Jackson, Mississippi-AP -- Mixed reaction in Mississippi to Trent Lott's decision to step down as Senate Majority Leader.
Some people in his home state, including a Republican Party official in Jackson County, think Lott did it to support President Bush.
Dick Paul says Lott didn't want to be a distraction as Bush pushes his agenda in the new Congress.
But other Mississippians think it's obvious Lott was pushed out.
Eugene Bryant of the state chapter of the N-double-A-C-P says Republicans realized that African-Americans were very unhappy with Lott's comments about segregation.
To Greg Evans -- a 33-year-old black engineer -- Lott's remarks were no surprise. Evans believes many Southerners agree with Lott.
Dec 21st, 2002, 09:28 AM
Miss. Republicans Angry About Lott's Treatment
By Edward Walsh
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, December 21, 2002; Page A12
JACKSON, Miss., Dec. 20 -- This is the day Mississippi Republicans hoped and believed they would never see.
From the outset of the controversy that finally cost their senator, Trent Lott, his position as majority leader, there was widespread recognition here that Lott's troubles were largely of his own making. His allies did not publicly defend his remarks at a 100th birthday party for Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.) that expressed approval for Thurmond's Dixiecrat, pro-segregationist 1948 presidential campaign. Some of Lott's friends criticized what he had said.
But as Lott's ordeal persisted, and his apologies for the remark multiplied, a sense of exasperation and defensiveness began to take root in recent days among Republicans here. Gregg Harper, GOP chairman in Rankin County, the most Republican of Mississippi's counties, expressed those feelings less than 24 hours before Lott's announcement today that he was giving up his leadership post. "I think the rank and file would say, 'Okay, you've apologized enough, now stand your ground,' " Harper said. "How many times do you have to apologize?"
But Lott did not stand his ground under the growing pressure, and today Harper said he felt "a lot of disappointment and a great sense of sadness for Senator Lott and for Mississippi. It's a tremendous loss for our state."
"I'm sure he wishes he had an opportunity to redo what happened, but I'd have to say I don't think he was treated fairly in the process," Harper added. "I do think it was definitely overkill for what he said. I just don't feel he got a fair shake."
Such sentiments were common here in the aftermath of Lott's abrupt, and to many, surprising announcement. "I think most Mississippians are outraged," said James H. Herring, the state GOP chairman. "They are angry and frustrated."
In an interview earlier this week, Herring said that Mississippi Republicans were unhappy that President Bush had not shown more support for Lott. Herring said today that "there is a feeling that the president could have been more supportive of him."
But Bush remains hugely popular in this state, and Herring issued a statement urging Republicans to channel their anger into defeating Democrats in next year's state elections. "I know that Republicans around the state are hurt and angry about the way Senator Lott has been treated," he said. "I encourage them to take out their frustrations next year at the ballot box by electing Republicans from top to bottom, from governor to county coroner."
Lott's fall from the heights of Senate leadership will almost certainly deepen the sense of isolation and defensiveness in this small and poor state. Dick Wilcox, president of the Mississippi Business and Industry Political Education Committee, has known Lott since both were members of the same fraternity at the University of Mississippi in the early 1960s. He said "it was a lynch mob mentality" that led to his friend's downfall.
"I think there is already somewhat of a feeling that a bunch of outsiders did it," Wilcox said. "The South got beat up on in the mid-1800s, and it is still trying to recover from that. And every time it gets its head above water something happens, and it gets knocked back down."
But for Lott personally, the decision to give up the leadership post also ended an increasingly awkward effort to remake his political image. What many of Lott's Mississippi supporters found most jarring was his interview Monday night with Black Entertainment Television (BET). In it, Lott described the Mississippi of his youth as "wrong and wicked," appeared to embrace affirmative action, a policy he has always strongly opposed, and said he would have to reconsider his support for U.S. District Judge Charles W. Pickering Sr., a former Mississippi GOP chairman, to be a federal appeals court judge.
Herring called the BET interview "painful," and the Clarion-Ledger, the leading state newspaper published here in the Mississippi capital, mocked it. In an editorial, the newspaper called the interview "uh, interesting." Editorial cartoonist Marshall Ramsey depicted three figures: Richard M. Nixon saying, "I am not a crook," Bill Clinton insisting, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman," and, finally, a glassy-eyed Lott announcing, "I'm for affirmative action. Honest."
But the next day, the Clarion-Ledger also made the case for why Lott should remain Senate Republican leader, among them his importance to the state's economy. That, too, was part of the sense of loss that accompanied Lott's announcement.
"Mississippians are the great losers here," Herring said. "A state with the lowest per capita income in the nation can ill afford to lose the majority leader of the Senate."
It all happened so fast. Earlier in the week, Clark Reed, a former state party chairman and longtime GOP activist, observed how well things were going for his party. On Dec. 2, two days before the fateful Thurmond birthday party, Democratic Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck announced that she was switching parties to become a Republican. Lott and the state's other hugely popular GOP senator, Thad Cochran, were at her side.
"We were riding high," Reed said. "Everybody loves Bush, of course; we just switched the lieutenant governor; Trent Lott is the majority leader. How good can it get? We were in such a high for the state and the party. Who could envision something like this happening?"
