The right is calling for Trent Lott’s ouster as Senate Majority leader over comments at Strom Thurmond’s 100th birthday party that if the country had elected Thurmond President in 1948, “we wouldn’t have had all these problems over all these years(.)”
First, many conservatives find Lott’s endorsement of Strom Thurmond’s 1948 segregationist views repugnant.
Second, they also see Lott’s words coming back over and over in ad campaigns for years. As long as Lott is Senate Majority Leader, this quote means that the Republicans are at their root racists. And no matter what minorities think of Republican policies, as long as they think Republicans want to lynch them they’ll never vote for the GOP.
Third, conservatives don’t like Lott much anyway, so they may see this as an opportunity to dump a wishy-washy leader and look principled in the process.
Things haven’t boiled over yet. And interestingly, very little criticism is coming from official circles on the left (Daschle has given Lott a pass). But criticism is mounting, and the critics have a point.