My Two Cents

Okay, I just want to wade in on this whole Trent Lott – unreconstructed confederate business. Frankly, I think it’s being blown way, way, way out of proportion. In fact, it’s gotten to hysteria levels.

Trent Lott was at a dinner commemorating Strom Thurmond, and one of the notable things he’s done in his very long life was, yes, run for president. (Against Harry Truman — think about that. Amazing, huh?) Now, I would be happy to stand at a dinner party in, say, 1946, commemorating the long life of, say, George Herbert Walker Bush. (At that point, he would be 122 years old — certainly worth commemorating.) And if I were to say, “you know, the country would have been a lot better off if it had elected you in 1992,” I think that would be a pretty understandable thing.

I’m sure there are a lot of people today who think that Thurmond would have been better than Truman. Hell, I’d have voted for Strom Thurmond before I’d have voted for Truman, that’s for sure (although I really would have voted for Dewey, out of them all).

It’s also worth remembering that Lott was speaking off the cuff about a friend and colleague. His comment, certainly, was intended to praise a friend for his long-standing conservative values and commitment to federalism — not his one-time position on segregation. After all, fifty-year-old positions on issues long settled hardly come first to mind when one thinks of a friend. This was the case with Lott. His remarks were impolitic — if for no other reason than because the media and the bloggers would, predictably, go ballistic — but they certainly were not racist. The claptrap about Lott should stop.