November 16, 2006

"Experience in the minority and knowing what the tactics and rules of engagement are."

Why Trent Lott won the vote for minority whip, according to Senator John Thune (who supported him).

More here:
In the throes of his crisis in 2002, Mr. Lott spent hours bunkered in his home in Pascagoula, Miss., methodically calling friends and colleagues — 50 calls a day — in an effort to save his job. It was a rigorous and disciplined process, similar to the one he followed in recent days as he campaigned quietly for the whip post. He contacted colleagues by phone and in person, emphasizing his ability to get results, his encyclopedic grasp of Senate rules and his skill in working closely with the House....

Mr. Lott largely undertook his campaign for whip in one-on-one discussions, figuring that a visible effort would bring attention to his past troubles and perhaps scare off potential supporters.

“Nobody knew where he was; it was a stealth candidacy,” said former Senator John B. Breaux, Democrat of Louisiana and one of Mr. Lott’s closest friends. “His strategy was, ‘Run silent, run deep,’ like the old submarine.”

15 comments:

Internet Ronin said...

I can well imagine that Lott can be quite effective in one-on-one discussions such as this. While he did not strike me as a particularly impressive majority leader at the time, I can't say that Bill Frist did a much better job.

While not a fan of Trent Lott in the least, it seems to me that he made a serious mistake, paid for that my mistake by losing his position, apologized for that mistake, and spent a few years in the political wilderness as a result.

I cannot help feeling that some believe that life without parole is the appropriate sentence for mistakes, but only for people whose politics they don't like. Otherwise, Robert Byrd would not be scheduled to be 4th in line for the presidency when the new congress convenes.

Goatwhacker said...

figuring that a visible effort would bring attention to his past troubles and perhaps scare off potential supporters.

As well it should have.

And I'm not talking about the dumb Storm Thurmond comment, I'm talking about Lott being an old school, pork-loving, you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours politician who was ineffective as majority leader.

The GOP got its collective butt kicked and has responded by giving us more of the same.

SteveR said...

I'm not happy about Lott either for the reasons stated by Goatwhacker. He at least does not have the "deer in the headlights" look that Frist gave.

Anonymous said...

I'm with goatwhacker. Lott brings nothing to the position that someone else with more integrity couldn't bring or learn to bring. The Republicans have responded to the Democrats same-ol'-thing with their own same-ol-thing.

Bruce Hayden said...

I too am of a couple of minds about Senator Lott. Supposedly, one of this strengths is knowing how the Senate rules work almost as well as Byrd does. And that is going to be critical in keeping them from going off the deep end in the next two years.

But the downside of Lott is that he is just the opposite of what many of the Republicans are looking for right now outside Washington, D.C. A lot of us came away from the election believing that the Republican losses were a result of becoming just like the Democrats are - willing to trade pork for contributions, mostly campaign, but maybe a little extra on ths side personally for all the work.

Somehow, a lot of avid Democrats seem to take the view that this is just the way that things work in Wash., that trading pork for campaign contributions just greases the political skids. It is just us naive conservatives who expect anything differently, and thus this issue can be, and was, used against us in the last election.

This culture of corruption is IMHO a result of a culture where politicians trade votes for campaign contributions in order to stay in office. There are two approaches to this, either participate, and stay in the Senate as long as Bob Byrd has, becoming Senator Pork, or practice voluntary term limits. Many Republicans prefer the second approach, while Lott belongs to the Byrd school. Every time I see Fred Thompson on TV, I am reminded of just the type of politician I want to see in Wash. D.C.

Tim said...

Except now that Republicans are in the minority, the media will turn its attention toward the ethical and political lapses of the new majority Democrats, so Sen. Lott's restoration to a leadership position with the Republican caucus will hardly be noticed, just as it was with Dems in the minority.

Right...

Mortimer Brezny said...

Lott is the right choice right now because he knows what it is like to be a minority.

Internet Ronin said...

I'm wondering how many are genuinely surprised by the leadership elections in both parties thus far? (We'll find out today if Murtha win, so maybe I should wait to ask this question.)

On another thread a few days ago, I suggested that the likely result of the election would be a confirmation of the old adage that "the more things change, the more they stay the same." Thus far, I've seen no evidence to the contrary. Has anyone else?

gj said...

My favorite comment in this: "There's something painfully ironic about Trent Lott being named 'minority whip," - Robert A. George.

(via none other than Andrew Sullivan.)

RogerA said...

Also concur with Goatwhacker--Lott may be perfectly fine in the job; the issue, however, at this point is symbolic, and apparently the Republicans dont understand symbolism.

On a related note, assuming the phone calling story to be true, that really epitomizes how the congress really works--interpersonal relationships, loyalty, and allocation of committee assignments: How else to explain Jane Harman, Alcee Hastings, Murtha and Pelosi?

At no time does the issue of national interest arise.

Genuinely sad.

JCJim said...

It is going to be a "2 year dumb-off"

Al Maviva said...

Lott was elected to the position to remedy the National Plastic Hair Deficit. We're now running at a surplus...

The only thing good about the Dem & Republican leadership contests is that it will provide an easy way to spot reasonable, intelligent partisans from either party. Just look for people with big read hand prints on their foreheads, from repeated stiff forehead slaps.

vnjagvet said...

The wisdom of this selection will depend on how much Lott is put in a spokesman role for which I agree he is ill fitted.

My understanding of the whip position is that it is essentially a behind the scenes job working for the caucus to get done what needs to get done to keep it relevant.

In the Senate, unlike the House, the minority is quite potent if it can stick together and use the rules to gum up the works.

Lott is reputed to be particularly good at this kind of thing, as described in the article. If so, this might not be a bad development for the Republicans.

The partisan moderate said...

While Trent Lott maybe a master of Senate rules as previous comments have noted he mainly uses that mastery for earmarks similar to Bob Byrd.

Because of Trent Lott's comments and his inability to realize what he said is wrong and to make ammends, Democrats running against Republicans in swing districts or in blue-leaning districts will constantly invoke his name.

As Jonah Golderg put it, "What is the GOP thinking electing as its No. 2 man in the Senate someone who once expressed nostalgia for segregation?"
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-goldberg16nov16,0,7828821.column?coll=la-opinion-center

hdhouse said...

i went to a football game between kentucky and alabama once. mr. lott was in presence.

the man knows his way around a megaphone.

roll tide hooooba~