Monday, 16 December 2002

Lott: GOP leader or sellout?

The picture of Trent Lott that's emerging this week isn't all that flattering. If I were a Republican — and I'm not, thank goodness — I'd be begging the GOP to get rid of the guy. Why? Well, read this gem:

Lott picked up support yesterday from an unlikely source. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), an African American and leader of the 1960s civil rights movement, said after talking with the senator: "I believe his apology is sincere and I accept his apology. . . . Senator Lott has committed to come back in January and work with Democrats and Republicans to implement an agenda that benefits all Americans of every race, ethnicity, gender and income."

In yesterday's BET interview, Lott said he has been "changed" by his recent experience and will pursue legislation to "make amends." "The important thing is to recognize the hurt than I've caused . . . and actually do something about it," he said.

That's right, boys and girls: it's not just pork for Mississippi any more; everyone's going to get some. Free prescriptions for seniors? Try free prescriptions for everyone. Say “adios” to any pretense of social security reform, even though that would actually help African-Americans more that it would hurt. Free trade: no. Free money from Washington (er, I mean, taxpayers): yes.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

I also like Jim Henley's take: “I've made it pretty clear over the past year that I have little use for the Republican Party. But if Trent Lott hangs on, Republicans won't even have any use for it themselves.” Gene Healy's comments are also worth a read: “I get the distinct feeling he’s going to demonstrate his spiritual growth by lightening my paycheck.”

Daniel Drezner translates parts of the Lott interview into English. Meanwhile, Rand Simberg has a dispatch that hasn't quite hit the wires (although I'd expect to see it in a Chinese newspaper soon).

Radley Balko makes much the same point in his column.