Skip to comments.Nickles Calls for New GOP Leadership Elections
Posted on 12/15/2002 9:00:54 AM PST by PeaceBeWithYou
Sen. Don Nickles (Okla.), the second-ranking Senate Republican, this morning said Republicans should consider ousting Sen. Trent Lott as their party leader.
Nickles-who considered challenging Lott for his leadership job well before the Mississippian made his racially divisive comments-said in a television interview this morning, "Trent has been weakened to the point that may jeopardize his ability to enact our agenda and speak to all Americans."
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
That little jerk has mastered the art of demonization. If the Repubs are going to be successful in the least bit, they are going to have to find a strong leader capable of dealing with that Daschle.
Lott is not that man. He is a waffler/ politician. Furthermore, this nonsense that he will bolt the Senate if he is forced to quit or is replaced is embarrassing. He should be ashamed. He is going to hold the goernance of the country hostage because he's an idiot? If nothing convinced me before, I certainly am convinced now. He's out!
You are going to need a man/ woman that looks Daschle in the eye and says "we are going to set the agenda and we are going to pass the agenda. We can do it with you, around you or through you. If you continue to obstruct and demonize, I will make your political life a misery. Also, if you think that your party got whipped in 2002, wait for 2004. I will make it my life's work to smash your party and your political career. I hope that I have made myself clear."
Then go out and do it.
GOP Senator Calls for Referendum on Lott
By WILL LESTER Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Senate's No. 2 Republican leader broke ranks with GOP colleagues and called Sunday for a new election for majority leader, saying Sen. Trent Lott may be so weakened that his continued service in that job could jeopardize the party's legislative agenda.
The comments by Sen. Don Nickles of Oklahoma were the first sign of rebellion among Republican senators. They have watched closely to see whether Lott's repeated apologies would defuse the controversy that has raged since his racially charged comments at a birthday party for South Carolina Sen. Strom Thurmond.
Nickles, Lott's deputy for six years as the GOP whip, urged other Republican senators to consider picking a new leader because of the controversy.
Nickles, who had kept silent on Lott's remarks that conveyed nostalgia for the policies of racial segregation, said he accepts Lott's multiple apologies over the last week.
"I am concerned that Senator Lott has been weakened to the point that may jeopardize his ability to enact our agenda and speak to all Americans," Nickles said in a statement. "There are several outstanding senators who are more than capable of effective leadership, and I hope we have an opportunity to choose."
In an ABC interview, he added: "Can he be effective? Can he campaign in places like Chicago? I don't want to squander our ability to get things done. We only have a short window this year."
Nickles' spokesman, Brook Simmons, said the senator informed the White House of his plans on Saturday night, and told Lott in a telephone call on Sunday. A leading Republican with ties to the White House said the administration knew Nickles was privately feeling out colleagues on a possible run for the top job.
Lott's Mississippi spokesman, Lee Youngblood, referred all questions to Lott's Washington staff, who were not immediately available Sunday.
Sen. John Warner, R-Va., defended Lott as "a fine leader" but said the issue must be decided by the 51 Republican senators.
"It is our responsibility as a group to come together, make a decision and then go forward - not to let this thing be dangling out there day after day," he said on CNN's "Late Edition" "I don't think it's fair to the party."
He added, "We're going to be judged by how we handle this."
Under Senate GOP rules, a meeting of the rank and file must be called if five senators request it. Simmons said Nickles had not yet asked other senators to support his call for a meeting to consider Lott's fate.
Nickles has served the maximum six years as No. 2 Senate GOP leader and is in line to be the Budget Committee chairman in the new Congress that convenes in January.
Nickles' successor as whip, Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Lott has apologized several times and should be allowed to serve the term to which GOP senators voted him after the party's gain in midterm elections in November.
"Senator Lott knows that he's weakened," McConnell said on ABC's "This Week." "He knows he made a bad mistake. But he's apologized, as I said, on four different occasions. I think we ought to accept the apology and move on."
McConnell added: "I don't think there are five senators right now who believe that Senator Lott's apology should not be accepted. ... I think he enjoys the confidence of our conference to continue to lead us into the new session."
Lott, R-Miss., triggered an uproar this month when he made comments at a 100th birthday party for the retiring Thurmond.
Under pressure from Democrats and Republicans alike, Lott has offered a series of increasingly expansive apologies for his remarks.
McConnell acknowledged he's concerned about the effects on Republican efforts to expand their appeal among minorities and their agenda on civil rights.
"We're all concerned about it. And Senator Lott is concerned about it," McConnell said. "And he is working very hard to regain the confidence of the African-American community."
In October, Nickles had told Lott he would not challenge the Lott for the job in the next Congress, apparently after realizing he would probably lack the votes to topple Lott.
There long have been rumblings that Nickles, spearheading some of the more conservative Republican senators, might someday mount a challenge to Lott. Lawmakers have described the two men as having a cool relationship, and Lott has sometimes been seen by conservatives as too willing to cut deals with Democrats.
I earlier predicted Lott would step down as ML within the week -- that seems to be on track. The White House has made it's decision and Nichols has broken the ice.
Now for a further predicton: Mitch McConnell will be the new ML. His hardball statements on THIS WEEK (in re the censure move) will win him support of Lott loyalists while not alienating Lott's republican critics (who want Lott gone, not because of his comments per se, but because he's hurting the party). Nichols, by being the first to call for Lott's ouster, has effectively taken himself out of the Majority Leaders race -- and he knows it.
Look at it this way: if the terrorists bring down the Sears Tower, Lott will vanish from the radar screen.
Maybe they're holding off until the media settles back into complacency. If Lott steps down, kaboom!
So maybe the President and his advisors are secretly asking Trent to stay up there and keep taking arrows for as long as he can.
Hey, I have an active imagination.
I've been wondering about this since impeachment.