While it’s true that Republicans in the House and in the White House were upset at Frist’s mishandling of the deal, which limited the Bush tax cut to $350 billion, there is more annoyance that Frist has failed to build a strong, seasoned leadership team to help him through the early months of his tenure. “Trent Lott isn’t going to do this guy any favors, especially under the circumstances under which Lott was forced out,” says a Senate staffer working through the Easter recess. “Frist has had an opportunity to bring in some really experienced people, but he seems to have waffled on those decisions.”
There is an expectation out of the White House that Frist will seek to dump the $350 billion tax cut for the more Bush friendly $550 billion cut. As well, it’s expected that Frist will make a commitment to both his House and Senate colleagues to be better prepared for the sometimes byzantine procedures that Senate rules make possible.
As for Frist’s relationship with the House, veteran observers in both the House and Senate say that in the longterm this will be a minor flap. “Frist screwed up. It’s nothing more sinister than that,” says a House leadership staffer. “He’ll come to us. He’ll apologize, and then we’ll sit down and come up with a way to make this thing work. The White House is counting on our doing that.”
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The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
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Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?