Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Reid

Linnet at Looking at the Stars does another good summary of Harry Reid’s recent appearance on Meet the Press. She’s a bit more positive on Reid than myself and some others have been, so give it a look for another perspective.

One of the quotes she had culled from the transcript that I hadn’t particularly noted before was Reid’s comment on Bill Frist. Reid’s assessment was: "I think Bill Frist is one of the finest persons I've met."

The inclination toward issuing such verbose praise toward the Republicans is the thing I most dislike about Reid's approach. One of the finest persons you’ve met…really? Even if that's true, it's not something that I particularly want to hear our Senate Minority Leader say. An accusation of partisanship would be an accurate response to my claim, but I don't deal with Bill Frist on a daily basis; I only know him through his politics, and so hearing that he's a fine person doesn't mean much to me.

It means even less once one starts looking into some specifics about Frist. Just for a start, see here, which nicely documents Frist’s love of animals (certainly not his biggest ethics problem, but informative nonetheless):
Frist admitted in his 1989 book that, while a student at Harvard Medical School, he adopted cats from animal shelters and practiced surgery on the animals. In adopting the cats, however, Frist told shelter staff members he wanted the animals for pets. All of the cats died as a result of the surgeries.

"It was a heinous and dishonest thing to do," Frist wrote in Transplant: A Heart Surgeon's Account of the Life-and-Death Dramas of the New Medicine.

Frist explained that the pressure to perform well at the school was unbelievable, and that he believed at the time that he needed more animals to practice on than were provided.

"I was going a little crazy," he added.
I guess when he was young and irresponsible, he was young and irresponsible. And a cruel, sadistic opportunist.

Does Reid not know about Frist’s ethics problems? One hopes that a man in his position would be well familiar with Frist’s documented conflicts of interest and creative accounting. If he does know about them, and still refers to him as a fine person, then that either speaks volumes about the sorry state of the Senate, or Reid is being incredibly disingenuous. (I suppose the chance that he is being ironic is too much to hope for.)

The other part of my annoyance is simply that you won't hear Bill Frist saying the same about Harry Reid. The Republicans use every chance they're given to demean the Democrats, and continuing to refer to any of them in such lofty terms really gets my hackles up.

Reid is a former boxer, and I wish he'd bring a fighting stance to the political ring. Boxers might be friends outside the ropes, but inside, they're not waxing rhapsodic about what a marvelous human being the other is. They're bashing each other's heads in trying to win the belt, and that's the mentality the Republicans have, so we need to effect the same.

I'm not suggesting Reid turn to insults, but he doesn't need to be quite so effusive with the compliments, either.

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