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Trent Lott shows true colors
December 6, 2002 8:50 PM   Subscribe

What the hell? Republican leader of the Senate, Trent Lott, says that the United States would have been better off if then-segregationist candidate Strom Thurmond had won the presidency in 1948. Wow...I want to hear Fox News, Rush, etc, spin Lott's way out of this. Also, does saying this have anything to do with the election in Louisiana on Saturday?
posted by BarneyFifesBullet (61 comments total)

 
Video clip here, scoll down to Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-SC) 100th Birthday Celebration.

At 32:45 into the clip, Lott makes his remarks. Interesting reaction.
posted by BarneyFifesBullet at 9:20 PM on December 6, 2002


Lott is a supporter of the Council of Conservative Citizens, the successor to the White Citizens' Council, the most powerful anti-civil rights organization in the South in the 1950s. He has also been interviewed by the Southern Partisan magazine, which is dedicated to the proposition that the wrong side won the Civil War.
posted by jonp72 at 9:20 PM on December 6, 2002


I doubt it'll help them in Louisiana. Maybe it might shore up the white supremecist vote for the GOP, but surely any gains would be more than offset by increased turnout by outraged blacks. More likely though, nobody in Louisiana will care one way or the other.

Still, it is somewhat depressing that the Senate Majority Leader can still say stuff like that and get away with it. It's certainly telling about his beliefs regarding civil rights and integration. You always want to believe that these white southern politicians have put the old racist southern ideology behind them, but I suppose they've probably just been trained not to say certain things in public. One can only hope that the next generation of Southern politicians will be a bit more enlightened.
posted by boltman at 9:23 PM on December 6, 2002


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."

One really doesn't have to read too much into Mr. Lott's comments, does one? They were pretty straight forward, I think. But, as jonp points out, the fact that the Majority Leader is two ticks to the right of Hank Williams, Jr. is not exactly fresh news, yet those associations have not hampered Mr. Lott's Senatorial career in the slightest.

Some on the left argue that there has been a distinct shift in the political spectrum such that what was once considered slightly left of center is now considered radical, and what once was considered far right is now moderate. While I am not sure I completely agree with that account, I suspect Mr. Lott has certainly given the argument credence and leverage.
posted by samuelad at 9:51 PM on December 6, 2002


This is a official Democratic Party sample ballot from 1948 that Strom was on. Very interesting, to say the least.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 10:10 PM on December 6, 2002


Lott is really letting his pettiness show. He's also blocking the appointment of Warren Rudman to the commision investigating 9/11, even though the coalition of victims' families requested Rudman as their choice for one of the Republican slots on the commission.
posted by homunculus at 10:25 PM on December 6, 2002


S@L, that ballot is indeed disturbing, but Lott was reminiscing about that particular election this Thursday (a few decades after the rest of the nation decided that segregation was morally untenable).
posted by eddydamascene at 10:50 PM on December 6, 2002


Sadly enough, I get the feeling that if I made a list of top ten fuckwits of 2002, Lott wouldn't even make the top three.

This, however, in no way means that Lott is not a fuckwit.
posted by Ufez Jones at 10:51 PM on December 6, 2002


Lott should be embarrassed to be associated with the CCC -- look at that awful website. Oh, and the neosegregationism thing.

Really, you can feel Kristol's cringe right across the internet. Lott has built up such a collegial reputation in the Senate during his tenure as Republican leader, it's really disappointing. One would hope this might cost him that job, but I doubt it will.

As for Louisiana, I actually don't think so. The key issues there seem to be things like Landrieu's pro-choice views, though I'm sure on the ground there are other things going on.
posted by dhartung at 11:05 PM on December 6, 2002


Trent's Lot is Caste.
posted by Opus Dark at 11:20 PM on December 6, 2002


The next joke, after making the comment:

"[speaking about bob dole] Bob showed up at the senate spouses club, and in fact he said he said he was thinking of running for president again, president of the senate spouses club. He thought he could beat bill clinton this time."

LOL. Of course it's probably an old joke...
posted by delmoi at 11:48 PM on December 6, 2002


Sadly enough, I get the feeling that if I made a list of top ten fuckwits of 2002, Lott wouldn't even make the top three.

This, however, in no way means that Lott is not a fuckwit.


