Politico and National Review Online both stated that Republicans forced former Mississippi Sen. Trent Lott to resign as Senate majority leader following his praise for Strom Thurmond's 1948 segregationist campaign for president. In fact, although Lott did resign as majority leader, the Senate Republican caucus later welcomed him back to the Senate leadership, electing him minority whip in 2006.
Politico, National Review Online: GOP abandoned Lott
NRO's Lopez: Dems "close ranks" but "[t]hat tends not to happen on the Right. We take Lott down ourselves." A post by Kathryn Jean Lopez on the NRO blog The Corner reads:
It's not just that these things somehow don't matter when we're talking about a Democrat as opposed to a Republican, it's that Democrats close ranks. They don't let their guy be taken down. The president, the party, and the media protect. That tends not to happen on the Right. We take Lott down ourselves (even though the Left would have done it if we hadn't!). [1/11/10]
Politico: "Republican allies quickly abandoned" Lott. From an article by Mike Allen and Jake Sherman:
Top Democrats tell POLITICO that they have no doubt that that Reid, a former amateur boxer, will keep fighting and survive in his leadership job. Indeed, Reid's racial flub is already turning out differently than the one made by Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) in 2002. When Lott made a nostalgic remark about the segregationist Dixiecrat presidential run of Strom Thurmond, his Republican allies quickly abandoned him. Democrats are sticking by Reid so far.
In a preview of a likely Republican argument in the days ahead, Karl Rove said in a telephone interview: "If you didn't accept Lott's apology, to be consistent, wouldn't have to reject Reid's, as well?"
On Monday, the National Republican Senatorial Committee is sending out home-state news releases reprising critical comments Democratic senators had made about Lott after his racial gaffe. [1/11/10]
Lott elected to leadership by GOP colleagues in 2006
Lott's Republican colleagues elected him minority whip in 2006. Lott -- who, since 1996, had been either majority or minority leader depending on which party was in power -- resigned his position in late 2002 after praising Thurmond's 1948 segregationist presidential campaign, but his Republican colleagues elected him to the position of minority whip in late 2006. Lott assumed the position of minority whip in January 2007 and held the post until his resignation in December 2007.