Tuesday, 10 December 2002

Maybe he was just speaking his mind... (updated)

Glenn Reynolds has dug up this gem of an article on Our Man Lott; Doug Thompson saves the best for last:

And some who know Trent Lott say his praise of Thurmond may not have been a slip of the tongue. The Mississippi Republican, they say, may still share some of Thurmond's racist bias.

Shirley Wharburton, a former Senate staffer, says Lott is well known among Republican insiders as a man who enjoys racial slurs.

“I've heard him make disparaging remarks about black athletes and talk about how they are taking over professional sports,” she said. “Strom Thurmond is not the only Senator who uses the ‘n-word’ when he's talking to other white Senators.”

Certainly back in 1994, when I spent a few months in the Hart Senate Office Building opening Connie Mack's mail (among other tasks as a young, impressionable intern), there were more than a few staffers with, shall we say, unreconstructed racial attitudes; however, I can't speak on the behavior of their bosses.

Ari Fleischer's comments today hardly read as a ringing endorsement from the President; however, if Lott wants to make a real apology, he might start from here:

I just think, from the President's point of view, all Americans should take great pride in the fact that we are changed society since 1948; tremendous strides and changes and improvements have been made in the way we treat fellow Americans in the terms of race and equality. And the President looks at the history of our nation as one that — we were a nation that needed to change. The changes that were brought by the civil rights community were healthy, constructive changes that have made us a stronger and a richer and a better society. And I speak for the President.

Making your opponents' argument for them

From today's Clarion-Ledger:

Two former Jefferson County jurors say 60 Minutes owes them more than $6 billion after airing a program that called the county a haven for "jackpot justice."

Nah, Mississippi doesn't need tort reform...

Hit & Run has also picked this one up.

Tacitus on race and the major parties

Tacitus has written a good essay on the role of race in both the Republicans and the Democrats. Choice quote:

Of course some Republicans and some conservatives are racists. From the moment that Barry Goldwater -- a Jew without a racist bone in his body -- decided to stand on principle for the ideal of free association, the racists of the South knew they had a socially acceptable and morally justifiable cover for their loathesome proclivities. And so the "Southern strategy" was born, and so the old Confederacy was won for the Republican Party. (And so, in sick counterpoise, was the Democratic Party made the natural home for the nonwhite racists of America.) Is this a badge of shame -- the original sin of the modern Republican movement?

Black Caucus arrives fashionably late

The Congressional Black Caucus isn't satisfied with Lott's apology. It doesn't sound like they're too happy with Tom Daschle, either:

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-California, said Daschle "moved too quickly to explain Mr. Lott."

"It is not enough to simply defend or to explain these kind of statements, and then at election time talk about why black Americans should turn out in large numbers," she said.

And suddenly it dawns on Waters why it was such a bad idea for the African-American elite to put all their eggs in the Democratic basket...

Jeff Taylor, of Reason's new “Hit & Run” blog, thinks we should expect Concorde service to Daschleland in exchange for the Democrat's tepid support. Meanwhile, Joe Conason is unimpressed with Daschle too.

Lott Apology (sorta-kinda; updated)

Now that the media has actually picked up the story, Lott has apologized:

A poor choice of words conveyed to some the impression that I embraced the discarded policies of the past... Nothing could be further from the truth, and I apologize to anyone who was offended by my statement.

I'm a bit behind on the story, but the Professor and Virginia have good round-ups.

Finally, some Mississippians are on the case: Jackson Clarion-Ledger columnist Eric Stringfellow calls for an apology, while their report is basically a warmed-over version of the AP's. The Memphis Commercial Appeal carries a slightly longer story by James Brosnan that notes Lott has done little to distance himself from the Council of Conservative Citizens and refused to sign on to the campaign for changing the state flag in 2001. And “Ole Miss Conservative” Patrick Carver weighs in, too.