It is now five apologies and counting in Trent Lott’s self-propelled Senate leadership rescue campaign; the latest, a mea culpa on Black Entertainment Television featuring Lott condemning what he now calls a history of “immoral leadership” by whites in the South and pledging to push an pro-minority agenda. If only his colleagues would let him stick around.
But the long knives of Washington are out. Conservative Senators and pundits alike are calling for Lott’s resignation and the President is refusing to throw him a lifeline. But is this latest public display of moral outrage really about Trent Lott’s thoughtless, racist remarks at a birthday party, or is Lott being served up as a sacrificial victim, to stave off a deeper examination of where the Republican party stands on race? The ghost of Jim Crow past, and the conservative altar of sacrifice.
Will Saletan, chief political correspondent for Slate magazine
Eric Stringfellow, columnist at the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, MS
Jim Herring, chairman of the Mississippi Republican Party.