Monday, 26 November 2007

Trentless in Tillatoba

The Strom Thurmond fan club in the Senate is losing its most prominent member; according to media reports, Mississippi Sen. Trent Lott is resigning from office to pursue other interests. Presumably he won’t be replacing Ed Orgeron as head coach of the Ole Miss Rebels, so I have no clue what those interests might be.

Lott, always considerate of others, apparently decided not to wait out the next five weeks just to shaft Mississippi taxpayers with the cost of a special election to replace him—if he waited until January 1, an interim appointee could serve until November 2008, but otherwise the election must be held within the next 90 days (or possibly the next 100 days, the code isn’t entirely clear), according to the state election code. Hopefully Gov. Haley Barbour will be able to schedule the election to correspond with the presidential/congressional primary already scheduled for March 11th and save some money, but if Lott resigns effective today that may not be possible.

Wednesday, 15 November 2006

More Trent, Less Fulfilling

Favorite Signifying Nothing whipping boy Trent Lott has gotten a second opportunity to demonstrate the validity of the Peter Principle thanks to the 25 clueless senators who elected him Senate minority whip for the 110th Congress, selecting him over Lamar! Alexander. Senate leadership positions on either side of the aisle aren’t exactly hotbeds of political power (thanks largely to the fundamental institutional feature of the Senate—the filibuster—that distinguishes it from the House), so the substantive effect of Lott being in the formal leadership will be approximately zero, but in terms of symbolism I can’t say I can conceive of a choice from the 49-member caucus that is worse than Lott. I mean, that would be like the Democrats appointing a former segregationist as president pro tempore of the Senate or something.

The small bit of silver lining: the Porkbusters weenies are restless. Heh.

Thursday, 14 October 2004

White-collar Klan back in the news

According to the Clarion-Ledger, a new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center indicates Mississippi Supreme Court justice Kay Cobb and U.S. Rep. Roger Wicker spoke at a Council of Conservative Citizens event in Byhalia, Miss. (a small town southeast of Memphis) four years ago, and that a sitting Republican member of the state legislature, Tommy Woods, is a member of the organization. (Woods is apparently something of a “joiner”; he’s also a Mason, Shriner, and a Gideon.)

The so-called “white-collar Klan” and its sponsorship of the quadrennial “Blackhawk” political rally was an issue in last year’s governor’s race, and Sen. Trent Lott’s links with the group added to the firestorm after his appearance at Strom Thurmond’s birthday celebration in 2002.

Friday, 17 January 2003

Fisking the defenders of the Southern Strategy

Jacob T. Levy, commenting on a National Review piece by John O'Sullivan, thinks Trent Lott is hardly the racial moderate his defenders make him out to be (presumably in the “party to busy to hate” mold). Jacob's right. There's nothing in the Southern Strategy playbook about “persuad[ing] a resentful region to accept a steady movement toward racial equality,” as O'Sullivan claims; it's all about persuading a resentful region that you're equally resentful and you'll do your best to prevent those damned liberal Yankees and uppity blacks from using the power of the federal government to enforce the 14th Amendment and promote racial equality.

Friday, 3 January 2003

It was either a gold watch or a meaningless title...

Trent Lott's new “leadership position”: chairmanship of the Senate Rules Committee. (Officially, it is the Committee on Rules and Administration.) As PejmanPundit puts it, “The post is utterly meaningless, for all practical purposes.”

Not only is the post meaningless — one could argue that the job is pointless. While the Senate does have rules, they are nowhere near as elaborately developed as those of the House (for much more on this, see Barbara Sinclair's excellent and accessible Unorthodox Lawmaking). The Senate largely chugs along on unanimous consent agreements (UCAs), which are negotiated between the majority and minority leaders; UCAs function much like House rules, but they break down when someone wants to place a “hold” or carry out a filibuster (the House abolished the filibuster in the 19th century, and over time developed in such a way that for anything of consequence to be considered on the floor it requires a rule).

Coupled with the fact Senate committees are weaker than House committees anyway (again because of the absence of per-bill rules in the Senate — anyone can offer any amendment on the Senate floor), chairing the Senate Rules Committee is a massive white elephant position, devoted to minutae such as deciding committee jurisdictions, determining the elegibility of senators, and overseeing the Architect of the Capitol. In sum, running for governor has probably gotten a lot more tempting in the past day or two.

