And, Ayatollah Frist wants the party's nomination in 2008.
One of his many major blunders since the election was to draw a line in the sand on the Nuclear Option. I've always maintained that he doesn't have the votes and I haven't read anything that has convinced me otherwise.
And we have now seen the independant public opinion polling that has told us that even 40% of the R think it a bad idea.
But what's a Grand Ayatollah to do? From today's WaPo
Some independent analysts say that Frist -- a comparative newcomer to politics who unexpectedly gained the majority leader's post in early 2003 -- has created his own dilemma, and his handling of it will be an sign of whether he has the skills to seriously vie for the White House.He doesn't have the votes and he can feel the blood rushing from his political life.
"I think Senator Frist has backed himself into a corner where I don't see how he can avoid pulling the nuclear trigger," said Charlie Cook, editor of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. In terms of a presidential race, Cook said, "it hurts if he doesn't come up with the votes. But it also hurts him if the Senate comes to a grinding halt and can't get anything done. I think the guy's in a real jam."
Conservative activists are giving Frist little wiggle room. "If Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist hopes to capture the Republican nomination for president in 2008, then he has to see to it that the Bush judicial nominees are confirmed," Richard Lessner, executive director of the American Conservative Union, wrote in a recent article. "If he fails, then he is dead as a presidential wannabe."
Frist had mixed results yesterday in his scramble to find 50 Republicans who will promise to vote for the rule change (Vice President Cheney could break a 50-50 tie in Frist's favor). Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) said he will side with his party's leader, but Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told MSNBC, "I will vote against the nuclear option . . . because we won't always be in the majority."
Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.