It seems that Masugi was optimistic in his assessment of Lott’s performance. While correct in his assessment that Lott would be a buffoon, he failed to prognosticate that Lott would cave on principle. Here are excerpts of Lott from WaPo’s transcript of the BET interview:
GORDON: What about affirmative action?
LOTT: I’m for that. I think you should reach out to people...
GORDON: Across the board?
LOTT: Absolutely, across the board. That’s why I’m so proud of my own alma mater now, University of Mississippi, that obviously had a difficult time in the 60s and 70s, now led by an outstanding chancellor, Robert Khayat, that has gotten rid of the Confederate flag, that has now has an institute of reconciliation, that has a leadership...
GORDON: Yet your votes in the past have not suggested that you are for affirmative action.
LOTT: I am for affirmative action. And I practice it. I have had African-Americans on my staff, and other minorities, but particularly African-Americans, since the mid-1970s.
I have had a particular program...
GORDON: But to have one on one’s staff--you understand the difference, though, to have a black on your staff and to push legislation that would help African-Americans, minorities across the board, are completely different.
LOTT: You know, again, you cam [sic] get into arguments about timetables and quotas.
Here’s what I think, though. I think you’ve got to have an aggressive effort in America to make everybody have a chance.
Harvard has a program where one in three of their students are alumni children. That’s--you know, we need to balance this out more, and I think that we should encourage minorities to have an opportunity across the board. And a number of states have done that in unique ways, University of Texas is one of them.