Thursday, 2 January 2003

Governor Trent Lott?

Clarion-Ledger political columnist Bill Minor says it's 50–50 that Trent Lott will run for governor of Mississippi in 2003.


Tuesday, 31 December 2002

LottWatch Day, uh, who's counting anymore?

When you've just been fired from your job as Mr. GOP, what do you do? Well, if you're Trent Lott, you come to a rally in your hometown with 3,000 of your closest, mostly white friends (I'm experiencing ugly déjà vu of Bill Clinton's Rose Garden “I've Been Impeached” Party in 1998), where seldom is heard a discouraging word. For example, try these paragraphs on for size, courtesy of Clarion-Ledger reporter Jerry Mitchell:

Through this ordeal, Lott said, he's found opportunity. "There are some things I can do out there now that maybe I couldn't do before," he said.

While he failed to specify what he meant, he did talk about making improvements in education, national defense and homeland security.

Hasn't that been the problem all along — failing to specify what he meant?

Mitchell seems to go out of his way to talk to all “several dozen” blacks in attendence, generating quotes from at least two, possibly three of them (unfortunately for this dissection of the event, the AP Stylebook now frowns on referring to quoted parties by race, so you have to read between the lines).

"They should not vote for anybody to have a special day," whether King, Lincoln or Washington, [Huey Pierce, of Bogalusa, La.,] said. "We should have a Presidents Day or a Heroes Day, just like we have a Veterans Day. It's not any one individual."

I fully agree; henceforth, nearby Jefferson Davis County will be renamed Traitors County, to not honor any one individual.

Lynn Rouse, former chairman of the Jackson County Republican Party, blamed Lott's fall on a national media frenzy.

If claims of Lott supporting segregation were true, he said, wouldn't there be evidence of such segregation in Jackson County?

Why, Lynn, I'm glad you asked. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Gini Index of African-American residential segregation for the Biloxi-Gulfport-Pascagoula MSA was 0.659 (on a scale where 1=segregated and 0=desegregated). While certainly lower than that of Chicago (0.922) or Detroit (0.940), or even Jackson (0.769), it is hardly the least segregated community in the country, being eclipsed by such paragons of equality as Topeka (0.608, site of Brown v. Board of Education), Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill (0.600), and Charleston, S.C. (0.577), among others. Other indices suggest that the Gulf Coast region is as segregated as communities of similar size in the South; there is clear and ample evidence that Jackson County is, in fact, still segregated by any plausible definition of the term. Not to mention the rally itself, which seems to have been, charitably, around 95–98 percent white.

Of course, Lynn is probably referring to de jure segregation; however, since that pesky Brown v. Board of Education decision found that to be inconsistent with the 14th Amendment, you won't find de jure segregation anywhere in the United States (with the usual caveats for all the state-sponsored resegregation that seems to be in vogue these days, largely in secondary and tertiary education).

Meanwhile, adjacent Harrison County still has a problem with another legacy of the Confederacy, in which a sizable minority (42%) of locals voted to remove a public display of the Confederate Battle Flag.

It's safe to say, though, that the Gulf Coast's favorite son seems to reflect the views of his neighbors — or at least, his white ones.

Saturday, 21 December 2002

LottWatch Day 15: Retiring the Lottroversy

As Trent Lott's days as majority leader draw to a close, Memphis Commercial Appeal Jackson correspondent Reed Branson looks at the potential reprecussions of his demotion on his home state; it's likely to be a boon for GOP candidates in Mississippi's 2003 elections.

On a practical level, perhaps the immediate effects will be in the realm of transportation: plans for a third Mississippi River crossing near Memphis and Interstate 69 that might have originally favored Mississippi will probably now favor Tennessee, assuming Bill Frist secures the majority leader slot. However, senior senator Thad Cochran is still slated to head the Agriculture Committee and Rep. Roger Wicker (R-Tupelo) has increased his seniority in the House Appropriations Committee, so the long-term prospects for Mississippi are somewhat less diminished than one might think, particularly if Lott receives a “soft landing” in a favorable Senate committee like Appropriations or Transportation.