Whew! MeFi brilliance...

Original, funny, and intellectual...with excellent evidence. Bravo!
posted by BlueTrain at 12:19 AM on December 7, 2002


Ooh, it makes me wonder...
posted by y2karl at 12:55 AM on December 7, 2002


wow. lott = asshole. i'm really flabbergasted. i guess there's a whole generation of these shitheads we're just gonna have to wait for to drop dead.
posted by donkeyschlong at 2:38 AM on December 7, 2002


Washington Post link. Strong political opinion in the title of the post. Can you please explain how your post does not violate the guidelines and the express wishes of Matt, your host?

You could have taken the time to do a bit of research and make an informative post on the current state of the old George Wallace voting bloc in the South, linking it to Civil War nostalgia, the Confederate flag controversy, and low voter turnout of blacks, in a way that uses the Web to uncover and connect information that is not on major media news outlets.

But that would have slowed you in your rush to convene a circle jerk of outrage.
posted by fuzz at 3:29 AM on December 7, 2002


Fuzz,
With all due respect, the tisk tisk tone of your post is baffling.
Lott confesses that he supported a candidate who ran on a platform that opposed (among other things) "anti-lynching and anti-segregation" proposals as a "vicious" attack on the Southern "way of life". Not only has he no shame for his former support of such egregious ideals, but laments the fact that the nation didn't do the same. Why in God's good name would you level the charges of spin from the Washington Post and even less savory impulses on the part of the intial poster?
Lott's comments are repugnant and indefensible. Carefully draping his despicable sentiment with peripheral Southern nostalgia and/or controversies could not and should not change that awareness.
posted by Tiger_Lily at 4:34 AM on December 7, 2002


Re: C of CC Website
I used to think that the right more or less had a monopoly on Really Bad Graphic Design, i.e. Lucianne.org, C f CC, Newsmax, boortz.com, etc, and I can spot a right wing Web site at 10 paces (prominent use of red, white and blue, shitty clip art eagles and american flags, complete ignorance of fundamental graphic design principles). Although graphic designers (myself included) are by and large a pretty liberal bunch, the left is guilty of many of the same sins. Progressive Review, NOW.org, socialism.org are all really wretched looking, the Web equivalent of a smelly, bearded Marxist trying to sell you an issue of some bland, artless commie mag at a Chomsky speech.

Organizations at the fringe seem so convinced of the rightness of their cause that they needn't bother themselves with actually selling what they're peddling.

Right wing publishers compound this tendency with their traditional suspicion of aesthetics, modernity and "artistic" (read:fruity) types, with predictable results.

Left wing publishers have access to a much larger talent pool, (urban, left leaning) but scare many of them away with their everything-by-commitee, politically correct, postmodernist (i.e. talent and craft trumped by concept) drivel.

The final nail in the coffin is that both groups are a total drag to hang out with.
posted by Scoo at 6:44 AM on December 7, 2002


I generally refer to Lott as a moron on my blog (which isn't a bastion of leftist thought) but he seemed (to me) to be referring to Thrumond's no-nonsense style and organizational skills.

Let's not forget Thurmond started his political life as a democrat and didn't switch until 1964.

All that said - I don't want either one of them in my party.
posted by revbrian at 6:46 AM on December 7, 2002


revbrian, the Democrats in Southern states were very, very different way back when. They were Democrats primarily because they didn't want to have anything to do with the party whose first President had waged "the War of Northern Aggression." Strom was a trendsetter in gulping hard and switching sides when he saw how the Democratic Party's national demographic was changing.
posted by alumshubby at 7:34 AM on December 7, 2002


The final nail in the coffin is that both groups are a total drag to hang out with.

Yes I think I remember some movie (Air America?) in which Mel Gibson said that the true test of a nation's political system was how good their Saturday nights were.
posted by MidasMulligan at 8:40 AM on December 7, 2002


With all due respect, the tisk tisk tone of your post is baffling.

Not really - it's a good point. Matt has said, over, and over, and over (and over and over and over) again that FPP's composed of a single link to a well read news site, or opinion piece, do NOT make good threads. This is supposed to be MetaFilter ... not the discussion board for the Washington Post (or UK Guardian, or NYT).

