C.I.A. Confidential

Attack of the Jacobins

Trent Lott—to the guillotine!  The cry has gone up, the mob is implacable, and the once-powerful and seemingly unassailable Senate majority leader has gotten the message loud and clear: Confess your sins, bare your neck, and prepare to lose your head!  And for what?

What sin did this former muckamuck of the GOP commit that led “conservatives” in his party to come after him and Tom Daschle to defend him?  Did he question the desirability of a tax cut?  Did he imply that Al Gore really won the 2000 election?  No, his great crime, for which there is apparently no forgiveness, was saying, in a tribute to Strom Thurmond on his 100th birthday, that Mississippi had voted for Thurmond in 1948, when he ran against Truman, Dewey, and Henry Wallace for the White House, and that “We’re proud of it.”  Following the applause, Lott continued, “And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn’t have had all these problems over all these years, either.”

The orchestrated storm over these remarks embodies everything that is wrong with the conservative movement, the Republican Party, and the country.  Historical ignorance and hysterical self-righteousness married to a barking dogmatism have given birth to a race of inquisitors who, in this instance, come not from the left but from the ostensible right.  As the Washington Post...

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