Friday, June 24, 2005

Blogger myth: We Ousted Trent Lott

Boy, you wait a day or two to publish a post and the news cycle has moved so fast, the topic is old news, and by a lot. Well, I'll publish this anyway, because I still feel like it, even if already no one can remember who Dick Durbin is, what he said, and why he apologized for it. During that little debacle -- remember that? it's so two days ago -- many bloggers wrote something to the effect of:

"If Trent Lott was forced to resign as Senate Majority Leader because of his offensive rhapsodizing on pre-desegregation days, why shouldn't Cong. Dick Durbin receive the same kind of treatment?" (See here, here, and here.)

Hey, people in blogland: Please stop promulgating this fantasy that Trent Lott was ousted because Republican senators were shocked, simply shocked by his comments about Strom Thurmond. I know that many bloggers were offended, and sincerely thought he should resign for that reason, but for Republicans in Congress, it was just a convenient excuse to get rid of someone they had been itching to get rid of for a while (and look like civil rights advocates in the process). Why? In spite of Lott's reputation in the general public as one of the most troglodytic senators, he was disliked by other Republicans for being too soft on the Democrats. Republicans wanted to see the Senate work more like the House -- that is, highly partisan, hardball political warfare, with the controlling party trampling the minority party. That's what Bill Frist's mission was, which is why we've seen Frist attempt to behave more like Tom "the Hammer" Delay, and why Republicans are so mad at Frist for not being that good at it. (Never mind that Senate rules simply make it impossible for the Senate to operate like the House...but then, that's why the Republicans wanted to change the rules on filibusters, isn't it?)

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