Friday, 20 December 2002

LottWatch Day 14: Dénouement

Due to the downtime, let me be the last to say good riddance to Trent Lott as majority leader. However, if you think this story is over, it isn't:

  • The media will attempt to portray most Republican legislators as racist due to low NAACP voting scores, even though the scores include numerous votes that are, at best, tangentially related to civil rights.

  • Democrats are attempting to tar Bill Frist with allegations that he was nebulously involved in an effort to suppress black turnout in Louisiana.

  • Some civil rights groups are seeing this as an opportunity to advance their agenda; how much will the GOP cave? Or will they make a principled argument against the traditionalist civil rights pantheon?

  • If the censure measure against Trent Lott proceeds regardless, expect a concerted effort to add the names of current and past national figures to the list, probably starting from George Washington through Woodrow Wilson up to Cynthia McKinney.

Some people with particularly interesting thoughts: Daniel Drezner, Virginia Postrel, Glenn Reynolds, and Radley Balko (on Arlen “Often-Wrong” Specter).

Tacitus also has some thoughts on distancing the GOP from the neo-Confederates; if they did that, I might actually be inclined to start voting Republican.

LottWatch Day 14: Ok, now he's toast

In what has to be the world's most slow-motion political coup (with the possible exception of the current Chávez situation in Venezuela, which may be over by the time I'm a grandfather), the most recent developments are Bill Frist throwing his hat into the ring (sorta, kinda) and the continuing evaporation of public support for Trent Lott among his Senate colleagues. Daniel Drezner predicts the final stroke will be when a Lott ally, probably Mitch McConnell, puts his own hat in the ring; Daniel also reports the results of a poll of Republican National Committee members, in which only 20% of the respondents backed Lott.

He also discusses Ken Layne's post on the role of the White House in the situation; Daniel argues that there's a separation-of-powers issue at work here. As others have noted in recent days, the last time a president overtly forced a leadership change in the Senate, it backfired on both Roosevelt and his majority leader.

Daniel's also picked up my term “Lottroversy”; hopefully we can get that on one of the Sunday shows...

Reason Online writes on the Dixiecrat who made it to the White House. You'll never read Congressional Government the same way again.

Thursday, 19 December 2002

LottWatch Day 13: Trent as Pariah

NRO Online features a “professional Republican operative”'s thoughts on Lott (no word on whether or not this is Karl Rove, the hard left's bogeyman to compare with Sid Blumenthal, on deep background):

If Trent remains, what does the world look like come January 7th? More pointedly, do you envision a time when the President can again appear in the same room with the Senate majority leader? (I can't.) Can you then justify electing a leader who subsequently becomes for the president his party's own Yasser Arafat, with whom he will never meet nor shake hands? Will you put the President in that horrible position? Forget about the passing of a conservative agenda — can the party or the conservative movement themselves hold together and withstand that strain?

I have to say I'd shed few tears for the demise of the current party system, but surely this is an exaggeration — or is it?

Wednesday, 18 December 2002

Memo to the GOP

Fellow Mississippian Conrad, commenting on Shelby Steele's piece in today's Wall Street Journal, who notes Trent Lott's refusal to fully repudiate his role in past racism and segregation:

To review the evidence, Lott has consorted with racists, spoken to and praised racist organizations, written in racist publications, voted against nearly every significant piece civil rights legislation to come before him, opposed the integration of his university and fraternity, campaigned for segregationist candidates, publicly wished for the election of a segregationist president, and he comes from a family of bigots. He refused to call segregation and racism inherently evil until he found himself trussed up like a pig, the spit up his ass and the apple in his mouth.

Would those who have written that they do not believe Lott is actually a racist, please explain why not? What crucial piece of evidence is missing? Do we need to catch him on camera calling Colin Powell “boy” or find a black man hanging from a tree limb in his back yard?

This is the man at least a dozen of your senators are on record supporting. Trent Lott will be an issue every day he's still Senate majority leader. For your party's sake, make his days short.

Chafee: Lott must go; Lott: I'm not going (updated)

The other shoe has dropped: Lincoln Chafee, widely regarded as the GOP senator most likely to defect (er, become an “independent” like Democrat-in-all-but-name Jim Jeffords), is calling for Lott to go. Meanwhile, Our Man Trent says he's not going to quit the Senate regardless.

