If not Bill Frist, then who?
Well, for starters, Sen. Trent Lott, who, true to his reputation as true Senate Operator, was pulling the strings on the Gang of 14 nuclear disarmament team.
Knight Ridder last Friday reported on a secret meeting between Lott and Sen. John McCain in the hours leading up to last week’s compromise. Lott apparently made a production of entering McCain’s office space through a side door, but then, later spoke to several reporters about his meeting.
According to several Lott staffers involved with his management of the Rules Committee, Lott actually handed off his negotiations — as well as the various proposals he had been working on with Sen. Ben Nelson — after it was reported that Lott was trying to cut the legs out from under his Republican colleagues.
In fact, Lott was in almost constant contact with McCain and several other allies, including Sen. Lindsey Graham, who joined the coalition later in the negotiations. Throughout, however, Lott refused to sit in on further meetings with Democrats, leaving that to McCain.
“McCain was already on board, and Lott knew that he more than anyone would be willing to work the media in a way that Lott could not,” says a Rules Committee aide. “But we were all working on this. When you have an opportunity to move into leadership, you don’t pass it up.”
Leadership, you say?
As previously reported by the Prowler, Lott has his eye on the majority leadership once again, after mismanaging the politics and the policies of the GOP Senate for several years.
“Lott knows how to work a caucus for a vote, but he just has lousy political instincts,” says a Senate colleague. “The Strom Thurmond mess was just the capper.”
Along the way, Lott was singularly responsible for the 50-50 split Republicans had to deal with after the 2000 election, when he allowed Sen. Connie Mack of Florida to retire from his safe seat with no clear favorite to replace him in 2000.
Lott has been looking for ways to undercut both President Bush and Sen. Frist, as he blames both — though Bush more — for his political purgatory out of leadership.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
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It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
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