent candidate, likable, looks presidential, well organized, he has a real shot
Allen: Cant raise money, (want evidence of that? not one bush pioneer or ranger is affiliated with his campaign), and his past history and most recent comments leave people with the unflattering picture of a bullying race-baiter...boy i bet that attracts people to him, especially those big donors...he is politically suitable to conservatives
Frist: Well organized (check out what his pac volpac has been doing), can raise money (a number of rangers and pioneers have openly expressed support for him), his positions are bush-light but not to the point of mccain...he was to the right of president and mccain on immigration for example...he is a bad politican (cant give a speech) and doesnt give carefully worded answers to questions...has a tendency to say what he thinks...and that sometimes hurts him
Bill Frist will be an excellent choice to support for President. If he runs, he will certainly have my support. He is extremely intelligent, and has an impressive knowledge of the important issues. He also is the only genuine conservative with a chance to unite the republican party. Most important, he is truly a citizen legislator. the cosmetic things, like public speaking can easily be corrected. No other public figure thinking about running has his knowledge, intelligence and experience.
Something just as important as all of the above. The ability to stand in front of the cameras and large crowds and speak passionately about topics of interest without sounding like a tree or a loon. Secondly these topics of interest should match with the vast majority of Americans. If you have both of these, the organization and the money will follow. (See Reagan, Ronald)
Example: Can you think of a single thing Edwards said in the last campaign that you agreed with? Or something that Gore spoke about passionately that didn’t have chlorophyll? Or something that Kerry spoke about that didn’t involve Vietnam?
Are you guys serious about Bill Frist as President? G.W.'s biggest liability is his inability to speak publicly. As much as the left despised Ronald Regan they could not help feel better after he spoke to them. Even Bill Clinton for that matter, communicated to many in a way that got everybody on the same page. I am a huge fan of G.W. because of his unwavering convictions, however I don't think I could go another four years of a leader who cannot speak to and for all people (not just people with IQ's below 80.)
I hate to say it but after eight years of total substance, I think the country needs someone with a little style, and Bill Frist is not the guy. One last point, any person who has been associated with either the House or the Senate over the past five years, should automatically be removed from the ticket. The selling out of just about everything conservatives believe in, never mind the person who was suppose to lead this group, are sins we will have to pay for this November and for many years to come.