Skip to comments.Lott's sin is giving Dems ammo--so he must go
Posted on 12/17/2002 1:43:55 PM PST by Tomalak
C'mon over, baby, a whole shakin' o' Lott goin' on. On the face of it, it seems incredible that a mere month after Bush's election triumph, the Beltway should be immersed in a discussion of where the 2002 Republican Party leadership stands on segregation. For this, we have Trent Lott to thank. The incoming Senate majority leader couldn't even wait till he'd come in to start screwing up. Insofar as he has any conservative defenders, the defense is this: Hey, relax, Trent isn't racist, just stupid.
You're telling me. If he were still majority leader in 2004, the NAACP would be running ads with video of Lott's remarks--we're proud of voting for Strom, and, if everybody else had followed our lead in 1948, ''we wouldn't have had all these problems''--followed by footage of black bodies hanging from trees, gallant Southern gentlemen standing around having a whale of a time, Billie Holiday's ''Strange Fruit'' on the soundtrack, etc: ''Trent Lott says, if we'd kept segregation and lynching, we wouldn't have all the uppity Negroes we have today.''
Now maybe that's not what he meant. He was speaking, after all, at some old coot's 100th birthday party. Most 100th birthday parties take place in nursing homes and, if you drop in, you generally find a lot of people standing around the old boy with inane grins, talking very loudly and very slowly and agreeing with everything he says. Maybe that's all Lott was doing, given the unique circumstances of a guy entering his second century as a sitting senator.
But there were cameras present; there was a microphone. Successful politicians are supposed to have a built-in blocking mechanism in such circumstances: The borderline racist gag about the Filipino poolboy rises in your gullet, is within sight of your tongue, but at the last nanosecond your political radar detector spots the C-SPAN crew and sends it back down deep into your bowels. Wild'n'crazy gonzo pols--like John McCain, who regaled a Washington fund-raiser with a Chelsea Clinton/Janet Reno gag dependent for its effect on implied lesbianism and transsexuality--lack these antennae, and that's why they're not ambassador to China.
If the Republicans are going to make a 51-49 Senate work for them, they'll need discipline. When the man who's supposed to enforce that discipline is so undisciplined himself, he needs to go.
Lott made a bad situation worse in his attempt at damage control. His immediate reaction was that he regretted giving the impression that he supported the ''discarded'' policies of the past--''discarded,'' as if racial segregation is like the gold standard or the 55 mph speed limit, one of those things that comes and goes in and out of fashion. He then said he'd meant that back in 1948 ol' Strom had a lot of other good policies: ''Defense was a big issue. We were coming out of the war'' This is the Mississippi version of ''Mussolini made the trains run on time.'' Even if he did, it doesn't make up for the central defining plank of the platform. And, in any case, don't tell me the Dixiecrats bailed because Harry Truman, the nuker of Japan, wasn't tough enough on defense.
Strom led the walkout from the '48 Democratic Convention because a presidential panel had proposed a federal anti-lynching law and the abolition of poll taxes designed to keep blacks from voting. That's it.
Even if he had the best policies ever on defense or NEA funding or federally mandated bicycling helmets, they're just a little sprig of garnish on the segregationist beef. And, as it happens, in those days Strom was a fairly conventional big-government Democrat. That, after all, is what a ''Dixiecrat'' is: a Southern racist Democrat. The GOP candidate that year was Thomas Dewey, a man who lives on only as a headline. If Trent Lott was eager to refight the 1948 election, that's the fellow he should have been talking up. If small government's the issue that wowed Mississippi, those guys should have voted for Dewey, and the headline would have come true. Instead, floundering through another stage of his apology tour the other night, the senator couldn't even remember the name of the Republican.
That's his gift to the Dems. For the best part of two centuries, the Democrats have been the party of race: In the 19th century, they were for slavery; in the 20th, for segregation; in the 21st, for the neo-segregation of ''affirmative action,'' ''hate crimes'' and all the other paraphernalia of the modish trickle-down apartheid determined to make racial categorization a permanent feature of the American landscape. In fairness to the Dems, this evolution represents a significant century-on-century improvement: There's no reason to believe that one day, come the 24th or 25th century, they won't have reached the position that American citizens should be treated as freeborn individuals, rather than as chorus members of their respective identity-group kicklines. That's what the Republican Party stands for: Condi Rice is an effective, black, female National Security Adviser but she holds that position not because of her blackness or her femaleness but her effectiveness; she's better than the white males who were up for the job.
It's pathetic that Jesse (''Hymietown'') Jackson should be huffing and puffing about Lott's outrageous behavior. It's ridiculous that RNC Chairman Marc Racicot has been bullied into a meeting with Al Sharpton: If Lott is unacceptable as Senate majority leader, the race-baiting Rev should be unacceptable anywhere. But that's why principled conservatives have a right to be furious with the senator.
When the NAACP do their ugly dragging ads about Republicans opposing ''hate crimes'' legislation, they're right to this extent: Most Republicans do oppose ''hate crimes'' legislation, and for very good reasons. And when Al Gore taunts George W. Bush about ''affirmative action,'' it's legitimate to this extent: Most Republicans regard racial quotas as an obnoxious and un-American concept. But, when Democrats start bashing the GOP as the party of segregation, that baggage is theirs.
For a century and a half, race is one issue the Republicans have been right on--or, at the very minimum, less wrong. We've grown used to the Democrats' strange black-is-white world, where Al Gore apparently genuinely believes his father was a civil rights crusader rather than a civil rights obstacle. Segregation is the Democrats' history, and for Trent Lott to give them an excuse to dump it on the GOP doorstep is all the reason Republicans needed to be done with him once and for all.
If Lott were to quit, it would give the Dems even more ammunition. They would have a juicy victory to crow about and it would still not go away.
I say let them rant and rave and ignore them. That will demonstrate just how irrelevant they and their views are. The average American is more interested in Christmas, the economy, and the possible war with Iraq to worry too much about Lott's dumb remarks.
I feel bad for Lott, but he made his bed ... now we just have to make sure we have a solid conservative AND an articulate spokesman for leader.
This is why Lott has to go, We are different than the Democrats. We have principles that we believe in and stand on. Lott's comments undermine our most important message, Republicans are the party of those that believe in the individual, not group, rights. Clear and simple Lott must go.
If I were ambassador to China, I would make it a habit always to refer to Taiwan as "Republic of China," which is it's official name. Then, when a ChiCom argues that that is incorrect, I would say, "Excuse me -- Republic of Taiwan."
I guess I won't be ambassador to China either in the foreseeable future. :->
LOL!....you gotta love that line.
A) The comment was immoral;
B) He humiliated faithful black conservatives trying to make inroads in their community;
C) He's an incompetent leader incapable of understanding that race is the strategic weakness of the GOP, much like national security is the strategic weakness of the DNC.
I know for a fact that he put his foot in his mouth so far down his throat that it is a wonder he can still draw breath.
He knew the leftist media was at that event. Being kind to a 100 year-old distinguished Senator is good.
Supplying the enemy with years worth of rhetorical ammo is foolish beyond belief.
I'm not sure if he should stay or go, but he is too careless to be Majority Leader.
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