Lott's All Folks

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Raise your hand and doff your hood if you're sad about this:

Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi, the Senate's No. 2 Republican, plans to resign his seat by the end of the year, congressional and Bush administration officials said Monday. Lott, 66, scheduled two news conferences in Pascagoula and Jackson later in the day to reveal his plans. According to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of the announcement, Lott intends to resign effective at the end of the year.

Glenn Reynolds gloats: A victory for the Porkbusters (whose site seems to be hibernating)! But they couldn't have predicted this. In 2006, John J. Pitney reviewed Lott's autobio Herding Cats, which had been notoriously delayed (and possibly lightly edited) after Lott decided against naming names and quitting politics and decided instead to run for a fourth term. If you need a refresher on how Lott fell from grace in the first place, back in 2002 Jesse Walker shamed Lott for his "Strom Thurmond shoulda been president" gaffe.

And before anyone starts beaming about the exit of a big government conservative, keep in mind: The Democratic frontrunner for Lott's open seat is Mike Moore, the ex-state attorney general and godfather of the class action lawsuits against Big Tobacco.

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  1. Later, helmet hair. You’ll be missed like a bad cough.

  2. OT a bit, but am I crazy or was there a Hugo Chavez article this morning that has since disappeared into the memory hole? I admit, it was 7:15 and I wasn’t quite awake yet, but still, a Chavez hallucination (on Reason Hit & Run, no less) would be new on me.

  3. p.s. Fuck Trent Lott. Right in the ear. He will not be missed…

  4. And before anyone starts beaming about the exit of a big government conservative, keep in mind: The Democratic frontrunner for Lott’s open seat is Mike Moore…

    Don’t worry. The South shall rise again.

  5. The GOP will hold onto this seat and be pleased with the change. Lott has become a millstone around the neck of the party. I’ll bet the Democrats will bemoan not having Trent Lott to kick around anymore.

    That is my SWAG, anyway.

  6. I think it would be better if one (or preferably both) of Mississippi’s Senate seats remained vacant.

    Come to think of it, given how utterly worthless the Senate has been for checks and balances lately, maybe all Senate seats should be vacant.

  7. Yeah, I would say that whole “popular election of the Senate” thing hasn’t worked out all that well.

    The Senate stopped being a check and balance when it stopped representing the states. The Senate was never supposed to be just another legislative check on the Executive; it was supposed to be the state’s check on the national government.

  8. Another Republican is going to spend more time with his family. Maybe Lott and Santorum can get together and have a good cry.

  9. Lott was old school GOP. He would talk about reducing the size and scope of government. In other words, he was a liar. The neo-cons, by contrast come right out and tell you to bend over.

  10. 1913 was a real bad year for amendments.

  11. Damn. Now I’m gonna have to find somebody new to use in arguments with my wife (the local GOP precinct chair). He’s been such a sterling example of what’s wrong with the GOP. I have a sneaking suspicion I won’t have to look far.

  12. R.C. Dean,

    In practice prior to the 17th Amendment it was a party/sectional run body. So it was much a body which pitted section against section as anything.

    Anyway, it has been a check on the Executive since at least the Chase impeachment in 1804.

  13. Nothing surprising about someone addicted to power bailing out when most of his power has been stripped away. Lots of Republicans retiring because they’re now in the minority.

    My only concern is that this exodus may lead to the Democrats running the tables, leading to a different form of the same wretched excess we had when the Republicans weren’t checked and balanced. Socialized medicine, anyone?

  14. R C Dean:

    But the old (pre-popular) Senate wasn’t so hot at that task, either, IIRC. Sure, it was *supposed* to be a state check on the fed, but in reality it worked about as well as the electoral college (another “check” that malfunctioned almost right out of the gate.)

  15. R.C. Dean, robc, etc.,

    BTW, by the time of the 17th Amendment’s ratification the majority of states already had some sort of direct election of Senators.

  16. The GOP will hold onto this seat and be pleased with the change. Lott has become a millstone around the neck of the party. I’ll bet the Democrats will bemoan not having Trent Lott to kick around anymore.

    As a local, I can say that Mike Moore can win. He’s well-liked.

  17. As a local, I can say that Mike Moore can win. He’s well-liked.

    It’s been 20 tears since I lived in Pascagoula (actually Gautier) so I’ll have to give credence to your take on the senate race. But they LOVED Trent Lott on the gulf coast back then.

  18. In practice prior to the 17th Amendment it was a party/sectional run body.

    Well, that hasn’t changed.

