Statisticians believe Trent Lott is now on track to break Bill Clinton's single-season record for public apologies. During his recent B.E.T. appearance, Lott said he supported affirmative action, regretted voting against the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, and that he'd give "The Bernie Mac Show" another try.
What the Lott incident shows is that Republicans have to be careful about letting Democrats into our party. Back when they supported segregation, Lott and Thurmond were Democrats. This is something the media are intentionally hiding to make it look like the Republican Party is the party of segregation and race discrimination, which it never has been.
In 1948, Thurmond did not run as a "Dixiecan," he ran as a "Dixiecrat" – his party was an offshoot of the Democratic Party. And when he lost, he went right back to being a Democrat. This whole brouhaha is about a former Democrat praising another former Democrat for what was once a Democrat policy.
Republicans made Southern Democrats drop the race nonsense when they entered the Republican Party. Democrats supported race discrimination, then for about three years they didn't, now they do again. They've just changed which race they think should be discriminated against. In the 1920s, the Democratic platforms didn't even call for anti-lynching legislation as the Republican platforms did.
Thurmond's Dixiecrat Party was not the only extremist spin-off from the Democratic Party in 1948. Henry Wallace, formerly FDR's vice president and agriculture secretary, left the Democratic Party that year to form the communist-dominated and Soviet-backed "Progressive Party." Much as Thurmond's Dixiecrat Party was expressly pro-segregation, Wallace's Progressive Party was expressly pro-Soviet.
Indeed, this was the apex of Moscow-directed subversion of U.S. politics. The Progressive Party platform excluded even the mildest criticism of Soviet aggression. It will come as no surprise that many American celebrities supported Wallace. The Progressives received 1 million votes nationwide, about the same as Thurmond's Dixiecrat Party.
Thurmond went on to reject segregation, become a Republican, and serve his country well as a U.S. senator. By contrast, running a communist-dominated presidential campaign was Wallace's last hurrah. Yet only an off-the-cuff remark at a birthday party praising Thurmond's presidential campaign is the career-destroyer. Not so fawning references to Wallace's Soviet-backed presidential campaign.
Just two years before Lott's remarks, a hagiographic book on Wallace's life was released, titled "American Dreamer." How about a book about a segregationist titled "American Dreamer"? Wallace's version of the American "dream" was communism every bit as much as Strom Thurmond's dream was segregation. Aren't dreams of murderous dictators, gulags and death camps at least comparable in evil to segregated lunch counters?
The dust jacket on "American Dreamer" featured a nauseating statement of praise by U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy. Kennedy said that the book deserved "to be read by all who care about the American dream." The American dream: communist totalitarianism. Why wasn't the lecherous liberal asked to retire for his flattering remarks about a proven Soviet fifth columnist?
In 1999, the Clinton administration dedicated a room at the Agriculture Department to Wallace. At the dedication, former Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern gave a speech explicitly praising Wallace's pro-Soviet positions, such as the idea that the Cold War was "overdone" and that "problems" between the nations "could not be resolved by military means."
McGovern fondly recalled that he himself had voted for Wallace. He chipperly reminded the audience that he had run for president in 1972 "on a similar platform" – with the help of a young Yale law school graduate named Bill Clinton. Inasmuch as Trent Lott was in kindergarten in 1948, he did not vote for Thurmond. He did not run on a "similar" platform to the Dixiecrats. He did not write a jacket-flap endorsement calling a segregationist an "American Dreamer."
The idea that Lott took the occasion of an old timer's birthday to introduce a new policy initiative to bring back segregation – a Democrat policy – is ludicrous. Lott is a fine fellow; he just has some sort of liberal-Tourette's syndrome that makes him spout Democrat ideas at random. A few years ago, Lott practically wanted to give the adulterous Air Force pilot Kelly Flinn a silver star for her service. Remember that?
Up until two weeks ago, conservatives were clamoring for Lott's removal precisely because of his annoying habit of saying dumb things. (Showing their inferior intellect, liberals have only recently figured that out.) Republicans should ask Lott to step down as leader, but only for all the nice things he's said about Teddy Kennedy.