Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

The Resurrection of Trent Lott

I think I was one of the first conservative bloggers to demand that Lott must go when he put forward his southern sympathies in his famous botched joke at Strom Thurmond’s going away party back in 2002 (he and John Kerry now have one thing in common), but let me now dissent from the near-universal condemnation of the right-blogosphere and say that he is a much better choice than Lamar Alexander to be the minority whip in the Senate. Lott is a master at backroom dealing and parliamentary procedure, which will be essential skills in opposition. I expect he will be a much better wingman for Mitch McConnell than Alexander would be. There should be a statute of limitations for exile for saying something stupid as Lott did.

Discussions - 15 Comments

One tiny step in the Right direction. A few of these simps must be coming to their senses.

Hmmph, the foolish thing was to demand Lott’s resignation then, except for purely practical reasons I suppose. Regardless, I am quite disappointed with the Senate leaders: McConnell, Lott, and Alexander (had he won) are all boring and weak. No reform coming Senate side for the GOP.

Unless Pence or preferably Shadegg pulls an upset in the House leadership battle it looks like more of the same from the whole GOP minority.

"I’ll just say this about the so-called porkbusters. I’m getting damn tired of hearing from them. They have been nothing but trouble ever since Katrina. We in Mississippi have not asked for more than we deserve. We’ve been very reasonable."

Thus spake Trent Lott. In what coin do you think Lott trades when he makes his masterful cloakroom deals? Pork, of course. He’s part of the problem and, therefore, not part of any solution.

Yes, quite true about his porkiness (and why I wouldn’t be for him if the GOP kept the Senate majority), but he will now have an interest in blocking a lot of pork, just as he and the GOP did when Clinton was president.

Steve, couldn’t the same be said of virtually every Republican, in either the House or the Senate?

Yes, but Lott is more skilled in the nuts and bolts of the place. The GOP in the House and Senate was very good under Clinton at being tough on spending because they had a Mexican standoff going. Hopefully this will be recreated to some extent, though with Bush still in the White House it is problematic.

So you guys have finally decided to just give up on the African-American vote! Good for you. Some would call it cut-n-run, I call it realism.

Yes, we gave up on the African-American vote just as the Democrats did by having former KKK grand dragon Robert Byrd in their Senate leadership team.

Oh, I forgot about the double standard. They can do that, but we can’t. I take it all back then. Lott-get out.

Comment 4 by Steve Hayward: Yes, quite true about his porkiness (and why I wouldn’t be for him if the GOP kept the Senate majority), but he will now have an interest in blocking a lot of pork ....

Lott defines "pork" by his own lights (as demonstrated by his comment about porkbusters). You have more confidence in his linguistic integrity than I do.

Allow me to inject a little politically incorrect sense into this discussion. I have absolutely no use for Lott, but not because of the original statement he made. It was his abject, shameless, apology that makes him worthy of contempt. He might as well have cut them off, donned a dress and handed them to the PC right-thinkers. I would be embarrassed to ever show my face again in public if I had humiliated myself like that.

Equally shameful was that certain elements of the so-called “right” attacked Lott as viciously as did any left-winger. “I was one of the first conservative bloggers to demand that Lott must go when he put forward his southern sympathies in his famous botched joke…” Mrs. Lott is from Mississippi. Wouldn’t it be expected that she would have Southern sympathies? If she didn’t have Southern sympathies wouldn’t that make her a disloyal scoundrel? Didn’t conservatives used to recognize that Southern sympathies were part and parcel of the conservative tradition in America?

In 1948 the 4 major candidates for President were Truman, Dewey, Thurmond, and Wallace. Who the heck do you think conservatives should have voted for in ‘48? Thurmond was clearly the most conservative candidate, and his Dixiecrat State’s Rights Party represented an opportunity to truly oppose the federal Leviathan.

I guarantee you that many in the hate chorus on the “right” that condemned Lott would have, if faced with only two choices, voted for the Socialist Wallace over the conservative Thurmond.

“Michelle Malkin, a rare voice of intelligence in the Fourth Estate, noted the skill with which the “race Mafiosi” and big government Democrats maneuvered Lott’s contrition to their advantage. Lott will be forgiven if he delivers more minority set asides, more subsidized housing, a minimum wage increase, and a prescription drug benefit.