    BTW, by the time of the 17th Amendment’s ratification the majority of states already had some sort of direct election of Senators.

    Didn’t know that. Too bad somebody (yeah, I’m looking at you, SCOTUS) didn’t step in and say that a Constitutional amendment was required before any state had direct election.

  19. Let that be a lesson to you all: don’t give idle compliments to a controversial centenarian at his birthday party.

    I’ve little love lost for Trent Lott, or any other slimy politician, but the way Bush and the rest of the Congressional Rs threw him under the bus after that manufactured “scandal” was disgusting. The Bushites simply wanted to get their own man in the majority leader position, rather than the guy who’d been there since ’94.

  20. Didn’t know that. Too bad somebody (yeah, I’m looking at you, SCOTUS) didn’t step in and say that a Constitutional amendment was required before any state had direct election.

    Why? If a state took it upon itself to use direct election as its method of choice in selecting its own two senators, how is that a violation of the Constitution (pre 17th), so long (as I’m assuming) the legislature still had to endorse/sign off on the results (thus satisfying I, 3)? Or even if not, could it not be inferred that by a legislature passing a law making the senator directly elected, the law causes that legislature to be thereby “selecting” the senators, with the law merely illustrating the insturment?

  21. The only reason he is retiring is due to the Lobbying law changes that go into affect beginning in 2008 that require a 2 year away period before you can be a lobbiest lobbying your old comrades in Congress. As of right now it is a 1 year wait.

    He wants out before the end of the year so he can get one of those cushy lobbiest deals as payoff for all his votes over the last 35 years. He just doesn’t want to have to wait 2 years.

    the law should say that at no time will any former Congress member be allowed to lobby congress, period end of story, go home and get a real job.

    Fucking crook just like the rest of them, now its just time for him to collect.

  22. Anyway, I don’t think that the direct or indirect election of Senators has changed the body all that much at least as the body existed post-Reconstruction.

    R.C. Dean,

    Didn’t know that. Too bad somebody (yeah, I’m looking at you, SCOTUS) didn’t step in and say that a Constitutional amendment was required before any state had direct election.

    Well,under the old regime presumably a state legislature has a lot of leeway regarding the means it uses to choose a Senator.

  23. I’ve little love lost for Trent Lott, or any other slimy politician, but the way Bush and the rest of the Congressional Rs threw him under the bus after that manufactured “scandal” was disgusting.

    I feel about about as bad about Lott losing his position of power due to a malapropism as I do Capone going to jail for tax evasion.

    Which is to say, not very.

  24. Didn’t know that. Too bad somebody (yeah, I’m looking at you, SCOTUS) didn’t step in and say that a Constitutional amendment was required before any state had direct election.

    Unfortunately, there’s nothing the SCOTUS could have done. It can’t specify how the legislature chooses, only that they chose.

  25. It’s been 20 tears since I lived in Pascagoula (actually Gautier) so I’ll have to give credence to your take on the senate race. But they LOVED Trent Lott on the gulf coast back then.

    Oh no, don’t misunderstand. In a matchup between Lott and Moore, Lott walks away handily. I’ve heard a couple of names bandied about, more hopefully than authoritatively, and all of them are susceptible to a Mike Moore candidacy, especially if the DNC really gets behind Moore.

  26. What’s kinda suprising about this is that the announcement came on a Monday morning, rather than buried in a Friday holiday weekend release has been the norm for this sort of thing.

    I think the implication of this is obvious: the Republican Establishment now fears the Friday H&R political thread.

  27. I’m sorry, I forgot to mention that, in the world of politics;

    “Spending more time with your family” = get a cushy lobbyist gig and feather the nest you started in Congress with $100 bills. OK, got it.

  28. Raise your hand and doff your hood if you’re sad about this:

    Seriously, Weigel, shouldn’t you be saving that line for the day Robert Byrd retires? You know, the Senator who actually was a Klansman, rather than the one who gave an ambiguous compliment to a guy at his 100th birthday party?

  29. Article I Section Three read:

    The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof

    I suppose if your state Legislature pusses out and says they’ll rubberstamp whoever the Unwashed Masses designate in some sort of grubby plebiscite, that would still satisfy this language. Still, it rankles.

  30. R.C. Dean,

    Keep on reading:

    Art. I, Section 4. The times, places and manner of holding elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each state by the legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by law make or alter such regulations, except as to the places of choosing Senators.

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