whole lott-a love
Senate Republican leader Trent Lott has apologized for remarks made at a celebration of Strom Thurmond's 100th birthday that appeared to embrace the outgoing senator's former segregationist views. The Washington Post summed it up thus:
Lott said, "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."
Thurmond, then governor of South Carolina, was the presidential nominee of the breakaway Dixiecrat Party in 1948. He carried Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and his home state. He declared during his campaign against Democrat Harry S. Truman, who supported civil rights legislation, and Republican Thomas Dewey: "All the laws of Washington and all the bayonets of the Army cannot force the Negro into our homes, our schools, our churches."
The WaPo's Howard Kurtz has a roundup of reaction to Lott's statement and the belated apology. I note with satisfaction that prominent conservative bloggers such as Andrew Sullivan, Glenn Reynolds and my friend Dodd have condemned Lott's remarks (as stupid, if nothing else).
Meanwhile, Tapped perfectly phrases a thought I've had for some time:
Let's also note that while the beyond-the-pale liberals that conservatives are fond of jumping all over are usually obscure activists, chat-room cranks or radical academics with no constituency but themselves, we here on the left had to look no further than the Senate Majority Leader's [emphasis in the original] office to find a guy who claims we would have been better off if Thurmond had been president.
Update: Lean Left doesn't think much of Lott's apology:
Instead of saying, "I repudiate the racism of the dixiecrat ticket", he says "the failed policies of the past". Instead of saying "I am sorry I ever implied otherwise", placing the fault on him, he says "I apologize to anyone who was offended by my statement.", placing the onus on the listeners. Those are weasel words, nothing more.
What makes this half apology so galling is that it only comes after criticism, particularly after Al Gore all but called him a racist, Jesse Jackson called for his resignation, and Jonah Goldberg called on him to explain immediately (to Goldberg's credit).
(via Cooped Up)