It was left to the libertarian, Llewellyn Rockwell, to point out that, fundamentally, states’ rights is about the Tenth Amendment, not segregation. Thurmond’s political movement sought a return to the enumerated powers guaranteed by the Constitution to the states.

Some supporters of Strom Thurmond’s presidential candidacy in 1948 saw states’ rights as a way to continue segregation. Others, however, saw it differently.

Murray Rothbard, the founder of modern libertarianism and certainly no segregationist, saw in Thurmond’s states’ rights party an alternative to the centralizing socialism of the Democrats and the Republicans. In a 1949 letter, Rothbard wrote that it was “the myriad invasions of states rights” that were destroying the constitutional order, everywhere substituting federal coercion in place of freedom of conscience, reason, persuasion, and the will of the people.

Senator Lott’s tribute to Senator Thurmond is easily defended on principled constitutional grounds. However, to speak against the neoconservative Republican and liberal Democrat ideal of a powerful central government is as impermissible as to utter words deemed to offend the legally privileged”

Paul Craig Roberts 11/16/02

Although a New Yorker born and bred, I was a staunch supporter of the Thurmond movement; a good friend of mine headed the Columbia Students for Thurmond, which I believe was the only such collegiate movement north of the Mason-Dixon line.

My support, however, was not extremely enthusiastic, because, although I agreed wholeheartedly with the platform and Thurmond’s campaign speeches, I felt that it was keyed too much to purely Southern interests. Sure, the Civil Tyranny program must be combatted, but what about the myriad invasions of states rights in other fields by the power-hungry Washington bureaucracy? In other words, while you always claimed that yours was a national movement, by talking only of the Civil Tyranny program you threw away any attraction to Northern and Western voters.

I have always felt that it is imperative for the States Rights movement to establish itself on a nation-wide scale. Obviously, we are now living in a one-party system, a party of Socialists in fact if not in name, and only courageous Southern Democrats in Congress have so far blocked their program. But as far as Presidential elections go, the Republicans are through – the Socialist Administration has too much power to bribe voters with wild promises. If things go on as they are, it is only a question of a few years for the socialist program to go through and destroy this land of liberty.

Therefore it is essential to form a new party, of States Righters, consisting of Southern Democrats and real Republicans (omitting the me-too Republicans) to launch a dynamic offensive against National Socialism in this country before it is too late. I am greatly elated over your new platform because I believe it points in that direction.

Would you please send me a copy of your new platform and constitution? Do you plan to start a newspaper of nation-wide circulation? This would be of great help in establishing a national States Rights movement.

I would like to add that, as an economist, I enthusiastically support your proposals on national debt and taxes – in fact, taken all and all, from the news reports I would say that your new platform is one of the best in American history. Indeed, it is one of the finest political statements in America since Calhoun’s Exposition.

It could grow into a mighty movement if you have the will and vision. There are millions of Americans throughout the country, Republicans and Democrats, who would flock to your banner. They are weary of being led by the nose by New Deal politicians of both parties – they are tired of being deprived of their votes because there is no anti-socialist and pro-liberty party to which they can turn.

You, gentlemen, can be a means of succor for these millions - and not only these, but America itself. National Socialism has always meant poverty, tyranny, and war. America is slipping down the road and has already gone far; it must be restored to the right path if the great dream of our forefathers of a nation dedicated to liberty is not to vanish from the earth. Yours can be that mission.

Murray Rothbard in a letter to the States Rights Democrats May 1949

Rothbard was clearly wrong about the Republicans being "through" at the Presidential level, but he was entirely correct that there were two Soialist parties (actually Social Democrat parties is probably more acurate) at the national level. And so it sadly remains.

I, too, found Lott’s kneepad apologies irritating and dishonorable. I want him back for his savvy, not his ideological purity. Since there isn’t much "purity" in the Senate these days, I at least want competence.

I think I can hear Richard Weaver applauding from the Great Beyond:

"I think I was one of the first conservative bloggers..."

How very avant-garde.

" demand that Lott must go when he put forward his southern sympathies in his famous botched joke..."

How very conservative.

That is, to issue an indignant demand that a man be purged for A) having Southern sympathies and B) for MAKING A JOKE.

Well, Julie Ponzi was probably happy to purge ol’ Trent, and she’s probably not too happy to bring back this, this....this Democrat.

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