December 14, 2002
A Lott of ApologizingGoing through one of the stranger rituals of American politics, Lott is going down for his second helping of crow for his unfortunate statement that the cause that defined Strom Thurmond's rise to political power -- support for segregation -- would have been better for the nation than the civil rights laws that outlawed it. (See CNN.)
Part of what makes all this so laughable is that Bush and his right wing buddies couldn't care less if Trent Lott is a segregationist, which is a racist by definition. It is only a play in a political game to them. Of course Lott is a racist and so are Bush and his crowd. Lott has expressed his bigotry plenty of times, this statement is not at all out of character with all his political statements and positions. Why should he have supposed there was any reason not to express his sympathy with the Confederate cause at a birthday party for the Confederacy's favorite living, or nearly living, son? It must all seem rather arbitrary to him. The comment was quoted, it took fire in the national media and suddenly his kingship is threatened. Just as his party ascends to near abslolute power, the sweetness of the victory is snatched from his grasp.
Last time it was thwarted by Republican turncoat Jim Jeffords. This time Bush himself has turned on him. God he must be pissed! But he has to go on television and do his contrite act. He apologized already, but it wasn't enough so he had to go back out and this time even use the word "contrite" to make clear that he was really saying uncle this time. He was bending over as far as necessary.
But it may have gone too far this time. The image of Lott the proclaimed racist could pulled out by the Democrats to defeat anything the Repubs try to put through, and that could really spoil the party. The Party has a hefty agenda to pass and a totalitarian state to assemble, and not even such a devoted party man as Lott can be allowed to stand in the way.
See John Kerry's statement urging Lott to step down.