A Lott Of Lessons Learned
December 20, 2002
What a month December has been! With the Christmas season upon us, the major news story this month has been about a political figure who made some ill-advised comments at the 100th birthday party of a political friend. Don't you know Trent Lott wishes he could back up and replay the past two weeks (like Bill Murray did in the movie Groundhog Day!).
While I agree with most of the assessments that have been made about Trent Lott and the way he has mishandled this debacle about what he said, the debate progressed a long time ago into something more than Trent Lott. The Democrats hit the Trent Lott-ery! They have been pushing all the right buttons to bully the Republicans into doing what THEY want. And this battle has only just begun. With Democrats out of power, they will surely be on the attack with every issue that comes up legislatively in 2003! They will be quick to remind people about Lott, especially as the 2004 election season heats up next year.
However, instead of allowing the liberal media and Democrats from using Trent Lott as a template for future attacks against Republicans, I think there are some real lessons that have been learned.
Republicans were taught just how desperate the Democrats have become to remain relevant in an ever-changing political landscape. Now we are certain that Democrats will settle for no less than to shape and mold an argument into what THEY want it to be rather than arguing ideas back and forth until a consensus can be reached. Of course, Democrats have shown signs of this before, but now they have taken it to the extreme. And they will try to do it again. And soon!
But that leads to another great lesson learned from this experience. I doubt that any other high-ranking Republican would have reacted like Trent Lott did. Most Republicans would have immediately clarified what they meant by their remarks, offered a brief apology for anyone who may have misunderstood what the remarks meant and then moved on. Now that the past two weeks of bantering back and forth over what Lott's motive was for saying what he did, Republicans will either REMAIN SILENT or CHOOSE THEIR WORDS VERY CAREFULLY in the next couple of years. Either of these choices are better than saying something regrettable.
The final lesson is that even if a Republican were to make some comment considered by the Democrats and the liberal media as racist, sexist or the like, the Lott fiasco is a perfect example of how NOT to handle it. Could Lott have handled it ANY worse? Even if he had admitted he was a racist (which he almost did blaming his comment on his Southern upbringing!), then I don't think the controversy would have been as bad as it was.
Ralph Bristol is right! Republicans need to fight back at these allegations of racism. Those are fighting words and merit an appropriate response from the people being accused of it! Republicans need to stop playing nice with Democrats by acting like they are their buddies.
Ideologically, Republicans and Democrats are on opposite ends of the spectrum. If Republicans are going to maintain and grow the support they received in the November elections, then they are going to have to refocus on the issues that got them there. Republicans must implement the policy changes they promised during the election.
All I have to say its Merry Christmas to the Democrats! You got an early present from Trent Lott. But that is the last present you are going to get from Republicans. Prepare for battle in 2003!