The Corner

Lott, For the Record

My take on that tone-deaf election. Here’s the opener:

Who says the Republicans are the Stupid party?

Huge numbers of voters told exit pollsters that they were disgusted with the nigh-upon Roman excesses of the GOP; the self-dealing, the pork-barrel spending, the aloofness — it was all just too much. Meanwhile, strategists warned that the Republican party was becoming too white, too male and too exclusively Southern. Ken Mehlman, the outgoing head of the Republican National Committee, declared just days after the GOP’s recent thumpin’, “We rely too much on white guys for our vote.”

So what did the GOP senators do when they needed to pick their No. 2 man in the Senate? They shouted, “This is a job for Trent Lott!”

Recall, if you will, that Lott, the Mississippi Republican, was Senate majority leader in 2002 until he proclaimed that America would be better off if only Strom Thurmond — the Dixiecrat segregationist candidate in 1948 — had been elected president.

The gale-force winds of the subsequent political maelstrom were not only enough to blow Lott from his perch as majority leader, but some witnesses actually swear they saw his hair move.