Saturday, December 7, 2002

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Trent Lott acting like a jackass -- again

There is simply no excuse for Trent Lott's statement at Strom Thurmond's birthday lunch. According to today's Washington Post:

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.”

Click over to Tim Noah to get a glimpse at Thurmond's precise beliefs as a 1948 "Dixiecrat" presidential candidate.

As the Post story indicates, this is not the first time Lott has shot his mouth off on this subject.

If Senate Republicans allow him to stay on as Majority Leader, they will deserve whatever political misfortunes befall them as a result. It’s up to voters in Mississippi to decide whether they want Lott to continue to represent them in Washington. However, the Majority Leader position is a national one, and Senate Republicans need to think long and hard – oh hell, what am I saying, this takes ten seconds – about whether they want this man to be the visible face of Republican authority.

Beyond the moral reprehensibility of the comments, it’s also clear that Lott’s lack of political acumen is growing, not shrinking. That he made this comment in front of a C-SPAN camera is idiotic. His press spokesman’s statement – “Senator Lott's remarks were intended to pay tribute to a remarkable man who led a remarkable life. To read anything more into these comments is wrong.” – is delusional. This wasn’t something stripped of its context or twisted beyond its original meaning. This was just wrong, and Lott seems to be exerting no effort to make it right.

Senator, I say this as a Republican -- do all of us a favor and get off the national stage.

For other takes on this, see InstaPundit, Joshua Micah Marshall, Matthew Yglesias, Josh Chafetz, Virginia Postrel, Mark A.R. Kleiman, and Chris Lawrence.

posted by Dan on 12.07.02 at 02:31 PM