Especially posts who's sole intent seems to be "gotcha! ha ha ha ha!. Lott obviously wasn't saying he wishes civil rights had been stopped. Naturally, however, everyone has leaped all over the comment, and saying that he implied that. Good grief.

If, however, people want to start entire FPP's based on a single sentence in a speech, and use it as an opportubity to blast away at Republicans, perhaps its time for a few others to start looking - in as much detail - at every word spoken by Democrats.

Or, maybe its time, as Fuzz said, to start honoring the wishes of our host.
posted by MidasMulligan at 8:52 AM on December 7, 2002


I'm turning blue holding my breath waiting for things to change...meanwhile, boys, there's always Metatalk.
posted by konolia at 9:09 AM on December 7, 2002


Well said, Tiger_Lily.

I must say that I knew nothing about Thurmond before this PR exercise and all I know now is that I want him out of DC.

In light of this, I want the same for Lott, but since that's not likely to happen soon, that just means any respect I had for him has changed to disrespect.

That Thurmond enjoys such longevity while MLK and the Kennedys were battered and killed the way they were, while enjoying popularity Thurmond could never hope for, is a depressing thought.
posted by azazello at 9:13 AM on December 7, 2002


Gee, MidasMulligan, 7 of 8 of your fpps are "composed of a single link to a well read news site, or opinion piece." Do your links make good threads? Please let us know.
posted by four panels at 9:20 AM on December 7, 2002


Dammit four panels you beat me.

6 of his 8 are major media outlets, and 7 of the 8 are single links.

Pot, kettle. Glad you've met.
posted by Ynoxas at 9:24 AM on December 7, 2002


Midas: the man basically said "hey, remember that time you ran for president and wanted to keep out all the coloreds? Those were good times. If you'd won we wouldn't have all these problems with the coloreds today."

That is hardly nitpicking.

And where do you get that anyone is saying he's IMPLYING it? He came out and said it in plain english, very deliberately, very clearly.

There is absolutely no excuse or feasible way to have misunderstood what the man said.

If he was just wanting to thank and honor the man, why didn't he just talk about when he changed parties?

He went out of his way to mention that presidential campaign, AND THAT HE WOULD HAVE VOTED FOR HIM. You'll note Strom has not brought that campaign up in 40 years or so.

Strom Thurmond is a dyed-in-the-wool racist and segregationist, proud of his believes, and will never change. Trent lot is upset that he didn't get to be president instead of Truman.

What part, exactly, don't you understand?

I'll transcribe for you:

"I want to tell you about my state. When Strom Thurmond ran for President, we voted for him. We're proud of him. (applause, whistles) And if the rest of the country had followed our lead we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years either. (silence)"

The first part... ok... MAYBE if you give a healthy healthy benefit-of-the-doubt you might be able to overlook. It's the little editorializing at the end that shows he knew exactly what he was saying and what he meant.

Defending the indefensible. Good show.
posted by Ynoxas at 9:40 AM on December 7, 2002


Fuzz said: Washington Post link. Strong political opinion in the title of the post. Can you please explain how your post does not violate the guidelines and the express wishes of Matt, your host?

And Tiger_Lily and Ynoxas, you've responded by flogging Thurmond and Lott. Which is your right, sure, but has nothing to do with what fuzz was talking about, and you damn well know it. It's not "tsk, tsk, damned liberals" -- it's "why are we jerking on about a poli-editorial one-link wanker of a post?"

Feel free to call me on my tendancy to post single-link political FPPs, if you think that'll address the issue of violating the guidelines.
posted by cortex at 10:33 AM on December 7, 2002


Gee, MidasMulligan, 7 of 8 of your fpps are "composed of a single link to a well read news site, or opinion piece." Do your links make good threads? Please let us know.

Since this is apparently making more than one person whine with delight (you liberals do love the "gotchas!" doncha) - I'll actually answer this.

1. The last one was posted a month ago. During that month, I went to Meta more than usual, saw Matt talk about the topic in no uncertain terms, and made up my mind to honor his wishes. I will categorically state that I will never do so again. Will you?

