Chutzpah Watch

CHUTZPAH WATCH…. Former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) appeared on Fox News this morning to criticize Democrats for, of all things, considering reconciliation for health care reform. At the same time, he endorsed his own effort to expand government intervention into health care while adding hundreds of billions of dollars to the national debt.

It was quite an interview, even for “Fox & Friends.” Frist said the Medicare Part D legislation is “a great bill.” That he and his GOP colleagues didn’t even try to pay for it, or address the “donut-hole” problem, didn’t come up. Frist went on to boast that he didn’t try to pass the measure through reconciliation, which he denounced as a method of cramming legislation “down people’s throats.”

He was, not surprisingly, cheered on by the hosts. Steve Doocy, for reasons that are unclear, referred to reconciliation as a “loophole.” Brian Kilmeade, in an apparent attempt at a pun, told Frist, “The term is they are using a ‘Rahm’ it down your throat.”*

But routine Fox News nonsense notwithstanding, hearing Frist bash reconciliation is pretty interesting. After all, as recently as June, Frist told Bill Bennett, “[Reconciliation is] legal, it’s ethical, you can do it.”

For that matter, Bill Frist supported using reconciliation to pass Bush tax cuts in 2001, 2003, and 2005. At the time, he was unconcerned about cramming legislation “down people’s throats.”

The degree of shamelessness here is almost impressive.

* edited for clarity