You don’t have to feel sorry for Trent Lott. But I’m willing to shed a few tears — and not just crocodile ones — for his hapless flack Ron Bonjean as he tries to spin his boss’s way out of a web of old statements in praise of segregation, the Dixiecrat party, and miscellaneous other examples of the abhorrent and ridiculous.
As today’s Times reports, at a rally with Strom Thurmond in 1980, Lott said “You know, if we had elected this man 30 years ago, we wouldn’t be in the mess we are today.”
Bonjean’s attempt at damage control is so sorry and pitiful that it’s almost like watching a car wreck. You want to look away. But you just can’t help watching the carnage unfold.
A spokesman for Mr. Lott, Ron Bonjean, said the remarks at the 1980 rally also did not pertain to race but were made after Mr. Thurmond, then a top draw on the Republican circuit, had complained mightily about President Jimmy Carter, the national debt and federal meddling in state matters.
“We want that federal government to keep their filthy hands off the rights of the states,” Mr. Thurmond was quoted as saying.
Mr. Bonjean, when shown the article, said, “Clearly, Senator Lott was praising the policies of Thurmond and Reagan, of smaller government and reducing the federal deficit.” He noted that a campaign rally has a similar celebratory feeling as the party last week.
Strom Thurmond, deficit hawk!
An antecedent of the Concord Coalition?