2. Except for once, last February (shortly after joining), even the ones I did post haven't included delibrately contentious language introducing the links. I self-edited this tendency as well, as soon as I realized that this did not help the community.
posted by MidasMulligan at 11:00 AM on December 7, 2002


I've got the marshmallows, who's got the stick?
posted by blue_beetle at 11:27 AM on December 7, 2002


Not really apologetics, mind you, but what would have been at the forefront in the minds of those who voted for Thurmon in 1948 may not have been segregation and lynching.
First of all, after all those years of Roosevelt and Truman, the southern democrats felt left out enough to want to split the party, which they tried to do several times. There had been grumblings for years (think of Huey Long, who clearly had ambitions to challenge the eastern and northern power base for the presidency.)
Then, consider the entire 'States Rights' issues, which *include* but are *not limited to* segregation and other racial policies. Old Frank had transferred huge amounts of power from the States to the Federal Government, mostly economic, and the southerners wanted a lot of it back.

And no, I do not think their logic was either good or just, or that Thurmond would have been a better President.
posted by kablam at 1:17 PM on December 7, 2002


I love the photo.
Strom looks confused. But so does W, so that's okay. His daughter is kinda hot, in a master-race sort of way. But the best is Cheney, on the far left, greedily rubbing his little hands.
posted by elwoodwiles at 1:18 PM on December 7, 2002


The gathering, which included many Thurmond family members and past and present staffers, applauded Lott when he said "we're proud" of the 1948 vote. But when he said "we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years" if Thurmond had won, there was an audible gasp and general silence.

I'd say there's hope for America.
posted by konolia at 1:39 PM on December 7, 2002


Midas & Cortex,
If the MeFi powers that be have requested that one link posts to well known news sources be off limits in some way, then perhaps you have a pedantic point to make. I reckon that making that point, in this case, is more on the order of attempting to distract than to clarify--but that's your call.
The tip off, of course, is that you see fit to introduce the notion of this being "liberal" trolling. Lott is pretty much the antithesis of "liberal" politics--but at least have the self-awareness to recognize that it was you who've been quick to note the political bearing of the man who uttered this noxious B.S. You're the one's who've imagined some twisted glee in hearing the offensive remarks, on the part of "liberals".

Speaking strictly for myself (more tedious centerist than "liberal") I find not one iota of joy in learning that the heart of racism beats in the breast of any man--staunch conservative or otherwise. It's thoroughly dispiriting to know that any headway we've made against racism has been so negligible with some members of our society and representatives of our government.

The notion that black folks being segregated or swinging from the end of ropes in any way serves to preserve a "way of life" is idiotic in the extreme and morally bankrupt. Now, Trent Lott is a highly skilled politician and a powerful influence in Congress. So when that man, in particular, intimates that racist bile is an appropriate sense of direction for the country, it is indeed alarming--whether you're a fan of the man for other reasons or not. Being aware of that fact is not trolling or liberal whining--it's social sanity.
posted by Tiger_Lily at 3:21 PM on December 7, 2002


feel free to join us, if you like.
posted by boltman at 3:43 PM on December 7, 2002


Actually, elwoodwiles, I'm pretty sure that the younger and more attractive of the two women is his wife. He made news a few years back after marrying a beauty queen young enough to be his granddaughter, and - hey - the order of the photo caption has her that way. Eesh.
posted by risenc at 4:13 PM on December 7, 2002


So when that man, in particular, intimates that racist bile is an appropriate sense of direction for the country, it is indeed alarming--whether you're a fan of the man for other reasons or not. Being aware of that fact is not trolling or liberal whining--it's social sanity.

Ahh ... the key word: "intimates". What Lott actually SAID was this:

"I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years, either."

The Washington Post, or course, and Democrats it interviewed, immediately implied he was talking about racism.

Then, on this list, it is paraphrased as "hey, remember that time you ran for president and wanted to keep out all the coloreds? Those were good times. If you'd won we wouldn't have all these problems with the coloreds today.", and as meaning " black folks being segregated or swinging from the end of ropes in any way serves to preserve a "way of life" ...

He said none of this. He is said to have "intimated" it ... and naturally, if you want to interpret what he said in the most politically damaging way (as both Democrats and the Post want to) you'll simply accept that as a truth.

