The post-election left, gun-shy over possible blowback from the Wellstone memorial, have finally found a cause in which to again indulge their natural talent for self-righteous indignation. Some of us are abstaining from the turkey shoot, however. I’m sorely tempted to cloak this reticence with high-minded bloviations about "gotcha" politics and abjuring the tactics which should be properly associated with Scaife, Goldberg, and the Lewinsky-baiters, but in fact there’s a perfectly good Machiavellian reason to refrain from mau-mauing Lott: he could be Newt II.
Between the Tweedian re-institution of graft and the Gilliamesque Kissinger appointment, the only silver lining liberals have been able to hope for has been the possibility of "Republican overreach." No member of the Republican leadership is better suited to obtusely marching the party over the cliff of far-right fantasy while provoking public revulsion than Lott. The Republican majority is slimmer than the immediate post-election commentary suggested, and they would be well-advised to solidify their gains rather than pushing for conservative pipe-dreams. If they take the piss out of this issue by soberly orchestrating Lott’s resignation as Majority Leader, it would be a cheap lesson indeed.
* Yes, I stole it, but I sub-contracted out my hair-pulling.