November 29, 2006

Frist won't run.

The field is winnowing. AP is reporting that Senator Bill Frist will not seek the Republican nomination for President in 2008. My two cents on a Frist candidacy is that Frist in '08 would have resembled Gephardt in '04: a Congressional leader who could raise money, but who is too tepid to get average voters excited about a bid for the White House. On top of that and unlike Gephardt, Frist would have had three major obstacles. First, he would have the albatross of the 108th Congress around his neck, forcing him to deal with all the baggage that comes with Schiavo, the failure to enact meaningful immigration reform, and the repugnant Republican scandals. The other two obstacles were more personal. Frist has a multi-million dollar stock portfolio due to his investment in HCA, a healthcare corporation owned by his father and brother. The problem is that HCA has been under a 10-year federal investigation for embezzlement and fraud. The third is that Frist has repeatedly lied about his status as a physician. He's said publicly that he is current, but has failed to keep his state practicing license current.Frist will probably fade from public life, but with millions of dollars in stock and his West Wing-esque estate, should we feel that sorry for him?