In fact, a number of people are none too happy about the Truman years ... for reasons having nothing to do with segregation. Further, a lot of our current "problems" did begin with Truman. Example? Well, how about the current mess in the Middle-East ... the Israeli/Palestinian partition - and the creation of the current state of Israel (that lead immediately to the first Arab-Israeli war in 1948 ... and nearly unending conflict since then) was largely the work of Truman (and even his own State Department was not at all happy about the way it was handled).

Oh, and by the way, so far as:

Strom Thurmond is a dyed-in-the-wool racist and segregationist, proud of his believes, and will never change. Trent lot is upset that he didn't get to be president instead of Truman.

What part, exactly, don't you understand?


Apparently I understand a lot more history than you do. Many people in the 1940's and 50's were what we now call "dyed-in-the-wool racist and segregationists". Including the Democratic Party. Many of them, including Strom Thrumond - who was the first southern Senator to hire a black staff member, changed.
posted by MidasMulligan at 5:56 PM on December 7, 2002


Thank you, MidasMulligan, for a little sanity.
posted by timeistight at 7:09 PM on December 7, 2002


Many people in the 1940's and 50's were what we now call "dyed-in-the-wool racist and segregationists". Including the Democratic Party.

True. That was indeed a shame. But isn't the point this: that Lott publicly endorsed the principles behind Thurmond's 1948 campaign...and the biggest one of those principles was racist.
posted by Vidiot at 7:54 PM on December 7, 2002


I wonder if an alert, thoughtful man could have come up with a less ambiguous way to assert his displeasure with the Truman years...
posted by Opus Dark at 8:04 PM on December 7, 2002


The Washington Post, or course, and Democrats it interviewed, immediately implied he was talking about racism.

what else can you interpret it to mean? What are "all these problems" would we not have had if America had only followed mississippi's lead in 1948?
posted by mdn at 9:56 PM on December 7, 2002


What are "all these problems" would we not have had if America had only followed mississippi's lead in 1948?

Know anything about the many aspects of the state's rights arguments at the time that didn't have anything to do with segregation? Seems quaint right now, but there was a time when our federal government hadn't ballooned into being the single largest employer on earth. When far more political power rested at the state level instead of in the hands of Washington.

Know anything about Truman?
posted by MidasMulligan at 10:44 PM on December 7, 2002


Midas,
Puh-leeze. Strom Thurmond's "Dixiecrat" Presidential campaign was little more than a reactionary national appeal to white supremacists for Christ's sake. Trying to paint Thurmond's presidential bid as a legitimate counter to Truman philosphy when he was campaigning with speech elements like: “And all the laws of Washington and all the bayonets of the army cannot force the Negro into our homes, our schools, our churches, and our places of recreation and amusement.” is just preposterous.
Now, your boy, Lott, is on record as lamenting the fact that the nation didn't follow THAT man's lead; not the Thurmond of today mind you--the Thurmond of 1948. Lott knows damned well what "When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years either," means--and you should too.
posted by Tiger_Lily at 10:57 PM on December 7, 2002


Ten years ago Lott told the CCC that they "stand for the right principles and the right philosophy" [*] (same CCC where currently a Harvard/Oxford educated mathematics professor can be dismissed as 'an African potentate shaking his spear at the remnants of white colonialism', whose 'simple-minded tirades against the Confederacy indicate how low prestigious universities will stoop to dole out fancy degrees to blacks'). Perhaps his praise was narrowly intended for the set of states' rights issues that they held in common; but if anyone is muddling the issue, dredging up old associations of states' rights with racial separatism, it is Lott.
posted by eddydamascene at 12:05 AM on December 8, 2002


Personally, I'm trying to find my way to a coherent "liberal federalism". However, I'm unable to understand how any reasonable person could consider "state's rights" to be more important that e.g. the right to vote. Fuck, priorities, people.
posted by Wood at 8:49 AM on December 8, 2002


Many people in the 1940's and 50's were what we now call "dyed-in-the-wool racist and segregationists". Including the Democratic Party.

True. That was indeed a shame


No, it is not true. The majority of _Southern_ Democrats were segregationists. The Democratic Party, outside of the South (which of course was one of its strongest bastions) was _the_ force against segregation -- indeed, check out those Confederate flags proudly flying on the day of Kennedy's death -- and it was a Democrat, LBJ, who created the Civil Rights Act and abolished segregation and therefore gave the South (with all those segregationists) to the Republican party, the party the Southerners are still happily voting, now in the name -- of course -- of National Security (once upon a time it was "states rights" and then "law and order", not the tv show but the "put black people in jail" code word)

Midas, you can spin Lott's comment until hell freezes over, but it's not even subtle, it's all about code words: it's about President Thurmond killing de-segregation (Truman desegregated the Armed Forces, that evil motherfucker, right?). Segregation now, segregation forever. Such a statesman.

