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December 08, 2002

JACOB T. LEVY: "It's always been unclear at best whether Trent Lott had fully come to terms with the results of the Civil War and the Civil Rights movement. Turns out that the answer is: no. This is vile. Get rid of him."

I wonder if any GOP Senators will be upset enough to bolt the party over this. Naw, that couldn't happen. Could it?

Megan McArdle, meanwhile, wonders if Lott's getting a bum rap:

I think it's possible that he didn't mean it the way it sounded; I think we've all had the experience of saying something accidentally that appeared to have an unequivocal horrifying meaning which was not at all what we had meant to say. It's entirely possible that he wasn't thinking of civil rights, but of the growth of government or some other "might have been".

I wondered that too, initially. But if so, I think he would have, you know, said so. Instead, all we got was this:

Spokesman Ron Bonjean issued a two-sentence 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."

Bonjean declined to explain what Lott meant when he said the country would not have had "all these problems" if the rest of the nation had followed Mississippi's lead and elected Thurmond in 1948.

Not exactly a ringing denial, or even a convincing explanation, is it? And, as Megan goes on to add:

But it doesn't really matter, does it? In politics we go by what they say, not what they wanted to say.

I can't believe how little play this is getting in the media. I think if the Republicans are smart, they'll engineer a quiet resignation to head this one off at the pass.

Tom Maguire wondered the same thing, initially, and even sent me an email suggesting that I was jumping the gun on Lott. But now he's down on Lott, too:

Well, I don't know if I have ever said a good word about Trent Lott. I once noted that he has very impressive hair, but I recall a note of sarcasm in the comment. Still, for a professional politician, this is incredibly stupid. If T Lott were a sports broadcaster, and I am thinking of Jimmy the Greek as I say this, he would be unemployed.

Now, I seriously doubt that Lott believes that we would be a better country if Thurmond had defeated Truman. Well, I think I seriously believe that. Don't ask me for evidence. If he does believe this, he is, at a minimum, hopelessly delusional. If he was just having fun, he is hopelessly stupid and insensitive. I have been waiting for the day when the Republican Party would deal with some of their lesser lights. Hey, where's Pat Buchanan now? It can be done. Now, I don't suppose we can stop the people of Mississippi from electing him, but he is a miserable choice for Majority Leader, and ought to slink away.

I don't think he will.