The Self Made Pundit
Thursday, December 12, 2002
LIES, DAMNED LIES AND TRENT LOTT: Trent Lott’s pathetic attempts at apologizing are revealing him to be a liar as well as a bigot.
In his first feeble apology, Lott claimed that his retroactive endorsement of Strom Thurmond’s segregationist campaign for president in 1948 was reflective of nothing more than a poor choice of words. At the time I thought that it was marginally conceivable that Lott had not really thought through what he was saying. But (as I discussed in my previous post) even if idle, such comments reflected gross racial insensitivity. (Actually, I said he did not give a rat’s rump about black Americans).
As I discussed, I suspected that such an interpretation might be overly charitable to Lott. Indeed it was. It has since been revealed that Lott made almost identical comments endorsing Thurmond’s 1948 campaign at a campaign rally for Ronald Reagan in Mississippi in November 1980. Far from being a spur of the moment effusion at Thurmond’s 100th birthday party, Lott’s praise for the Thurmond of half a century ago has a lineage of more than two decades.
Given the untenability of Lott’s original defense that he made his remarks because he was giddy from being at a birthday party, Lott is now trying to explain what he meant by his multiple endorsements of Thurmond’s 1948 segregationist campaign. According to Lott, whether it’s 1980 or 2002, when he thinks about the Dixiecrats’ 1948 campaign he thinks of defense issues. In giving his new, improved mea culpa yesterday to the right-wing pundit Sean Hannity, Lott claimed:
When I think of Strom Thurmond, I'm talking about defense issues. If you look back at that time, which was 1948, defense was a big issue. We were coming out of the war, of course, but we also were dealing with Communism and then in the '80s, you know, when I talked about Strom again, we were talking about the problem in Iran, talking about deficits over the years, strong law enforcement speeches.
What a load of bunk. Lott is being deceitful when he implies that for Strom Thurmond in 1948 “defense was big issue.” If ever there was a one issue campaign in the history of America, it was Thurmond’s 1948 campaign as the presidential candidate of the State Rights Democratic Party. The Dixiecrats bolted the Democratic Party in 1948 for the sole reason that they were opposed to civil rights for blacks. Thurmond ran on the issue of being opposed to civil rights for blacks – not on any defense issues. Take a look at the Dixiecrats’ 1948 party platform. Not a word about defense issues. Instead, you get such noble sentiments as “We stand for the segregation of the races and the racial integrity of each race ....”
Speaking on Larry King last night, Lott made another real howler when King asked whether he really thought the country would have been off if Thurmond had been elected in 1948:
KING: But you don't think he'd [have] been a better president, say, than Harry Truman who defeated him that year?
LOTT: You know, I'd have to go back and look at the election of that year.
Lott’s answer is a clumsy lie wrapped inside an evasion. Does Lott really expect people to believe that after being roasted for several days for retroactively endorsing a segregationist candidate in the 1948 race, he has no idea what Thurmond’s campaign was about? Lott obviously knows that Thurmond’s campaign was all about maintaining segregation of the races, but still refuses to disavow that effort.
Take a moment to consider this. After getting pilloried for days, Lott still can’t bring himself to say that it was better for the country not to have elected a segregationist as president in 1948. The man is an absolute disgrace.