Thurmond's 1948 Dixiecrat candidacy was a one-issue candidacy: keep down the Negroes. Simple and plain. (oh, and Reagan once said that Jefferson Davis was a hero of his, so it's not the first time some Republican slips on the issue, Lott is so Reaganesque these days)

Also, Midas -- it's nice to know that you consider the birth of the State of Israel a mistake, those Jews really should have gone back to Poland and Germany where people loved them so much, right? (you don't need to read anything, just rent Schindler's List. Hint: it's a true story)

I'm no Truman fan either, but saying that Thurmond would have been a better president is unacceptable from a politician in 2002

Before you question other people's grasp of history, try to consider the consequences of your argument. Unless you want to run for the Senate in Mississippi, you're on a slippery slope
posted by matteo at 9:47 AM on December 8, 2002


Midas, can't you just admit the possiblity that Lott is, just possibly, speaking his mind? You accuse the Post, Democrats, and the majority on this board of "spinning" his comments negatively, but when you imply that he just as well could have been wistfully recalling the days before Truman helped create Israel (?) - sounds like spin to me. Lott is on record with a history of pro-CCC comments. He has been making such comments since his college days. When, after he spoke these controversial sentence, the room gasped and he said nothing to backtrack or cover his ass - all these things are pretty damning. The fact is that he is a leading politician, one who knows better than to say things praising states' rights campaigns of yore (because, history be damned, people hear that and think racism), who knows that if you're from the south and you say something like that, people aren't going to give you the benefit of the doubt. So why did he say it? Probably because he believes it, and believes it in the very interpretation that the Post, et al. has read it. Damn, even Bill Kristol won't defend him.
posted by risenc at 12:08 PM on December 8, 2002


Many Democrats stood up for Clinton after he lied to the country about his personal life. Many Republicans are standing up for Lott after some pretty indisputable proof that he's a racist bigot. Pick your sides wisely, folks.
posted by jragon at 12:12 PM on December 8, 2002


Midas: Trent Lott is highly pro-Israeli. He's never been anything but Mr. Status Quo and Then Some in this regard. He is "very fond of Benjamin Netanyahu." What gives with you here?
posted by raysmj at 12:49 PM on December 8, 2002


midas, state's rights were the legal route by which to pursue the actual goal, which was to keep on doing what they'd been doing, and not have the feds come in and stop them from lynching if they wanted to lynch. They felt the state had a right to run itself the way they wanted to run it, which was segregated and racist. Yes, granting civil rights to all citizens in all states imposes on the state government certain restrictions - like "you must treat black people as equal citizens." That's what they were fighting against.
posted by mdn at 2:51 PM on December 8, 2002


Know anything about the many aspects of the state's rights arguments at the time that didn't have anything to do with segregation?

From the 1948 Mississippi Dixiecrat sample ballot thingy: "A vote for Truman electors is a direct order to our Congressmen and Senators from Mississippi to vote for passage of Turman's so-called civil-rights program in the next Congress. This means the vicious FEPC -- anti poll-tax -- anti-lynching and anti-segregation proposals will become the law of the land and our way of life in the South will be gone for ever. If you FAIL to VOTE you are in fact casting a vote for Truman and his vicious anti-Southern platform."

Seems clear to me what the states' rights arguments were at the time in Trent Lott's Mississippi. Or am I wrong in thinking that contemporary documents are an accurate representation of the election campaign?

I suppose even lynchmobs and segregationists need an apologist, hm, Midas? After all, they were mighty fine entrepreneurs, no? And yes, I know, some of your best and most hard-workin' employees are black, I'm sure. And you don't even keep them in huts down on yo' plantation no more.

