Prognosis Looks Grim, Doc

Why would a man universally described as kind and intelligent suddenly start acting like a dodo? Presidential ambition, of course.

There are, I suppose, politicians who have had more dreadful years than Bill Frist, the Tennessee Republican who serves as Senate majority leader. Bill Clinton had his season of Lewinsky. Richard Nixon had Watergate. But rarely has a major politician endured such a spell of relentless day-to-day ugly.

Frist, once esteemed as a citizen-politician, a heart- and lung-transplant surgeon who spent part of each year donating his services in the most desperate parts of Africa, has transformed himself into...