JB Armstrong suggests that Chafee's position helps Lott (in comments); I'm not so sure:

Good news for Lott? I'm not so sure... a lot of Republicans would prefer a 51-48-1 Senate without Lott as the leader to a 50-48-2 Senate with Lott nominally in charge depending on the good graces of Snow, McCain et al. and the continued functioning of Dick Cheney's pacemaker. (If Cheney has to be replaced in a 50-48-2 Senate, needing 51 votes to be replaced, you could end up with a John Adams/Thomas Jefferson situation.)

Plus, Chafee's basically saying "it's me or him." Any other moderate can now join Chafee and say "it's the majority or him." I still see Lott as screwed.

Fred Barnes and Charles Krauthammer, speaking on Fox News (on Special Report with Brit Hume), still think Lott is history.

Tuesday, 17 December 2002

LottWatch Day 12: “Stop” piling on

Coded message or sincere statement? I blockquote, you decide (with Reuters-style scare quotes)!

In an interview last night, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) said Lott can weather the storm if White House aides, conservative commentators and GOP lawmakers quit piling on. "I have a sense there are a lot of senators who could go either way on this matter, ultimately," Specter said.

You heard it here first: If you don't want Trent Lott to step down as Senate majority leader, stop talking about it! Now! Before he has to quit or something! You have your marching orders. Go forth and stop talking about the race-baiter/cretin who is the GOP leader in the Senate. Do it for The Children™; without Sen. Lott's upstanding moral leadership, where would they be?

Another suggestion: a few more nauseating apologies can't hurt Trent's cause.

And, for the love of pete, ignore Glenn Reynolds!

LottWatch Day 11 (Quote of the Day)

Douglas Brinkley, director of the Eisenhower Center at the University of New Orleans, on Trent Lott:

The apologies need to stop. They're starting to make people nauseous.

A close second: Mississippi SCLC executive secretary Stephanie Parker-Weaver:

He's been whistling Dixie for far too long, playing to the bigots and fascists of this state. Well, we say this to you, Trent — it's time to pay the piper. The civil-rights community is the dues collector, and your bill has come due.

LottWatch Day 11 (Morning Edition)

The early perusal of Tuesday's news uncovers Reed Branson, the Memphis Commercial Appeal's Jackson corresponent, writing on the role of reconstructed segregationists in Mid-South politics. Washington reporter James Brosnan adds little to national reports of Lott's appearance on BET and the slo-mo coup against him.

Branson also writes on the less-than-warm reception Mississippi Governor-lite Amy Tuck received upon her recent defection to the GOP.

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.

Who would Musgrove appoint?

If Trent Lott does make good on his supposed threat to quit the Senate if he's forced out, who would Ronnie Musgrove appoint in his place?

The pickings are pretty slim, at least in terms of nationally-recognizable names:

  • Mike Espy, the former congressman from the Delta (and ex-Ag Secretary under Clinton) would be a possibility; however, his past legal troubles might be problematic. But appointing an African-American would be a good way to shoot the bird at Trent Lott and his pals.

  • U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-2nd): Unlike Mike Espy, however, he's a bit of a lightweight. But he's African-American, which means at least he'd probably not defect to the Republicans when he got to the Senate, and the special election for his House seat would probably be won handily by the Democrats.

  • U.S. Rep. Ronnie Shows, who's out of a job come January, might be a sensible choice. He's reasonably popular, but lost a race against fellow incumbent Chip Pickering by a wider-than-expected margin. If I had to say anyone, I'd pick Shows.

  • U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor (D-4th): Taylor is a hardcore conserative Democrat (one of four to vote for Clinton's impeachment); he's probably been courted by the GOP to switch for years, and the chance to do so in the Senate might be tempting. Plus, appointing Taylor would open the House seat up; it's unclear if a Democrat could keep the seat.

  • State attorney general Mike Moore: Best known for his tobacco lawsuit (and subsequent enrichment of college roommate Dickie Scruggs), Moore is believed to have ambitions for higher office, and has won statewide elections in the past as a Democrat. Relatively unlikely to jump ship. Probably #2 behind Shows.

  • Ole Miss Chancellor Robert Khayat: Sort of a dark horse candidate. Probably a Democrat, but nobody's really all that sure. Being a part of a legendary Ole Miss football team (and the Redskins) gives him the benefit of the Jack Kemp factor.

