David Frum begins with the view I suggested, which was that Lott intended only flattery in his comment. But Frum continues with the following stinging critique:
What came out of his mouth was the most emphatic repudiation of desegregation to be heard from a national political figure since George Wallace’s first presidential campaign. Lott’s words suggest that one of the three most powerful and visible Republicans in the nation privately thinks that desegregation, civil rights, and equal voting rights were all a big mistake.
His recommendation is that Lott should make it clear that he really doesnt believe this, and that this will require something more serious than an "Im sorry." This seems right, but who wants to make bets that Lott can put his foot in his mouth here as well.