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Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Hold It, The Corpse Just Moved--I heard Lott interviewed on Hannity's radio show on the way home this afternoon. Liberals won't believe it, but I think my argument below about him being more insensitive than racist holds water. I don't quite buy his "error of the head rather than of the heart" line, but I think his pro-Dixiecrat lines in 1980 and this month were pro-modern Strom rather than Jim Crow 1948 Strom. He might have been far enough removed from the effects of Jim Crow to have the evil really sink in, or was acculturated to minimize the damage done. Nonetheless, it was a bad error in judgement. It's not worth a censure on the floor; if we start down that route, we'd have half the Senate in the dock for idiotarian things that they have said. The next question is whether this is sufficient cause, when added to his relative ineffectiveness as Majority Leader, to have him be forced to step aside. The issue at hand is more of perception than reality. Lott wasn't dancing cheek-to-cheek with the Black Caucus before this faux pas; he merely redemonstrated an insensitivity to the problems of racism rather than being racist himself. This will be a minor issue in 2004; a certain number of attack ads are going to be run regardless of whether Lott is pushed aside. My question is whether there will be more of those ads if the Senate Republicans show him the door or if he stays on as majority leader. If the Republicans do decide to get rid of Lott, who will be the next Republican to be targeted for insensitivity? It might encourage a game of gotcha from the black left. They could then string a half-dozen less-than-PC statements from Republican leaders and proclaim a pattern of racial insensitivity (or overplay the hand and call it racism) in GOP leaders. By making it an issue worthy of getting rid of Lott, we would then make racial insensitivity an issue. If we ignore the issue, or at least say "that was stupid but merely misguided and a bit insensitive, get over it," then things will move on to other issues. Al Sharpton and Tom Joyner will carp on it 'til the cows come home, but they'll carp on it 'til the cows come home if Lott is executed at high noon on the White House lawn. We'll get some attack ads, but we'll get them anyway; the NAACP isn't going to fall in love with the GOP in the next 23 months. I'm going to do a 180, folks. Lott may be more valuable in place than out of place, for getting rid of him will spill blood in the water for the left's sharks to get into a feeding frenzy over.

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