Dec 21st, 2002, 03:20 PM
Dec 21st, 2002, 04:51 PM
By Sharon Parrish Andrews
Article Dated 12/20/2002
To teach an old dog new tricks is just impossible. When I was a little girl I had a dog named Fluffy. The only trick I taught Fluffy to do was “sit in a chair and watch television like people.” When Fluffy died, he was still able to perform that trick. When I became an adult got married and had children, we purchased a Brittany Spaniel dog for them. They taught “Sandy the dog” several tricks and when Sandy died this year, 2002, at the ripe old age of 16 years in human years, she could still do those same tricks. Animals have small brains and can only remember small amounts of information.
When Senator Lott was involved with keeping Blacks out of his fraternity back in the 60’s, in the state of Mississippi, that display showed the world what he had been taught and believed in. Racism is not a thing to be proud of. As Senator Lott became older, one would have thought that his human being intelligence would have “kicked in” and told him that segregation of the races is no long acceptable in American nor is it to be tolerated. Racist comments are morally and socially wrong. One’s lot in life does not give them the green light to pour vinegar in old wounds.
“Sen. Lott Resigns As GOP – WASHINGTON – Associated press, December 20th, 2002 11:05 am est. Bowing to pressure from his fellow senators and the Bush White House, Sen. Trent resigned his position as Senate majority leader on Friday after his colleagues openly began lining up behind Tennessee Sen. Bill Frist.” Lott Apologizes Again, Denounces Racism – “ In the interest of pursuing the best possible agenda for the future of our country, I will not seek to remain as majority leader of the United States Senate for the 108th Congress, effective Jan. 6, 2003," Lott said in a written statement. "To all those who offered me their friendship, support and prayers, I will be eternally grateful. I will continue to serve the people of Mississippi in the United States Senate."
To paraphrase a quote from former Governor Ann Richards, of Texas: “Poor George, he can not help the fact that he was born with a silver foot in his mouth.” Well Poor Trent, he can not help the fact that he was born with an empty trench for a brain, in my opinion. He must have one big gap for a brain, in my opinion. I am certain when my dogs Fluffy and Sandy died, they had more common sense than Trent Lott has now, in my opinion. Poor Trent Lott of Pascagoula, Mississippi, there are Internet jokes about you… http://mongo.virtualave.net/ Have you read the 1999 RACISM WATCH which is published on the Internet about yourself Mr. Trent Lott? Here it is à http://www.fair.org/extra/9903/ccc.html
Through Affirmative action and all of the past Civil Rights marches, America has changed for the better. With the acceptance of interracial marriages, adoptions, and integrated schools, nobody, with common sense, living in the United States of America, wants to hear Lott saying he "made a terrible mistake in praising Strom Thurmond's 1948 presidential campaign.” The racially charged controversial statement he made did, in my opinion, cost Senator Trent Lott his majority leadership post for the Republican Party in the United States Senate. It also hurt millions of African Americans and opened old wounds. What was he doing, trying to invoke a riot in America? To publicly speak his mind and say that the nation would have been better off if Strom Thurmond had been elected president a half-century ago, when he ran on a segregationist platform, was very foolish of Trent Lott.
If the late President John F. Kennedy, Reverend Martin Luther King Junior and Senator Robert Kennedy were living, they would be appalled at Lott’s comments. Former President Bill Clinton would not have his office in Harlem, New York, one of the most heavily African American populated communities in America, if he shared Senator Lott’s opinion. The Senates Republican Majority Leader does not need to be an old dog whom can not be taught new tricks.
Senator Lott needs to learn what I feel CHRIST is all about. C is for cherishing the love and freedom of life God has provided for us. H is for holding values of the heart true, kind and high. R is for reevaluating the past and putting old fashion hatred and racism behind all of us. I is for innocent lives tat were taken during slavery and the Civil Rights movements. S is for showing love and compassion to all human beings on earth. T is for thanking God we live in America where we will not have our tongue cut out of our mouth for offending others. When I had a stroke in my left eye in December of 2002, I reevaluated the way I was eating and started exercising more. At times, we all need to reevaluate our lives.
2003 is a New Year and a critical year for President Bush. 2004 is another presidential election year. Instead of republicans like Lott working against the President of the United States, they need to be helping him to keep the peace and harmony flowing in these United States. Remember when Kim Fields was on “The Facts of Life." She would make a statement that is so befitting Trent Lott when someone did something horribly wrong. “Ohhhhhh, you are in trouble now.”
We all know the likes of Trent Lott probably did not watch pictures like “The Facts of Life.” He probably favored “Amos and Andy or All In The Family.” However, those famous words of little “Trudy” on “The Facts of Life” are so true now……..”TRENT LOTT…..”YOU ARE IN TROUBLE NOW.” Those words might not sound like A LOT but they are. As my granddaughter likes to say, Trent Lott, you have “YUCKIE MANNARS.” You need to walk outside to the big Elm tree, in my opinion, pick a branch, give it to America and BEND OVER This is just one African AMERICAN Woman’s Well Thought Opinion of YOU.
Dec 21st, 2002, 06:06 PM
Silver foot in his mouth, lmao! :D
It is a small loss for Mississippians because they don't really have anyone in a position of power anymore, but who cares? Not Virginians :D ;)