Here’s proof that Lott’s statement is being blown out of proportion. Quotes are below:

Al Gore [calling Lott’s statement “fundamentally racist”]: “It is not a small thing for one of the half-dozen most prominent political leaders in America to say that our problems are caused by integration and that we should have had a segregationist candidate. That is divisive and it is divisive along racial lines.”

Can someone please show me where in Lott’s remarks he said that our problems are caused by integration? Can anyone show me where Lott is saying we should have a segregationist candidate? Can anyone show me why Lott’s comments are “fundamentally” racist? At best, they are inferentially racist, if we assume that what Lott meant to say was, “You know, America would be a lot better off if the Negro were kept separate from the white man.” Does Gore really think Lott believes this? Hell, Thurmond doesn’t believe this (he was one of the first senators to hire a black staffer); what makes Gore think Lott does?

Lott: “My comments were not an endorsement of his positions of over 50 years ago, but of the man and his life.”

Sounds fair to me.

Tom Daschle actually showed grace and understanding in his comment regarding the flap (and makes Gore look like a pathetic busybody, to boot):

Daschle: “Senator Lott, in my conversation with him this morning, explained that that wasn’t how he meant them to be interpreted. I accept that. There are a lot of times when he and I go to the microphone, would like to say things we meant to say differently, and I’m sure this is one of those cases for him, as well.”

(Perhaps Daschle had his ridiculous comments about Rush Limbaugh and the “right-wing” media in the back of his mind when he said this.)

Certainly, Republicans wish Lott hadn’t said it. It’s given the Dems the kind of thing they love to carp about, and it’s embarrassed Thurmond, who should be enjoying his final days in the Senate rather than reliving controversies that have been dead a half-century. But Lott goofed. Oh well. Everyone needs to get over it.