  • Finally, my out-of-left-field suggestion: Morgan Freeman. Believed to be fairly conservative, but still has the “cool factor” of wearing an earring (something none of these other candidates share).

I don't know that any of these names are on the “short list”, or even if it's time for a short list.

It's also possible a deal could be made: Lott promises not to run for governor against Musgrove if Musgrove appoints a Republican in his place. And the perfect Republican for the job: everyone's favorite district court judge, Chip Pickering's dad, none other than the widely-vilified-outside-the-state Charles Pickering. Now that, my friends, would be good politics.

Jonah Goldberg notes that Mississippi Code Section 25-15-855 requires a special election to replace any departing U.S. Senator; a Musgrove appointee would have to face the voters either in early 2003 (if Lott resigns by the end of 2002) or November 2003 (if Lott resigns in January). That strongly indicates in favor of appointing a Democrat who could win a special election from a standing start, again favoring either Shows or Moore (and perhaps favoring Moore to a greater extent; Shows isn't as well-known state-wide).

Ed Gordon 1, Trent Lott 0

BET Tonight host Ed Gordon asked most of the tough questions, but I'm not all that sure he got straight answers out of Trent Lott. It seems to me he's still in that hard place: not contrite or sincere enough for the national audience, but still making comments distancing himself from the Council of Conservative Citizens that are going to earn him more rebukes from his erstwhile friends back home. (I'm sure my boss, Robert Khayat, enjoyed getting dragged into the discussion, too.)

Now he's being savaged by Rep. Gregory Meeks from the Congressional Black Caucus.

And by Robert George and Julianne Malveaux. (I'm behind live TV on TiVo.)

Incidentally, Trent only addressed one of the six points that he didn't address last time (repudiating the Council of Conservative Citizens), and he only did that by generally saying he'd review his other associations.

Glenn Reynolds points us to Phil Bowermaster's full list of Trent Lott supporters. Now compare it to Funditry's list of, um, shall we say, “non-fans”. Sucks to be you, Trent!

One problem a Thurmond presidency might have avoided

From the bizarre juxtaposition department: It's 6:58 p.m. Central, and Trent Lott is following an Eminem rap video (with an Elvis impersonator) on BET. I think it's safe to say any white guy adopting African-American culture in 1948 would have had a late-night visit from the white sheet brigade.

Maybe Trent had this in mind...

James Haney writes (via Virginia Postrel):

WHY MY MOM THINKS AMERICA WOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER WITH STROM THURMOND AS PRESIDENT: He would have been a disaster as President and would have thoroughly discredited the segregationist cause. He would have been a one-termer, and the very first thing his successor would have done would be to sign the Civil Rights Act of 1953 (as opposed to 1964).

I wonder what would have happened if Trent Lott had made this argument.

That would be the most politically astute thing Lott had ever said, so I doubt anyone would have bought it.

James' take on Ari Fleischer today is also worth a read.

LottWatch Day 10 Roundup (updated)

Not a lot of real news today; the Clarion-Ledger editorializes on the Pickering nomination, noting:

Last March, the then-Democratic-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee split along party lines 10-9 in rejecting Pickering's nomination, unfairly painting Pickering as part and product of Mississippi's troubled racial past.

The hearing was a hatchet job, reviving old Mississippi stereotypes that had nothing to do with the competent, fair, veteran jurist that is Pickering or his qualifications. The race issue was just a cover to kill the nomination.

Slandering Mississippi is easy when you have the world's most famous living Mississippian (with the possible exceptions of Morgan Freeman and Faith Hill) making a complete ass of himself.

Meanwhile, the unofficial capital of the Delta weighs in, in the person of Washington correspondent James W. Brosnan:

Lott has been a dutiful public servant and an artful leader in the House and Senate. Some conservatives here don't like him because he has pragmatically cut deals with Democrats when necessary. After Sept. 11, 2001, Lott's maneuvering led to the federalizing of airport screening and the creation of the Homeland Security Department.

But Lott also has gotten away with wearing two faces, one for the press, politicians and the public, and one for the few remaining bigots in Mississippi.

People should not have to carry the baggage of the beliefs they held in college for their entire lives, but the choices we make do matter.

Brosnan also contrasts the political careers of incoming Tennessee senator Lamar Alexander and Our Man Trent.

