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Frist to US: My Way or We May Change the Rules

Reported by Ellen - November 14, 2004 -

Senator Bill Frist was the opening guest on FOX News Sunday today. Host Chris Wallace began the interview with the first of three times he would bring up Senator Arlen Specter on the show. Frist told Wallace and the viewing public what he (Frist) expects Specter to do if he should become chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

"(Specter) has a clear obligation as a chairman to take what the president nominates, consult with the president, take that nomnation, get that nomination through committee in an expeditious way, a fair way, a way that gives thoughtful consideration but doesn't spend too much time, gets that nomination to the floor of the United States Senate."

In other words, be willing to do the bidding of the president or else forget the chairmanship.

Next, Wallace moved to the subject of filibusters, which Frist repeatedly referred to as "tyranny of the minority." Wallace asked whether Frist is prepared to use the "nuclear option... a ruling that the filibuster of executive nominees is unconstitutional, which require not 60 or 67 votes but only a simple majority of 51."

"Oh, it's clearly one of the options...I'm going to do everything within my power as majority leader, with a full choice of - a full toolbox, a full armamentariusm, which includes this constitutional option."

Comment: Frist's concern about filibusters arises from the Democrats' use of this tactic during Bush's first term and the fact that there are still enough Democrats in the Senate to filibuster in the second term. But rather than trying to work with Democrats which, by the way, still represents very close to half the American public, Frist is trying to strong-arm the opposition. How American is that? And by the way, didn't he or Chris Wallace ever hear about the Founding Fathers' concern about the tyranny of the majority? Those fears seem very appropriate these days. But the thought seems not to have occurred to Wallace.