"Any suggestion that a segregated past was acceptable or positive is offensive and it is wrong ...Recent comments by Sen. Lott do not reflect the spirit of our country. He (Lott) has apologized and rightly so. Every day our nation was segregated was a day that America was unfaithful to our founding ideals. And the founding ideals of our nation and in fact the founding ideals of the political party I represent was and remains today the equal dignity and equal rights of every American." Those are President Bush's words today on the Trent Lott matter, given during a speech in support of his faith-based services intitiative.
It's a few days late in coming, I think. But he said the right things and he said them with eloquence. So no criticisms from me. The question of course is why Lott couldn't have said something similar, even yesterday when he was in full-bore self-abnegation mode. The question, I think, answers itself.
As of last evening, it began to look increasingly to me like Lott may really be finished as Majority Leader. I'm not predicting it. But at a certain point the question ceases to be how many people are insisting he resign and how few people are willing to say anything in the guy's defense. And as nearly as I can see, that's almost no one. Sure, Arlen Specter spoke up for him. But then we all know that the main reason for having Specter in the Senate is that if, for some reason, no one else will step up to the plate and say something moronic, you at least have Specter to do the job. In truth, no one is defending the guy.
What I think most Republicans understand is that a lot of Democrats would actually prefer Lott stay as Majority Leader. They'd like him to get battered and be wounded politically -- and that's pretty much already taken care of. But they'd really prefer he stay in place. Because as long as he's Senate Majority Leader, politically speaking, he's the gift that just keeps on giving.
Consider the fact that right now we're debating whether the Republican Senate Majority Leader is a racist who yearns for the days of segregation or just a good ole boy who says a lot of things that make it seem like he's a racist who yearns for the days of segregation. I think you can say that that's a debate the Democrats are pretty comfortable having. And it'll keep being that way. Republicans are starting to realize that.