Update: John Fund at WSJ backs me up on the Clinton comparison.
Thursday, December 19, 2002
Why Lott Should Go: Two reasons. First, he's made himself irrelevant. Like Clinton and sexual follies, Lott and racism is a combination too precious for the opposition to pass up. (Notice that Clinton got very little done in his last term, and even less that wasn't explicitly endorsed by the GOP House. The GOP knows that it can't afford to waste control of Congress.) Rightly or wrongly, he's tarred by the brush that the GOP needs to avoid most. Second, I think that the GOP has secretly wanted him gone for some time. His previous tenure was less effective than the party had hoped, but he was still the natural choice for a fairly stagnant party. Now that the controversy has begun, if the party knew that 26 votes could be had to elect a new leader, Lott would be gone tomorrow. The only reason he still has some support is that no senator wants to be the tallest dandelion (Nickles excepted, since he's the heir apparent; it's worth the risk for him). If Lott fights off a challenge successfully, those who stood up in opposition will find themselves with less legislative clout than the Kennedys and Dascles of the Senate. Here's what's at the bottom of the teacup though. Senators will call one another, speak off the record, and realize that none of them has any real firm conviction about keeping Lott, other than a vague sense that the Democrats are succeeding at mau-mauing them. They'll get over it. Lott's toast.