Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Lott Appears Poised To Make A Run For Senate Majority Leader

Trent Lott (R-MS), said today he would seek a fourth term in November, quickly igniting speculation that he might try to return to his one-time role as Senate Majority Leader.

The post is being resigned later this year by Bill Frist (R-TN), who many speculate will seek the Republican nomination for president in 2008.

Others who will likely compete to replace Frist include Assistant Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Whip Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania -- although Santorum faces a tough re-election bid this fall.

This assumes, of course, that the Republicans maintain their majority after this November's elections. That seemed like a certainty a few months ago, but with President Bush's popularity hovering at about 40%, perhaps the numbers-crunchers should begin re-evaluating the situation.

For what it's worth, JABBS predicted back in October that Lott was setting himself up to be a main competitor to replace Frist, by establishing himself as an outsider in his own party -- someone unafraid to criticize President Bush.

McConnell has not created that perception. The same is true for Santorum, who nonetheless has tried of late to distance himself from Bush -- in part to woo independent Pennsylvanians currently leaning toward his Democratic rival, Robert Casey Jr.

***

Lott has been helped by soft coverage of what led him to lose his post as majority leader, both by the mainstream media and more frequently by fawning cable television talk show hosts, from Brit Hume to Chris Matthews.

The conservative noise machine will tell you that Lott didn't really do anything wrong, and that it was liberals who forced him from power. Neither charge is true.

Let's recall the facts:

At the 100th birthday party for the late Strom Thurmond (R-SC), Lott said: "I want to say this about my state. When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We're proud of him. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years, either."

If you're not familiar with Thurmond's 1948 run as a Dixiecrat, know that Thurmond supported segregation and opposed anti-lynching legislation. At his party's convention, Thurmond said: "Ladies and gentlemen, there’s not enough troops in the army to force the southern people to break down segregation and admit the n*gger race into our theaters, into our swimming polls, into our homes and into our churches."

President Bush said Lott's comments "do not reflect the spirit of our country," and many of Lott's Republican colleagues agreed. Barely two weeks after the remarks, Lott's fellow Republicans pushed Lott to step down, paving the way for Frist to become a national player in the party. To this day, insiders will tell you Lott and Frist don't get along because of the course of events.

Perhaps we should have known that the perception of Lott had replaced the reality of Lott when Bush made a point to mention that Lott's Mississippi home had been damaged by Hurricane Katrina. As with Lott's recent personal storyline, his old house will quickly be replaced.

4 Comments:

Anonymous ash said...

"...from Brit Hume to Chris Matthews." I presume that would include a rehabilitation appearance on celebrities-only Larry Softball King?
But seriously, Frist's still considering a presidential run? As the cons would say, please do.

7:00 PM  
Anonymous kentuck said...

I don't remember Lott being as radical as Frist ??
I hope he beats Frist. Then he can be minority leader when Harry Reid becomes majority leader...

12:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You mean replace Frist, not beat Frist.

12:17 AM  
Anonymous fujiyama said...

In a way you are correct

He had fallen out of favor with many conservatives who felt he betrayed them over a power sharing agreement that repukes had made with Dems after '00.

Of course, these same people feel that Frist betrayed them over the nuclear option.

12:18 AM  

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