Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Thursday | January 02, 2003

Frist already under attack -- from the right

Frist hasn't gone anywhere near a gavel yet, but already he's taking fire from his party's right flank. Robert Novak has blasted the Frist appointment for a variety of reasons: Frist is too inexperienced, he's too close to Bush, he's too nice, and -- this is the deal breaker -- Frist did not mention tax cuts in his acceptance speech. And, as we all know, that is the cardinal sin of the GOP.

Frist's acceptance speech dwelled on Senate unity across party lines. In fact, he will face unremitting Democratic intransigence on tort reform, judicial nominees, abortion limitations, the faith-based initiative, anti-cloning legislation and President Bush's priority of tax reduction. On Dec. 23, Frist did not mention taxes.

Instead, he delivered a pronouncement on health care that, with hardly any editing, could have been echoed by Senate Democratic Leader Thomas Daschle: ''We will improve and strengthen Medicare, address prescription drugs for our seniors and individuals with disabilities, and focus on the uninsured and the obvious health care disparities I've witnessed firsthand.'' Those are clearly Democratic issues where Republicans have to play defense.

To be sure, Novak was one of Lott's staunchest supporters, so there's an element of sour grapes here. But if this column is any indication, Frist will have to endure not only the Democratic opposition (and say what you will, Daschle is an excellent leader and tactician), but also resentful sniping from the old-guard conservative Republican establishment (the so-called "paleocons").

Posted January 02, 2003 09:53 AM | Comments (28)


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