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April 30, 2005



There was a big discussion about this over at Kos yesterday, trying to figure out what the deal was. The group seemed pretty evenly split between the "Brooks is full of shit" and "Reid knew Frist couldn't take the deal" camps. Both actually make sense to me.

Brooks has become little more than a Novak with an erudite sense of wordplay, so it wouldn't surprise me if one of his sources was trying to get this scenario out there in hopes of shaking some of Reid's backing. Liberals felt a little uncertain about Reid at first because of his pro-life stance and because of his moderation on other issues, but have fallen in love with him as he's used Frist's presidential ambitions against him time and again to gain the advantage in a Senate where we're always at least five votes down.

But this really is a case where Frist has backed himself into a corner on the nomination issue. As the Rude Pundit put it a couple of weeks ago, "Churchy wanna get paid," and Frist is finding it difficult to meet that bill, because not all his Senators are ready to become so beholden to that section of the electorate. If Frist was sure he had the nuclear option votes, he'd have pulled the trigger by now. Reid knows it, but isn't bragging, because he doesn't want to push anyone back into the arms of the Republicans--I suspect he'd rather not have to make this a public vote and would be willing to let it all just go away if Frist will.

So it really comes down to how bad Frist wants the nomination in 2008. He's learning firsthand, as Dole did, that running from the Senate is hard, but running from the majority leadership position is damn near impossible.

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