So, as a defender of states' rights against federal power, would you have voted for Thurmond in 1948?
posted by riviera at 3:39 PM on December 8, 2002


jragon: I hope you're not trying to equate praise for a racist politician to lying about one's personal indelicacies? Most Democrats supported Clinton not because they thought he had done the right thing, or that he was an honest man, but because they thought the whole issue was irrelevant. If Lott means what he said, that's vastly different, and much more disturbing.
posted by risenc at 7:07 PM on December 8, 2002


Two right-bloggers are disgusted by Lott's comments, and hope (against hope) he is not re-elected as Majority Leader: Daniel Drezner and Josh Chafetz. Their rants are, at least, interesting. Meanwhile, center-left-pundit Josh Marshall covers the fallout, or rather, its lack (while, as he notes, John Kerry's allegedly expensive haircuts eat up hours of talk-cable time). Jesse Jackson Sr. has blasted the remarks and called for Lott to step down, but this will have to move beyond him (and the scant attention of the Beltway crowd) to have legs.
posted by dhartung at 9:13 PM on December 8, 2002


You can't really accept the Strom Thurmond/Dixiecrat pronouncement about states' rights at face value. The South has paid lip service to states' rights in upholding racial oppression, but has often violated the concept in practice. For example, the Fugitive Slave Law was a violation of the rights of Northerners, because it enabled the enslavement of Northern freemen, overrode the jurisdiction of Northern courts, and oppose any right of the Northern states to nullify slavery laws within their own borders. Yet you never heard the antebellum South oppose the Fugitive Slave Law. Similarly, the Freedom Riders assembled interracial caravans on Greyhound buses, where they would be protected by the clauses of the constitution that promote interstate commerce and travel, but the South wasn't too respectful of the civil rights of non-Southerners either. States' rights is just a rationalization, depending on whose ox is gored
posted by jonp72 at 12:59 AM on December 9, 2002


Thanks, all, for the history lesson. Midas, I'll have to retract my supportive comment.

I should follow my better instincts and stay out of political threads.
posted by timeistight at 10:11 AM on December 9, 2002


The apology.
posted by liam at 7:55 PM on December 9, 2002


Trent Lott screwed up. All of us on the right of the political spectrum should just acknowledge that. He was trying to pay tribute to a guy at his retirement party, and forgot that the guy had some bad skeletons in his closet. He's been reminded of that, and has apologized for his remarks.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 11:36 PM on December 9, 2002


Forgive and forget, eh?
Conservatives should be grateful that we limp-wristed lefties are so much better at that than they are.
We may pull the flame off his rear, but only a fool would take both eyes off his legislative moves from here on out.
posted by Tiger_Lily at 1:22 AM on December 10, 2002


I know this is kind of old, but I saw two reports on television yesterday (Dec. 10th) dealing with Lott's comments, when I hadn't in the previous couple days. The story is fairly out there now.

This salon article observes how the media has seemed to have picked up this story 4 days after the fact, partially because Al Gore spoke up about it Monday.
posted by bobo123 at 11:56 AM on December 11, 2002


Instapundit continues to follow the story, which has gained legs with even a Nightline spotlight. If the GOP senators don't wake up, they'll find that by re-electing Lott they have alienated a loyal part of their base, as well as many centrists. The line Even the Family Research Council has bailed out is telling.
posted by dhartung at 1:28 PM on December 11, 2002


I was reading over this story, and there seemed to be something out of place.. and I finally found it. Trent lotto was 7 years old when the 1948 election took place. I wonder what he thought of it at the time.
posted by MrLint at 8:34 PM on December 11, 2002


Just as a PSA, from the New York Times--A Primer of Senator Lott's Quotations, containing the following:

After a speech by Senator Strom Thurmond, Republican of South Carolina, at a Mississippi campaign rally for Ronald Reagan:

You know, if we had elected this man 30 years ago, we wouldn't be in the mess we are today. (Source: The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Miss.)


So, the first time he made nearly the same statement about Thurmond's presidential campaign of 1948, he got a pass, such a comment evidently being considered unremarkable by the national press then. Interesting to note Paul Krugman cites and quotes Joshua Marshall's Talking Points Memo in his editorial's lead on this. It has been amusing to see all the otherwise oh so proudly politically incorrect rightwing warbloggers and talking heads trying to claim credit in their scramble to fall in line with contemporary thinking on this issue.
posted by y2karl at 6:28 AM on December 14, 2002


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