Saturday, December 14, 2002

LOTT LOSES TRACTION, HANGS IN THERE

LOTT LOSES TRACTION, HANGS IN THERE

Posted By on Sat, Dec 14, 2002 at 4:00 AM

Despite gathering disaffection on the part of both political opponents and erstwhile political supporters, U.S. Senate Majority Leader-designate Trent Lott of Mississippi held a press conference on home-state turf Friday on which he apologized for controversial remarks for the third time in a week but vowed not to call it quits as his party's leader in the Senate.

Shelby County’s two African-American mayors split the difference on how Lott should respond to the growing flap over his remarks extolling Strom Thurmond‘s 1948 “Dixiecrat” presidential campaign.

“He’s a disgrace to the Senate, and he should resign from his leadership role,” insisted Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton at his annual Christmas party at The Peabody Thursday night.

Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton had a different take. “It would be misleading for Lott to resign. It would be a way of pretending that racism had been purged from the nation’s political affairs. It would be symbolic in a wrong sense,” said Wharton, who argued that it would be better for Lott to remain in power and publicly redeem himself through his actions..

And Memphis lawyer John Ryder, a GOP national committeeman, called upon Lott to resign. "He'll have to go," Ryder said. No matter how fine a man or dedicated Republican he may have been, he cannot represent our party in a leadership role. The kind of thing he said and will continue to represent to people is a taint upon the Republican Party and its legitimate objectives."

Lott’s positon has grown increasingly precarious since his off-the-cuff remarks at retiring South Carolina Senator Thurmond’s 100th birthday celebration in Washington earlier this week. The Mississippi senator suggested that if Thurmond had been elected in 1948, when the South Carolinian ran for president on an unabashedly segregationist platform, “we wouldn’t have all these problems today.” The storm over those remarks has built steadily since, with President Bush himself calling them “offensive” and increasing numbers of senators and congressman from both parties calling on Lott to step down as GOP leader.

And a more local controversy involving racial sensibilities continued to simmer, as Shelby County Commission chairman Walter Bailey suggested that the grave of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Thomas should be transplanted, with Forrest Park, where the general’s remains currently lie underneath a statue commemorating him, undergoing a conversion to other uses, sans any reference to Forrest or the Confederate cause.

“His remains were in Elmwood Cemetery before they were moved to their current location, and they should go right back to where they first lay in peace,” Bailey said. The commission chairman dismissed Forrest’s recognized military brilliance as a reason for a continued public commemoration of him. “You can go to Berlin, and you won’t see any memorials to Rommel or to Hitler,” he said.

In a reference to yet another brewing controversy -- one without racial significance, however Ð Memphis schools superintendent Johnnie B. Watson reported getting “overwhelming favorable reaction” to his highly publicized letter this week complaining of “harassment” from school board member Sara Lewis.

Keep the Flyer Free!

Always independent, always free (never a paywall),
the Memphis Flyer is your source for the best in local news and information.

Now we want to expand and enhance our work.
That's why we're asking you to join us as a Frequent Flyer member.

You'll get membership perks (find out more about those here) and help us continue to deliver the independent journalism you've come to expect.


Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
    • Rally to Safeguard Mueller Investigation

      Scenes from Saturday's mass rally at Civic Center Plaza to protest potential tampering by President Trump with special investigator Robert Mueller's inquiry into collusion with Russian sabotage of the 2016 presidential election.
    • Election 2018: Winners, Losers, and Close Calls

      Locally, the blue wave still had power, though most Democratic challengers to incumbent Republicans fell short; statewide, the red wall remained stout in wins by Lee and Blackburn; the Council's referenda all go down to defeat. (ORIGINAL ARTICLE RESTORED.)
    • Dems Promise Big Reveal on McCormick School Board Attendance

      Acing on behalf of reelection campaign of Democratic state Rep. Dwayne Thompson, Mike Stewart, head of Democratic House caucus, schedules Monday press conference on "dismal" school board attendance of GOP opponent Scott McCormick.

Speaking of School Consolidation

ADVERTISEMENT

Readers also liked…

  • Cohen Tells It!

    In which Memphis’ Democratic congressman Steve Cohen, addressing an apparent GOP effort to muddy the waters on the Russian inquiry, not only takes no crap but gives it back where it came from. This is worth watching from beginning to end -- even for those who might disagree on the politics of the matter.
    • Jul 26, 2017
  • Cohen to Introduce Articles of Impeachment against Trump

    Ranking member of House Judiciary subcommittee, says, apropos Charlottesville and Trump's apparent defense of the white nationalist fomentors there: "There are no good Nazis. There are no good Klansmen."
    • Aug 17, 2017
  • New Actions Against Ranked Choice Voting

    The City Council schedules a Tuesday discussion in executive session; also on Tuesday, a bill to prohibit RCV (aka Instant Runoff Voting) comes before a state Senate committee.
    • Feb 19, 2018

Most Commented On

  • Rally to Safeguard Mueller Investigation

    Scenes from Saturday's mass rally at Civic Center Plaza to protest potential tampering by President Trump with special investigator Robert Mueller's inquiry into collusion with Russian sabotage of the 2016 presidential election.
    • Nov 10, 2018
  • Election 2018: Winners, Losers, and Close Calls

    Locally, the blue wave still had power, though most Democratic challengers to incumbent Republicans fell short; statewide, the red wall remained stout in wins by Lee and Blackburn; the Council's referenda all go down to defeat. (ORIGINAL ARTICLE RESTORED.)
    • Nov 7, 2018
  • More »
ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2018

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation