October 25, 2005

Bill Frist, Family Man



In my last Frist post, I proposed to undertake an “informal inquiry” into the personality of Tennessee’s junior Senator.  Specifically, the BAG was hoping to use available photographs to sharpen the understanding of who Frist is, and how he operates.

In that previous entry, I presented a photo of Frist walking into his spanking new office on his first day as Senate Majority Leader.  Prominently displayed on the credenza was a framed black-and-white portrait of Frist himself, smiling, with fist on chin.

The discussion accompanying that post offered an impressive example of lay psychology, offering several possible diagnostic labels for Frist (narcissist; robot/schizoid; autistic; medical school-induced post traumatic stress syndrome) as well as a discussion of the ethics and viability of this kind of speculation.

(As I follow the photographic trail, I just hope the effort remains relevant — or even, sheds some understanding — as Frist becomes consumed with legal and ethical problems related to suspicious stock trading.)

Anyway, you’re probably wondering what’s with the dogs?

In assessing character, an obvious factor to look at is how a person regards his family.  In Frist’s case, he refers to them — his wife, Karyn, and his three teenage sons, Harrison, Jonathan and Bryan — as his “foundation in life.”

At last count, there were 47 separate albums in the photo section of Frist’s Senatorial website.  All told, these folders contain about 419 photos — if I counted right.  (… By the way, I’m guessing that this is a record for the number of on-line pictures of himself one Senator has offered to his constituents.)

In any case, one of these folders is dedicated to family.  That album, labeled  “Frist Family Photos” is 28th on the list, and contains two photos (or .48% of the total).  As shown above, the first image is dedicated to the family dogs.  The second shot — which is probably eight or nine years old by now — shows a run-of-the-mill snapshot of the immediate Frist clan taken from afar in what looks like a back yard.

For a man who has been through two Senate campaigns; has spent 11 years in the Senate; has attended who knows how many award ceremonies, dinners, prayer functions, commemorations, funerals; has spent most of the last year touting himself for POTUS; and apparently oversees even the most minute detail of his public presentation, I’m just wondering where is the photo documentation to support this man’s self-avowed Christian conservative family values?

I don’t know about you, but if I was part of the Frist family and this was my primary basis for evaluating the Senator’s compassion for his “foundation of life,” the dogs don’t come out half-bad.

(images: First Senatorial Website. Photo Gallery.)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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