Finally, you have to wonder what planet Mississippi black Republican Clinton LeSueur is from:

What's happening to Senate Republican leader Trent Lott is one more example of how the Democratic Party has used black people. Every time Democrats become desperate, they incite African-Americans, and we in the black community foolishly rush to their aid.

That doesn't really explain all those white people both inside and outside the state who found Lott's remarks equally objectionable, but why let the facts get in the way of a good paranoid rant...

The AP and CNN are reporting that the GOP caucus in the Senate will meet in January to discuss the leadership situation.

Sunday, 15 December 2002


Nickles calls for new leadership vote. Notable quote:

Senior White House officials say Bush will not defend Lott from a challenge.

Meanwhile, the Clarion-Ledger provides empirical evidence of the Mississippi Persecution Complex.

The Professor draws some interesting parallels between Lott and Michael Bellesiles, the ex-Emory historian who apparently falsified data when writing Arming America.

LottWatch Day 9

A few articles you should read, in lieu of me thinking at 3 a.m.:

Joe Atkins, a University of Mississippi journalism professor, writes in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about Lott's “complex” history.

David M. Halbfinger in the New York Times chronicles Lott's history as a segregationist.

The Washington Post on race and Republicans in the South and reaction from Pascagoula to Lott's remarks. A particular quote of interest, from the latter article:

A few whites interviewed here acknowledged that racism is still rampant — though more subtle — in the Gulf Coast region and elsewhere in Mississippi. But the whites who said so had moved here from elsewhere.

My take on where this is going: W is giving Our Man Trent through the BET appearance on Monday. If, as seems likely, BET is as thorough a disaster as his Friday speech, W will call Bill Frist and tell him to take Lott off life support; if not, Lott probably stays until he can “step down to pursue other interests”: most likely, a 2003 run for Mississippi governor, which he'd win easily due to the martyr factor.

On a more humorous note: Dan Polsby (quoted by Eugene Volokh) suggests that Federalist 10 was written with Trent Lott in mind. I knew there was a reason I liked Madison...

Hopefully I'll have time to write my thoughts on how Britain should reform/replace the House of Lords later today.

Mea Sorta Culpa

As I'm sure you know by now, Trent Lott made yet another attempt at an apology on Friday. Glenn Reynolds' reaction — “Pathetic” — pretty much mirrors mine; the word I used when I turned to my mother while we were watching it on CNN, partway through the Q&A, was “trainwreck”. Or as Bill Schneider put it, “he just doesn't get it”. Karl Rove probably shot out a few TVs Elvis-style in disgust.

Maybe the apology was adequate for the home folks (who basically didn't think he did anything wrong in the first place) and the old grandees of the Senate (who've probably said worse in the privacy of their offices, if not on C-SPAN). I probably wouldn't have focused so much on the pork I'd brought to Mississippi or enumerating all six of my black friends if I were in his shoes, but maybe that's just me.

Let's review what he didn't do:

  • He failed to apologize for:

    • His past express advocacy of segregation.

    • Saying Strom Thurmond should have been elected president in 1948.

    • Supporting Bob Jones University's racist policies.

    • Embarrassing the state of Mississippi and its citizens.

  • He failed to distance himself at all from the Council of Conservative Citizens and other racist groups in the state.

  • He continues to allege that bringing Nissan to the state will primarily benefit African Americans. While the town of Canton, the home of the Nissan plant Lott helped attract to the state, is predominantly black, the county it is located in is 60.3% white, and workers will be drawn from a multi-county area with similar demographics. And, as I noted in an email to Virginia Postrel, assembling the land needed (and unneeded but nice to sell later for a mark-up) for the plant was done by seizing the land of black landowners through eminent domain — hardly something Lott should be proud of.

While Apology 4.0 may have been sufficient to keep his job for now (barring additional disclosures — as I noted earlier, the man is a walking PR problem), it simply fails to measure up by any reasonable standard. Ditch the guy. Now. Before he sells out the GOP to save his skin.

At least Lott's friends at the Council of Conservative Citizens are sticking up for him.

I disagree with Philippe DeCroy somewhat; part of the point about Lott is that he is a racist, or at the very least appeals directly and explicitly to racists. The Republicans' fundamental problem with Lott is that he's not very good at covering his tracks. Mississippi's fundamental problem is that nobody in the white establishment seems to care.