Frist’s Legacy

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Josh Marshall’s mocking Bill Frist, which is always fun. Reading through his posts, though, I sometimes wonder if the Democrats—no, add the whole country here—might have been better off if they had never ousted Trent Lott from his Senate Majority Leader spot in late 2002. After all, the fact that new figurehead Frist owed his job to Karl Rove ushered in an era in which the Senate GOP became a faceless extension of the president’s will and command, refusing to compromise with the minority party, and passing bills that reward key campaign contributors. Lott, for all his warts, would have never let that happen, at least not to the degree we’re seeing now.

Frist’s incompetence as a leader, meanwhile, and his inability to get much of the Republican “agenda” passed, seems to have driven the Senate GOP into such a fury that the party gave up the business of governing and decided instead to transform itself into a non-stop campaigning machine. Frist couldn’t get an energy bill through Congress back in 2004, so the GOP decided that the solution was to bring up gay marriage and flag-burning votes to try to trap the Democrats. Frist couldn’t get leaders to agree on a budget that year, so votes were manipulated to play “gotcha” games with Kerry and Edwards. Frist can’t get John Bolton confirmed, so Republicans have taken to attacking Dick Durbin for speaking out on torture. And so on. On a substantive level, I can’t imagine either party prefers this state of affairs—though Republicans might enjoy the election-day victories and cheap point-scoring that come with it.

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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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