Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
December 16, 2002
POLITICS: Lott Critics In The Open

National Review publishes an open letter from the incoming Republican majority leader of the Colorado state senate, calling for Trent Lott to be replaced. His conclusion: "I can't forget my experience 30 years ago during Watergate. As a young Nixon staffer torn between partisan defensiveness and principle, I learned the importance of not letting ourselves be paralyzed from holding our own leaders to a high standard, merely because we are so offended by the motives and methods of those on the other side who are howling for blood. The hypocrisy of Lott's enemies in no way excuses the wrongness of his statements. Republicans can find a better Majority Leader. We should do so."

What the writer neglects to mention - though as a Watergate-era staffer he must remember it - is that while many GOP leaders took sides against Nixon in that battle, one of the GOP congressmen on the House committee to vote consistently against the would-be impeachers was Mississippi congressman . . . Trent Lott. Of course, Lott wasn't the only one; George H.W. Bush and Bob Dole were also among the bitter-enders defending Nixon. But the parallel is telling: in 1973, Lott didn't know when it was time to tell a Republican president when to leave, and in 1998, he wasn't willing to pitch a battle to tell a Democratic president when to leave. In 2002, he hasn't shown any awareness that it's his time to leave.

(UPDATE: Dave Kopel's companion piece on NRO points this out as well, noting that Lott did eventually vote to convict Clinton after having hobbled his trial, and noting that Thurmond did the same after having defended Nixon to the bitterest end).

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:52 PM | Politics 2002-03 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
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