Bill Frist – Inside the Beltway?

Conservatives across America have been contacting their Republican Senators for two weeks to express their views, apparently mostly negative, about Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) from taking over the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist received so many emails he sent his own email advisory out to his base saying:
“If you haven’t yet written me about the chairmanship
of the Judiciary Committee, don’t (please)!!! My
mailbox is overflowing!!! We are addressing the issue
appropriately within the institution of the Senate in
a respectful and appropriate way that will be beneficial
to the President.”
Conservative Alerts accuses Frist of “Ignoring the ‘red state’ base of patriotic
conservatives” and responding “with a
typical ‘inside the beltway’ answer.”
“He thinks they can play the same old games, ‘addressing
the issue appropriately within the institution of the
Senate’ — in other words, ‘YOU don’t know what’s best
here, so just let US handle it!’ reads the latest Conservative Alerts newsletter.
When I contacted the local office for Senator Frist, I was told I needed to call the D.C. office to speak with Nick Smith, but I was warned, “The office is being flooded with calls about Arlen Spector se we (the local office) can’t even get through.” When I asked if there was no one in the local office who could answer a couple of questions I was told, “This is a case work office. We don’t handle policy.”
When I tried to call the D. C. office for comment, as warned, I could not get through.
I am left to draw my own conclusions. Assumptions are always dangerous, but based upon what I have read and what I have been told by the local staffer, my own conclusion would be that the Frist offices are receiving so many calls and emails (flooded was the word the Tennessee staffer used), more than likely it is hampering communications. Senator Frist sent out an email to his base, probably with no sinister motive in mind, hoping just to clear his phone lines and email.
However, asking constituents NOT to exercise their right to be heard is never a good idea for an elected official. Asking voters to trust that Frist and other senators will be “addressing the issue appropriately within the institution of the Senate” does smack a bit of an “inside the Beltway” response, however inadvertent that might be.


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