You could begin to feel sorry for Bill Frist if the box in which he's placed himself were not one of his own making. The Senate majority leader is taking it from both sides, now: Democrats and moderate Republicans are unhappy with his constant kow-towing to the religious right, while activists on the religious right say their boots just haven't been licked clean enough quite yet.
Over the weekend, Pat Robertson took time out from equating federal judges to terrorists to say that he doesn't think that Frist is presidential material. And today in The Hill, a variety of voices from the right say that they're losing patience as Frist fiddles with the trigger on the nuclear option.
"Weve made it clear that patience is running out," Richard Lessner, executive director of the American Conservative Union, tells The Hill. Manuel Miranda, chairman of the National Coalition to End the Judicial Filibuster, says that he's sure that Frist will go nuclear when Congress returns from its recess next week -- and that he'd better do so if he knows what's good for him. "It must happen next week," Miranda says. "It would be considered intolerable to delay any further than next week."
Although Miranda threatens that any further delay would bring on a flood of phone calls to Senate offices, there's really not much of an "or else" to hold over most Republican senators. The message to Frist is a little different: Pull the trigger now, or you might be one lonely traveler on the road to the White House in 2008.