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December 08, 2002

CHRISTOPHER JOHNSON AT THE MIDWEST CONSERVATIVE JOURNAL THINKS TRENT LOTT SHOULD STEP DOWN, though he notes that many expressing horror at Lott's remarks gave ex-Klansman Robert Byrd a pass on some offensive racial remarks recently. Hey, I'm evenhanded -- I think Byrd should quit, too!

UPDATE: A reader writes:

I'm glad that you are "flooding the zone" with this one. I couldn't believe it when I heard Lott's comments on TV, I kept waiting for the punch line. . . . BTW, it's interesting that many conservatives seem to be the most upset. Probably because, as Josh Marshall indicated, it's a sign of hubristic overstretch ala the 1994 "Revolution". Can't these guys govern?

That's the big question, isn't it? Unaccountably, the (annoyingly popup-filled) Democratic Party website is silent on this subject, giving weight to the suggestion that conservatives (and libertarians!) are the most upset. Either the Democratic Party is appallingly inept, by dropping the ball on this issue, or it's appallingly cynical -- preferring to let it pass now and raise it as an election issue later. But that's stupid: they won't have much credibility later if they sit on their hands now. So I guess "inept" wins either way. . . .

UPDATE: Howard Owens emails about the curious silence on this issue:

Glenn, I'm at a loss, really, to explain why conservatives care more about the Trent Lott issue than liberals and Democrats. I took a look at Democrats.com and DemocraticUnderground.com, two ultra liberal sites, and both ignore Lott's comments. Even as the DU site discusses Thurmond's birthday, it fails to mention both Lott's remarks and Strom's 1948 speech.

Personally, racism is thoroughly revolting to me. To me it violates the conservative principles of individual rights, responsibilities and equal opportunity. If the other conservatives who are reacting to this issue are like me, maybe they just care more passionately about racism as an evil than do Democrats, who cynically only see it as an issue to get votes on, and since this is no election season, race isn't an issue to Democrats right now. It's not that they are waiting until the next election cycle (as you mentioned); it's that Lott's timing was off (from a Democratic perspective). This will be a forgotten issue by the next election, so why talk about it (to paraphrase likely Democratic thinking).

I dunno. It's still a mystery to me. Reader Bill Woods emails:

On NPR's Weekend Edition they have a set of notable quotes from the previous week. This morning they had a quote of Lott speaking about Thurmond, but it wasn't the pro-segregation one. I expected that to come next... but it didn't. I don't know why.

Washington Week in Review played the clip at the end of the show, with Gwen Ifill shaking her head and asking 'what was he thinking?', without obvious outrage.

I'm rather surprised at the muted reaction.

Me too.