Lost among Pat Robertson's quasi-endorsement of Rudy Giuliani for president and his insane comments on religious litmus tests for judges, Pat Robertson made another unexpected move last Sunday: He cut Bill Frist loose.

Bill is a wonderfully compassionate human being. He is humanitarian. He goes on medical missions. He's a delightful person. I just don't see him as a future president. I think he's said he didn't want to run for president. Maybe I'm putting words in his mouth.

Ouch. It'd be little wonder if the good Doctor began questioning why he was expending all this energy, capital, and poor press kowtowing to Robertson's agenda. But Frist, in his unfortunate way, was destined for this electoral purgatory. The Christian Right is, if nothing else, an authentic organization and they're going to push the candidates who excite them, not the one's who've been dutiful. That means Santorum, Owens, Allen, and even Giuliani can expect some troops, but the hapless majority leader is unlikely to find himself riding to victory atop some megachurch-based uprising. Now, it may be that Frist simply felt that he needed to neutralize the far right's opposition to his candidacy, which he's surely done. But without a natural constituency to run with, lukewarm acceptance by theocrats isn't going to do him much good, and while his slavish attentiveness towards Bush's agenda might get him a pat on the head from conservatives, the truth is that no one falls in love with a follower.

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