Public Nuisance

Random commentary and senseless acts of blogging.

The first Republican president once said, "While the people retain their virtue and their vigilance, no administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can seriously injure the government in the short space of four years." If Mr. Lincoln could see what's happened in these last three-and-a-half years, he might hedge a little on that statement.
-Ronald Reagan

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Thursday, December 12, 2002
 
Trent Lott, who is now clearly getting desperate, has followed up his non-apology apology with a non-explanation explanation. According to the Times via Jim Henley:

"It was certainly not intended to endorse his segregationist policies that he might have been advocating, or was advocating, 54 years ago."

Rather, Mr. Lott said, he meant to hail Mr. Thurmond's record on issues like national defense, balancing the budget and economic development rather than the views on race Mr. Thurmond held when he ran for president on a Dixiecrat platform opposing "social intermingling of the races."

In explaining the similar statement he made at a 1980 rally,

A spokesman for Mr. Lott, Ron Bonjean, said the remarks at the 1980 rally did not pertain to race but were made after Mr. Thurmond, then a top draw on the Republican circuit, had complained mightily about President Jimmy Carter, the national debt and federal meddling in state matters.

"We want that federal government to keep their filthy hands off the rights of the states," Mr. Thurmond was quoted as saying.

Mr. Bonjean, when shown the article, said, "Clearly, Senator Lott was praising the policies of Thurmond and Reagan, of smaller government and reducing the federal deficit."


Unfortunately for Lott, Thurmond didn't run on those other conservative issues. The States Rights platform is available on the web (link from Atrios). It fits on one screen, and takes only a few minutes to read. It doesn't mention balancing the budget or national defense. Incredibly, given that it was adopted in 1948, it doesn't have a word about Communism. The only specific policy it advocates is segregation. While there is much rhetoric about "constitutional rights of the states and individuals" and denunciations of those who would "establish a Police Nation", the only specific government act denounced as infringing on such rights is enforcement of civil rights.

The balanced budget defense is even weaker. According to the US Treasury, the debt at the end of FY 1945 was $260.1 bn. When Truman left office after FY 1952, it was almost exactly the same, $259.1 bn. (The debt went down from 45 - 48, so it did rise, about 6%, in Truman's elected term. Still, Truman was probably the only President in history to fight a major war without increasing the national debt.) By contrast, Ronald Reagan almost tripled the debt, from FY 1980 $909.0 bn to FY 1988 $2,601.3 bn.




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