Much of the blogosphere is up in arms today over the election of Trent Lott as Minority Whip in the Senate. A quick refresher - Lott made racially insensitive remarks four years ago at Strom Thurmond's birthday party, opining that America would be in a better place if then-segregationist Thurmond had been elected president. The remark ultimately cost Lott his Majority Leader position. Fast forward four years, and he has again attained a leadership position in the new minority caucus.
To all of this, I give a big yawn.
Eight days ago, if this had occurred, I more than likely would have joined my fellow bloggers in spotlighting the outrage of such an occurence. Today, not so much. I am reminded of a Bugs Bunny cartoon from during the 1940s when Bugs is facing off against one of his antagonists (I believe Elmer Fudd) when suddenly word hits that America is at war. Bugs promptly stops the shenanigans and says something to the effect of, "Sorry, doc. I can't play with you no more; I've got important work to do," at which point he grabs a gun and heads off to fight the Axis.
I look at this tempest in a teapot on two levels. The first one being, Lott said this four years ago, he apologized for it and paid a political price for his remark. Four years later, he chose to have another go at it. His logic for running appears sound (from ABC News):
[Lott and Lamar Alexander (R-TN)] spent the night before intensely lobbying colleagues on the Senate floor with Lott, also a former whip, casting himself as the candidate more adept at dealmaking and Alexander pledging to be a morale-booster to a caucus still smarting over the midterm elections.
As recently as Tuesday night, Alexander's office predicted he had the support of as many as 30 Republicans senators. But Lott peeled off Alexander's supporters in part by arguing that in a Senate split by one vote, dealmaking expertise could mean the difference between Republicans passing legislation to tout in he next campaign in 2008 or risk being branded as do-nothing lawmakers.
Ultimately, one more Senator than the other guy agreed with Lott's approach.
The second level I view this on is a sort of detached one. This is the minority party hashing out their leadership. I see no reason for to carry around torches and pitchforks while railing against this over on our side. The Democrats are now the majority party; we now face the business of governance. Let us get to work while the minority party continues its missteps (and, as to the entire point of the post, I don't think it's that big of a misstep, but the media can and will latch on to this for the next newscycle). The Dems will be able to shine in the light as the party that works hard for the middle class while the minority party bumbles in the dark. Let us do the important work while the minority party continues to make the mistakes.