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Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Saturday | December 07, 2002

Southern Racist Trent Lott (and that's not rhetoric)

"San Francisco Liberal" Pelosi? How about Mississippi Racist Lott? No joking, the GOP's Senate leader overtly announced his love for the policies of southern segregationists.

Senate Republican leader Trent Lott of Mississippi has provoked criticism by saying the United States would have been better off if then-segregationist candidate Strom Thurmond had won the presidency in 1948.

Speaking Thursday at a 100th birthday party and retirement celebration for Sen. Thurmond (R-S.C.) in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, Lott said, "I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years, either."

Thurmond, then governor of South Carolina, was the presidential nominee of the breakaway Dixiecrat Party in 1948. He carried Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and his home state. He declared during his campaign against Democrat Harry S. Truman, who supported civil rights legislation, and Republican Thomas Dewey: "All the laws of Washington and all the bayonets of the Army cannot force the Negro into our homes, our schools, our churches."

Ahh, more beautiful words were never heard by the Trent Lotts of this country. And I'm sure all those "swing" and "independent" voters who were bamboozled by the GOP into voting for Republicans will stand and provide a hearty cheer, and dedicate a toast to the man that now personifies their electoral convictions.

I'm sure GOP moderates like Collins and Chaffee are brimming with pride. This is their leader, not some fringe lunatic (like LaRouche or Sharpton).

The best thing the Democratic Party ever did was get rid of assholes like Strom Thurmond.

Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), a leader of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, said yesterday he was stunned by Lott's comments, which were broadcast live by C-SPAN. "I could not believe he was saying what he said," Lewis said. In 1948, he said, Thurmond "was one of the best-known segregationists. Is Lott saying the country should have voted to continue segregation, for segregated schools, 'white' and 'colored' restrooms? . . . That is what Strom Thurmond stood for in 1948."
Conservatives will either ignore the words (while they bash away at "Socialist" Pelosi), or make laughable statements like this one:
William Kristol, editor of the conservative Weekly Standard, said "Oh, God," when he learned of Lott's comments. "It's ludicrous. He should remember it's the party of Lincoln," referring to Lott's role as Republican leader of the Senate, which the GOP will control when the new Congress convenes next month.
Party of Lincoln? Not for the last three generations. Is there any doubt that a modern-day Lincoln would be a Democrat? A GOP concerned with being the party of Lincoln would've given Strom a swift kick in the ass when he switched parties.

Nah, this is the end result of Nixon's "Southern Strategy", and no rhetorical references to Lincoln will change that.

As the GOP assumes its majority, expect much more of this hubris. The true colors of Lott and company are starting to emerge, with their illusion of a "mandate", and the party will expose its true self (no "compassionate conservatism" bullshit) to the public. Death by a thousand papercuts.

But not everyone is outraged by Lott's statement:

In 1998 and 1999, Lott was criticized after disclosures that he had been a speaker at meetings of the Council of Conservative Citizens, an organization formed to succeed the segregationist white Citizens' Councils of the 1960s. In a 1992 speech in Greenwood, Miss., Lott told CCC members: "The people in this room stand for the right principles and the right philosophy. Let's take it in the right direction, and our children will be the beneficiaries."

Asked to comment on Lott's remarks at the Thurmond celebration, Gordon Baum, CEO of the Council of Conservative Citizens, said "God bless Trent Lott."

So there you have it -- Lott has been enthusastically endorsed by one of the nation's top white power segregationist organization.

So will the Washington Post be the only news outlet to report this? If there's an issue for the "liberal media" to pounce on, this is it.

Too bad the liberal media is long-dead.

Now had Pelosi endorsed Marx...

(Thanks to jgoodspe and James in the comment boards for finding this WPost story. I wasn't going to blog until tonight, but some things demand immediate attention...)

Update: Atrios has been all over this story since yesterday, and has lots of good stuff. Lots more than my crude outrage. This is particularly amazing:

From the Dixiecrat Platform, regarding their opposition to the repeal of the poll tax:

The negro is a native of tropical climate where fruits and nuts are plentiful and where clothing is not required for protection against the weather ... The essentials of society in the jungle are few and do not include the production, transportation and marketing of goods. [Thus] his racial constitution has been fashioned to exclude any idea of voluntary cooperation on his part.
Josh Marshall notes that on Inside Politics, the John Kerry haircut story made the cut, but guest Trent Lott was not asked about his newly announced racism:
In any case, on Friday CNN's Jonathan Karl sat down with Lott for a brief interview which ran on Friday afternoon's Inside Politics. The questions? What Lott thinks about the firings of O'Neill and Lindsey; whether being Majority Leader made him happy and/or stressed; and whether or not he's going to gloat about the November election wins.

No question about whether having the majority back would up his budget for hair shellac. But more importantly, no question about the segregation comments.

On Inside Politics the John Kerry hair story made the cut, not the Trent Lott segregation story.

So long as the "liberal media" has its priorities straight...

Posted December 07, 2002 09:52 AM | Comments (118)


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