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When Bad People Do Good Things

By Jeffrey Thomas Boutin  Posted by Rob Kall (about the submitter)     Permalink
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I 've been tough on Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. But when I have been tough on him, I 've had good reason. So when I heard Bill Frist change his position to support government funding of embryonic stem cell research, I decided to send him a "thank you " e-mail. I knew he was going to take some heat for challenging Bush policy and the Religious Right. I could almost hear Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council (FRC) typing furiously and angrily from his evil lair in Washington. Sure enough, it wasn 't long after Frist 's speech that I received my daily hate briefing from the FRC.

If you remember, Frist spoke at the FRC event "Justice Sunday " which was telecast from a Kentucky church in April. Religious Right leaders heaped praise on Frist for standing up to "the liberal, anti-Christian dogma of the left. " Then, they bashed judges and concluded that the Senate filibuster rules were being used "against people of faith. " The "Christians " were being persecuted (again), and Bill Frist was their man in Washington to stop the injustice. But- that was April.

Now, their boy had strayed from the flock. "Vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord, " but when Tony Perkins refers to Bill Frist as a man who ONCE had presidential aspirations in the FRC response, it is obvious he has some vengeance of his own in mind. And unless Frist gets down on his knees before Tony and his congregation to reverse his reversal on embryonic stem cell research, I don 't think the fatted calf is going to be slaughtered in his honor and support for a presidential bid is even less likely.

So, I started to feel a little sorry for Sen. Frist. Don 't get me wrong! I hadn 't forgotten his ridiculous video diagnosis of Terri Schiavo or his support of pesticide testing on humans. But- I felt he was going to be punished for making a good decision this time. That is why I felt compelled to write an e-mail of thanks and encouragement regarding this one decision.

As Tom DeLay and other House republicans were holding their press conference to announce their disappointment with Frist, I received another e-mail. You see- in a moment of compassionate haste, I forgot to uncheck the box, so I would not receive Frist 's e-mail updates. With Tom DeLay lecturing me

about morals and ethics from the TV behind me, I started reading the Frist update. I didn 't get very far into it, before I stopped feeling sorry for the guy.

The Frist update listed some of the proud accomplishments of the week: Gun Liability Reform Legislation and The Death Tax Repeal Permanency Act of 2005. Of course, he left out a few details when he said "we must care for America 's hardworking families by eliminating the Death Tax. " No where does he mention that the ONLY hardworking families that will be helped are among the wealthiest 2% of all Americans. And as for the Gun Liability Reform Legislation? He forgets to mention that he shelved the Defense Bill until after Labor Day to bring Christmas in July to the NRA and gun manufacturers. The ARMY TIMES summed it up best:

"Senate Republican leaders decided Tuesday that a gun manufacturers ' liability bill is more important than next year 's $441.6 billion defense authorization bill. With Democrats expressing amazement that there could be any higher legislative priority in a time of war than the annual defense bill that includes money for pay and benefits, operations and maintenance, and weapons ' purchases and research, Sen. Bill Frist of Tennessee, the Senate Republican leader, decided Tuesday that a bill protecting gun manufacturers from lawsuits over the illegal use of firearms was a higher priority. "

That was just last week! These "accomplishments " allowed me to put Bill Frist back into the proper perspective. Then, I started to get nervous.

I began to worry that the same people, who rightfully criticized Frist 's medical credibility when he said AIDS could be spread through tears or when he made the video diagnosis of Terri Schiavo, were going to praise him now as a doctor because he was supporting embryonic stem cell research. It didn 't take long before I heard many variations of "as a medical doctor, Frist 's opinion carries more weight. " Let 's not get carried away here. I know. I know. I was the one who felt sorry for the guy, but thanks to the mistake that led me to be on Frist 's mailing list, it didn 't get out of control.

There was a popular book in the 80 's called "When Bad Things Happen To Good People. " I guess this would be a case of "When Bad People Do Good Things. " We should applaud Frist for embracing embryonic stem cell research, but let 's not forget the appalling positions he takes on almost everything else.

Jeffrey Thomas Boutin is a freelance writer currently disgusted (at himself for feeling sorry for Bill Frist) and living in Florida.

 

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