Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Forgotten But Not Gone: Trent Lott 

The tiresome thing about stomping weasels is how many, many times you have to stomp them before they're actually all the way gone:

(via Jackson MS Clarion-Ledger)
Since losing his job as Senate Republican leader two years ago, Trent Lott has used his encyclopedic knowledge of Congress and deal-making prowess to remain one of the most effective members of the Senate.

"He's regained esteem," said Marty Wiseman, head of the Stennis Institute at Mississippi State University, noting that Lott's GOP colleagues consider him a valued adviser.
Now that your morning is ruined and you are thinking of putting Wild Turkey on your cornflakes, I will spare you most of the rest of this very informative piece. Just a few items noted for future reference:
...Lott, 63, says he plans to run for re-election in 2006 and may even try for a leadership post. He had nearly $825,000 in his personal campaign committee as of Sept. 30, and he is raising money for his leadership political action committee so he can donate to other Republicans' campaigns.

...Lott accepted the deal his GOP colleagues offered him — resign as Senate GOP leader and take over the Rules and Administration Committee — and made the most of it.

...Running the rules committee, which determines lawmakers' staffing budgets and allocates office space, is one of the least-sought-after Senate jobs, but Lott has used it to expand his influence.

...Last week he strengthened the GOP's clout in the Senate by deciding that two-thirds of each Senate committee's resources should go to Republicans and one-third should go to Democrats. During the previous Congress, when the Senate was almost evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats, there was a 50-50 split in resources.

...Lott's committee also has approved controversial legislation that would prevent Democrats from holding up Senate confirmation of judges. If President Bush has the opportunity to nominate a Supreme Court justice, Lott would play an important role in pushing the Senate to approve the legislation.
Trent Lott, loathesome as he is in many ways, is at least not (IMHO) an out-and-out wingnut. He's an old-school Southern Senator who sees his first, last and only duty to keep an unceasing flow of Federal money coming to Mississippi. Of course since funding that might move that miserable state out of its perenial last-place status in statistical rankings of education, health care, and other quality-of-life issues might go in part to (gasp!) black people, he makes sure it all goes to military bases.

I had hoped he might serve as a voice of sanity, or as close as you're going to get to it from a Republican, against the outright lunatics--but from the evidence cited here about his games with the Rules Committee to help trash the filibuster, this hope is fading fast.

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