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"Write out of love, write out of instinct, write out of reason. But always for money."
Louis Untermeyer


The Occasional Muse
My humble opinion on current events

December 16,  2002

Lott Won't Leave, so Kick Him Out

We've learned what matters to Trent Lott. It's not his party, his country, or his constituents. Nope, that all pales in comparison to power. He must maintain it, and God help anyone who threatens it.

Is this unduly harsh? I don't think so. As I stated a few days ago, Lott has seriously damaged Republicans in particular and conservatives in general. He has offered new ammunition to those who fire false and slanderous accusations of racism at the Right. Nothing he can do, no amount of groveling or apologizing or "reaching out" can change that. To many people, not just the Left, the Republican party is once again the home of Bull Connor and the Klan. Legitimate conservative positions on affirmative action, racial quotas, and other race-related issues that Lott has supported are now offered as proof of his supposed racism. Democrat Vic Fazio was asked on Crossfire last week if he thought Lott were a racist, and Fazio said he had no idea, but segregation and discrimination were in Lott's blood and he grew up with these ideas entrenched in his nature. Translation: Lott's a racist because he's a Republican who grew up in the South.

If Lott remains as Majority Leader, Democrats will tar the whole party as racist segregationists. Any bill that President Dubya or any other Republican supports or proposes will immediately be the "Trent Lott" bill. Social Security reform? "The Trent Lott bill to starve old black people." Tax cuts? "The Trent Lott scheme to take money from blacks and give it to his rich white friends." I could go on and on. 

Fortunately, Senate Republicans are beginning to realize this. Senator Don Nickles, the current number two man in the Senate, has called for a meeting to vote on a new majority leader, which will take place January 6th. It's widely believed that Nickles has his own eye on Lott's job, so this could be a bit of cynical politics. In fact, it could even be a blatant power grab and ruthless attack on a weakened opponent, but I don't care what the motives are. Lott has to go.

Lott is ready to fight before that happens. He's reportedly instructed his staff to research Nickles' voting record for any hint of racism. Isn't that delicious? Senator Segregation going after someone else for racial insensitivity. Talk about cynicism and chutzpah. Other Republicans have also been mentioned as possible players. It's hard to imagine Lott having any support at all when January 6th rolls around. He's probably toast.

But he won't go away quietly. Lott has reportedly threatened to resign from the Senate if he's deposed, thus allowing Mississippi's Democrat governor to appoint Lott's replacement. This would throw the Senate into a 50-50 tie, thus unleashing mayhem and chaos. Lott could be bluffing, or he may even do it in a fit of pique. I say let him - it would help Republicans, because they can say, once again, that they chose moral principles over power, something Democrats rarely do. However, David Frum reported on National Review Online that the Bush White House made Lott promise not to resign if he's voted out, so who knows what could happen.

Either way, Republicans should kick Lott out because it's the right thing to do. Conservatives often condemned Clinton for lacking moral authority to govern. Lott has also lost his moral authority and threatens to do the same to his party. Don't let him do it.

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