THE LOTT THING
December 23, 2002
"Politics is too serious a matter to be left to the politicians."
The fall of Trent Lott is another classic example of form over substance.
The net result: Lott resigns as Leader but continues to represent the people of Mississippi who elected him is the reasonable solution to the much ado about nothing tempest. Good!
It is not right that the furor that lead to the fall of Lott is baseless and hollow. However, it IS good that he is no longer the GOP leader in the Senate…especially a Senate with a GOP majority.
Lott’s comments in praise of Strom Thurmond are not the ‘real’ reason he has been forced to step down as GOP Majority leader.
Some are suggesting that the demise of the democrats best asset may have been, in part, payback from the conservative right for Lott’s complicity in letting Bill Clinton dodge the bullet in the Senate and allowing liberal democrats carte blanc.
Let’s be honest here. Yeah, Tent got jobbed…his kind words to a 100-year-old departing colleague have been grossly misrepresented. However, let us not ignore that Lott had done a lousy job as GOP Leader of the Senate. Lott has allowed Tom Daschle to play him like a fiddle and treat him like a jailhouse punk. Frankly, many have wondered why Lott wasn’t dumped earlier based on poor performance.
Ambrose Bierce once said, "Politics is the conduct of public affairs for private advantage."
Maybe it is a job that is designed to undermine (although it didn’t seem to inhibit Tom Daschle) or maybe the republicans en masse lack the courage of their convictions (if in fact they have convictions).
The New York Times said, “In his doomed but endlessly inventive effort to grovel his way back to political favor by taking positions way to the left of his own party, the senator came out for ‘across the board’ affirmative action and pledged to proclaim the anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation some kind of quasi-Kwanzaa holiday.” And for that he is branded a racist and drummed out? As John Stossel would say, “Give me a break!”
NO ONE, including Strom Thurmond, and Robert Byrd maintain any vestige of the Dixiecrat segregationist plank. The firestorm of protest over Lott’s alleged racism is a red herring….complete and utter bovine excrement.
Other Senators have said far worse and had their apologies quickly accepted and the offense forgiven (Bob Byrd, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton etc).
However, Lott’s penchant (or obsession) with accommodating ruthless opponents had consequences that finally caught up with him.
When the GOP gleefully announced they would resume the majority in the Senate, Lott was quick (too quick) to give his petty mean spirited counterpart Tom Daschle whatever he wanted. WHY?
* A ‘real’ change of leadership in the lame duck session that included chairmanship changes et al could/would have re ulted in a much-needed flood of new judges.
* The President’s agenda could/would have been jumpstarted.
* Payback for the malfeasance of the Judiciary committee could have been exacted.
* And more…..
Maybe it is the job? I recall having done an analysis of Bob Dole versus Bill Clinton on an issue-by-issue basis. I have enormous respect for Bob Dole the man and what he has given this country. However, my analysis revealed that on all the significant issues I spent years ranting to radio audiences about, Dole and Clinton were in consonance.
At the time I observed that if we continue to reward republicans for doing bad stuff, we would continue to be presented with bad candidates.
Bob Dole, as Republican Leader in the Senate was too accommodating to Democrats. Trent Lott made Dole look like Jesse Helms.
The Washington Post quoted an anonymous but insightful Capitol Hill veteran who said, "There are a lot of key senators who don't really think they need any leadership," the wag said. "Leadership is not a problem in the Senate. Followership is."
I’m no so sure I want to believe what Charles Caleb Colon said, but here it is for your evaluation, "He that is good, will infallibly become better, and he that is bad, will as certainly become worse; for vice, virtue and time are three things that never stand still." What do you think?
I do know when Aubrey T. DeVera said, "Prejudice, which sees what it pleases, cannot see what is plain." He was/is spot on.Critics, observers, and gadflies will see and perceive what they choose to of the fall of Trent Lott. They will not, (for parochial, political, pedestrian or personal reasons) see what is plain
© 2002 Geoff Metcalf - All Rights Reserved
Geoff is a veteran media performer. He has had an eclectic professional background covering a wide spectrum of radio, television, magazine, and newspapers. A former Green Beret and retired Army officer he is in great demand as a speaker. Metcalf has hosted his radio talk show on the ABC/Disney owned and operated KSFO and in worldwide syndication. www.geoffmetcalf.com