Monday, December 26, 2005

Sen. Lott retiring?

Robert Novak writes that Trent Lott has pondered retirement from the Senate. I admit to agreeing with Novak's idea that Bush's refusal to support Lott in his remarks about former Dixiecrat candidate Strom Thurmond, a fixture in the GOP for 50 years before his death, undermined the Southern GOP faithful. The GOP Southern base is most assuredly set upon the backlash over the Democrats' civil rights legislation that LBJ thought would spell doom for the Dems for at least a generation. LBJ was half right. Let's hope the bedrock Dixiecrat tradition responsible for GOP dominance in the South, and in national elections, is eroding as Novak fears.

It's about time! Could the nation really stand a GOP-dominated Congress for 20 years? 40? If Bush is "mainstream", I can't imagine a strict adherent of far-right values in charge of our nation. Bush's spend-all-you-have-then-spend-all-that-you-don't-have conservatism has managed to alarm some of the most fervent fire-breathing GOP faithful. Is there a place in the Southern Dem party for fiscal conservatives who are troubled by GOP spiteful rhetoric? You bet there are. We'll see what the Third Way crowd, often maligned by center-left Dem faithful, emphasizes in its effort to take back the South and America from the demagogues of the GOP. Hillary's latest speeches are an indication, along with Jimmy Carter's latest printed adjuration, that the Dems are getting it right on the front lines of the battle for the soul of our democratic traditions. The futile"all-or-none" counterassaults(largely by center to left Dems from states outside the South) have ended and the Democratic Party seems to be focusing on legitimate cultural concerns that guide Americans at the polls, while continuing the fight for progressive traditions of the party. Then again, Southern Dems have largely remained in the traditionalist ideological camp anyway. Sen. Clinton wants to be a force in the South and her residence in Arkansas for 20 years can be a plus in the eyes of Southerners. Bill Clinton was no fire-breathing "liberal" straw man the GOP have crafted through the years since their humiliating defeats against FDR in response to the callous, today predictable, GOP response to human suffering within their own nation. The real BIG TENT is within the Democratic Party, not the anti-science, wedge-issue wielding, soft-imperialist GOP excuse for governance.

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