December 23, 2003


GOP's Frist hones Senate operating skills: After a rocky start, the Senate's majority leader refines his understated style to score a major win on Medicare (Gail Russell Chaddock, 12/24/03, CS Monitor)

"He got Medicare reform passed, and that's the high point of the whole Congress right now," says Eric Uslaner, a political scientist at the University of Maryland. [...]

While House GOP leaders have powerful rules to limit debate and enforce party discipline, the Senate works on consensus. Frist learned that lesson well. "He seemed every inch the amateur for the first few months as leader. But he's catching on and demonstrating expertise in that post," says Larry Sabato, a University of Virginia political scientist. "That quiet air of confidence that doctors project seems increasingly to fit well within the atmosphere of the Senate."

Frist has promised to quit the Senate by 2006. Insiders note that exit date leaves time to campaign for the White House in 2008. "A third of the Senate will probably think about running. He has the most credibility of all the senators," says Mr. Sabato.

The betting line at this point would have to be:

(1) Jeb Bush

(2) Condi Rice

(3) Bill Frist

(4) John Ashcroft

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 23, 2003 8:19 PM

Coupla things...

Senators / Congressmen just have a hard row to hoe. I'll leave others to analyze why. They just don't win White Houses. What, John Kennedy the only one in practically a hundred years? That's pretty huge.

Jeb Bush. (sigh) I dunno, I got issues. I think he's talented and might be very good, but I got issues. The father/son dynasty thing is kinda cool OCCASIONALLY.... but a threesome is just getting a bit too creepy for my taste. Maybe that's not rational, but I got a problem with it.

Posted by: Andrew X at December 23, 2003 9:08 PM

Frist will be retired from the Senate.

Posted by: oj at December 23, 2003 9:27 PM

Jeb is much more hs father's son than GWB is, and shares a certain awkwardness/aloofness at times that could be a negative in 2008. But a lot of that will depend on how his brother is seen by the more conservative wing of the GOP at that time -- a Senate with 61 Republicans in 2005 (because I don't trust Lincoln Chafee) that can approve Bush's judicial nominees may make that wing of the party less grumbly about his current social spending and less likely to stage a crippling ideological fight in 2008 that would mirror the Buchanan/GHWB rift in 1992.

Posted by: John at December 23, 2003 9:37 PM

John Ashcroft? Give us a break. He is about as persuasive as Dan Quayle. If that's the lineup ... which I doubt, Hillary's a sure bet. Surely there are better alternatives in the wings.

Posted by: genecis at December 23, 2003 10:42 PM

Unless he's on the Court by then.

Posted by: oj at December 23, 2003 10:54 PM


H. Clinton vs Rice ??

No contest. Rice wins pulling away.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at December 24, 2003 5:55 AM

Genecis: 40-odd percent of New Yorkers voted for Rick Lazio, someone most of them couldn't even name before he jumped late into the race, out of sheer Hillary hatred. I assure you, the rest of the country does not exist in NY's Stalinist time warp.

Posted by: Chris at December 24, 2003 6:53 AM

1. Jeb Bush, above post is accurate, 3 times is too much.
2. Frist, Fine
3. Ashcroft, that is silly
4. Rice, as a woman it would be a great choice. Quite frankly as an African-American she will have a heck alot explaining as regards her views on affirmative action (defined broadly). If her positions are the same as Ward Connelly or Clarence Thomas then I would be a happy camper. If not then I wouldn't be.

Posted by: h-man at December 24, 2003 7:35 AM

Has anyone noticed Bremer?

Posted by: genecis at December 24, 2003 10:01 AM


And she ran as a carpetbagger. Check the polls on her versus G.W. She will be a formidable candidate.

Fortunately there will be four years to develop a viable short list. By then Condi will be a great choice for V.P., on the ticket from the get go.

Posted by: genecis at December 24, 2003 10:48 AM

appreciate your view on ashcroft, OJ, but come on, he's about as likable as a dirty sock. He lost to a dead person in his last election. That man is detested.

Posted by: neil at December 24, 2003 11:00 AM

Ashcroft's approval rating are quite high with the general public, but, more important, the Christian Right, which decides GOP primaries, trusts him as it does not the others mentioned.

Posted by: oj at December 24, 2003 11:07 AM

don't forget Colorado Governor Bill Owens. He's term limited and will be looking for a job in 2008.

Posted by: "Edward" at December 24, 2003 2:06 PM

I wondered how long it would take for someone to mention a Governor not named Bush. I am sure Mitt Romney, to mention one other, does not plan on schlepping around the Massachusets Governor's Mansion for the rest of his carreer.

Posted by: Jason Johnson at December 24, 2003 2:11 PM

Jeb Bush -- I agree with comments above: three is too many.

Ashcroft -- No way. Far too polarizing a figure. It'd be like running Newt Gingrich. I liked Newt, but it's tough to elect a national candidate who is constantly demonized by the national media.

Condi Rice -- First, she needs a lower elective office of some sort.

Posted by: PapayaSF at December 24, 2003 5:09 PM
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