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

Saturday | December 14, 2002

What Lott stands for; "blackmailing" Bush

Everyone should pay a visit to the website of the Council of Conservative Citizens. These are the people whose values Lott applauds. And they have responded forcefully in his defense:

It's not been a good week for freedom of speech or white people in post-American America.  Senator Trent Lott (R-Miss) became the latest evil white  to be persecuted for his original sin of being born white and for having some consciousness of this fact. It seemed that all the knee jerk left wing yahoos  in the country opened their slack jaws to drool that Lott is a racist.  Then, some of the similarly mentally challenged and racially neutered conservative yahoos opened their yaps to say Lott isn't a racist.  But, of course, these conservatives quickly added that they condemn racism and that some of their best friends are black.
There's more. Lots more, but I couldn't stand to read any more of it.

And after you visit that CofCC site, remember once again that Senate Republicans plan on keeping him as their leader.

On that point -- I wrote the following on Thursday:

Say Lott is pushed out. In the past, disgraced leaders (like Livingston) have resigned their seats. Really, the humiliation of getting the heave-ho is better swallowed back home, than sitting amongst those who gave you the boot.

BUT, if Lott resigns his seat, Mississippi's Democratic governor will (theorertically) appoint a Democrat to replace him ... [which] would make the Senate 50-50 once again. And THEN, a Chaffee switch is not inconceivable.


So, it's clear that for Republicans to assure themselves the majority, they could not afford to have Lott resign his seat. But if he was pushed out, could he really go from the number two Republican to essentially a back-bencher? (Indeed, who would even work with him? He'd be radioactive!) The pressure for him to quit the Senate would be intense (from pundits, his own pride, and, perhaps, even feelings of betrayal and spite).

Perhaps that's why Senate Republicans have stood by Lott as strongly as they have. Anything less, and they might be seeing their majority slip through their grasp yet again.

Well, it looks like that's EXACTLY what's keeping Lott around. The Washington Post reports:
Yet, in a sign of the Lott camp's concerns, some allies are quietly suggesting to GOP senators that Lott might resign from the Senate if he is forced out as leader, a move that could jeopardize the party's one-seat majority. Mississippi Gov. Ronnie Musgrove (D) presumably would appoint a Democrat to replace Lott, they note. That would leave the Senate evenly split, enabling Democrats to regain the majority if they could persuade a moderate Republican to switch parties.
Andrew Sullivan cites that same story and says "Rumors are swirling about an alleged threat from Trent Lott to resign from the Senate altogether if Bush pushed him out."

So there you have it. As I wrote yesterday, Lott has shown that he can say whatever he wants and get away with it. The rest of his party fears him and the people he represents. Even President Bush.

Lest anyone forget or get confused, this whole ordeal is up to Senate Republicans to sort. No one else has a say in the matter. They are the ones that elected Lott their leader, and the only ones that can reverse that decision.

The damage has already been done. Now we just have to wait and see whether Republicans will do the right thing because it is the right thing, or whether they will place political expediency above principle.

I'm betting it will be the latter.

Update: Hey, Lott admitted Friday that the GOP was a party of racists. Check it out:

I want the Republican Party not to be hurt by this. I want us to find a way to reach out and build on mistakes that we have in the past, but commit ourselves to the future.
This comes from the transcript of his Friday press conference. Note his use of "us", and "we", and "ourselves". It wasn't, "I screwed up, I don't want my mistake to reflect poorly on my party." He dragged his entire party into the muck with him. Jeez, and still they keep him around?

Posted December 14, 2002 10:28 AM | Comments (119)


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