Trent Lott: The Pattern.
It's said (rightly) that you can't read what's in someone's heart. But you sure can judge his actions.
Battling to keep his national fraternity all-white.
The legislative record:
1. Introducing a bill to end busing;
2. Voting against the extension (continuation) of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 on at least two different occasions;
3. Supporting the tax-exempt status of the racist and Catholic-bashing haven of BJU;
4. Opposing the symbolic gesture of a holiday for Martin Luther King, Jr.
Now, principled non-racial arguments have been made against some of the above, but put it in context. He went above and beyond in the case of BJU, filing an amicus brief on behalf of the school, arguing in part "Racial discrimination does not always violate public policy." He filed the brief in his own name, not on behalf of any organization. A Mississippi Congressman supporting a South Carolina school he did not attend. Interesting.
In 1984, he told the Sons of Confederate Veterans that "the spirit of Jefferson Davis lives in the Republican platform."
And what about his relationship with the libelously-titled Council of "Conservative" Citizens' (the renamed White Citizens' Council)? This group's lovely views can be seen here. Lott commended the group's stand against "dark forces", and was photographed with its leadership in 1997. His uncle said Lott was an honorary member.
How about a close friendship with an unrepentant segregationist, Richard Barrett? [Note the bigot's cheap shot against President Bush.]
The composition of his Senatorial staff can be described with two words: Ivory soap.
"In an appearance Wednesday on the talk show of conservative ratio host Sean Hannity, Lott said that he had hired or appointed many African Americans. But his office did not respond to a request for a racial breakdown of his staff. In 1999, when Lott was embroiled in another racial controversy, he had only one African-American worker, a mail clerk, out of a staff of 65."
Finally: maybe the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree, in the end.
Leaving aside the fact Harry Truman dropped The Bomb twice, and lavished military support on America's allies in the form of the Marshall Plan in the early days of the Cold War, the above history makes it rather unlikely that support for Thurmond's views on national defense motivated Lott's praise of the Dixiecrat candidacy. Especially considering he said it twice.
In 1998, Lott said he he sometimes felt closer to Jefferson Davis "than any other man in America." Truer words have never been spoken.
Sen. Don Nickles is right--he has to go.