Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

This blog is devoted to a variety of topics including politics, current events, legal issues, and we even take the time to have some occasional fun. After all, blogging is about having a little fun, right?

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Lott announces resignation

Only he knows why he's doing it, and no I doubt it's due to him being tired of being in DC. It might have more to do with the fact that he's not well-liked amongst the GOP base. But whatever the reason, I can't say we'll miss him much:

Mississippi Sen. Trent Lott, the Senate's No. 2 Republican, announced Monday he will retire from the Senate before January, ending a 35-year career in Congress in which he rose to his party's top Senate job only to lose it over a remark interpreted as support for segregation.

"It's time for us to do something else," Lott said, speaking for himself and his wife Tricia at a news conference.

Lott, 66, said he had notified President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour on Sunday about his plans. Barbour, a Republican, will name someone to temporarily replace Lott.

"There are no problems. I feel fine," Lott said.

Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl, who helped broker a bipartisan immigration bill that went down to defeat this year despite President Bush's support for it, will run to replace Lott as the Republicans' vote-counting whip, said spokesman Ryan Patmintra.

Lott described his 16 years in the House and 19 in the Senate "a wild ride — and one that I'm proud of."

He said he was leaving with "no anger, no malice."

Lott's colleagues elected him as the Senate's Republican whip last year, a redemption for the Mississippian after his ouster five years ago as the party's Senate leader over remarks he made at retiring Sen. Strom Thurmond's 100th birthday party. Lott had saluted the South Carolina senator with comments later interpreted as support for southern segregationist policies.

Bush did not stand behind Lott after his remarks about Thurmond, increasing pressure on the lawmaker to step down from the No. 1 Senate job.

Asked about his conversation Sunday with the president, Lott said, "He was very kind in his remarks. Over the years we've had our ups and downs, good times and bad times, both of us." Bush, Lott said, "felt like I'd be missed in my role" as Senate minority whip.

After the 2006 elections, when Democrats recaptured the Senate, Lott was put in charge of lining up and counting Republican votes as whip, the No. 2 job behind minority leader Mitch McConnell.

Lott, who said he wanted "to be able to leave on a positive note," said he began thinking about retiring in August. His term runs through 2012.

He said he doesn't have a new job lined up and that new restrictions on lobbying that take effect after Dec. 31, 2007 "didn't have a big role" in his decision to retire. The regulations extend the "cooling off" period for lobbying by former members of Congress from one to two years.

Lott becomes the sixth Senate Republican this year to announce retirement. Democrats effectively hold a 51-49 majority in the chamber, including two independents who align themselves with Democrats. His retirement means that Republicans will have to defend 23 seats in next year's election, while Democrats have only 12 seats at stake.

Lott expressed some frustration with the pace of progress on legislation under Democratic leadership, and said it was clearly better to be in the majority. But he also said that politicians often take themselves too seriously.

"In Washington, in life, we tend sometimes to get to thinking that we are especially anointed that only we can do this job, but somebody will pick up the flag and carry on."

Check out that bolded money quote, and ask yourselves if you are getting the feeling that many in Washington feel the same way. It's obvious many Democrats do -- Ted Kennedy, Robert Byrd, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, etc., ad nauseum -- but I think the fact that Lott and many of his colleagues on that side of the aisle surprised the GOP base when they lashed out at. Lott and his cronies in Congress ripped the base when we spoke out against immigration reform. He personally led the charge in attacking PorkBusters when they formed up and watched how Congress spent money.

The public display we're seeing is a many supposedly leaving on his own terms. But what's behind the scenes that could have influenced this decision now? Allah may have the inside track on his decision and would any of us be surprised if it were true?

The senator, after 34 years of public service in Congress is not wealthy like many of his colleagues and has talked for some time about leaving so he could earn more money.

So, aides said, the senator decided to leave by year’s end to circumvent new lobbying rules — instituted by Congress this year and effective in 2008 — that that would bar members from lobbying their colleagues after two years.

The so-called “revolving door” policy in effect now keeps former members from lobbying their colleagues for one year. The changes were made in the wake of the scandal surrounding former lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

So, one of the Senates pork-poo-bahs has had enough of giving out the money, and now he wants his payoff? This could be true, as Lott was always known for trying to find a loophole in the rules. As for who would replace him, both Allah and Captain Ed are hearing that former state representative Chip Pickering may be the one chosen to succeed Lott. There's a problem waiting to happen: Pickering has dismal numbers from the Club For Growth's "RePork card" (2%), and he was mentored by Lott, so in essence, we'll get a "Trent Lott, Jr." in place of the original. I like Allah's suggestion that Amy Tuck might be pegged to take the seat. After all, she left the Democrat party due to policy differences on matters like national security, spending, and abortion. In the end, it's up to Governor Barbour as to who will be chosen to complete Lott's term in office.

I'd like to say we're saddened by this, but the only thing that has us concerned is that now we have 23 seats to defend in the upcoming election. It's not going to be an easy road to climb, but it's one we have to undertake regardless. The next president will need to have all the support in the Senate they can muster to get their appointments through. That's especially true for any judicial nominations that will, most assuredly, be coming. But as for the question about shedding tears over Lott's departure, no we're not.

The only other bright spot we see in all of this is that Lott's replacement as whip might just be John Kyl. Say what you want about Kyl, especially with his involvement in immigration reform, but one thing Kyl isn't is Trent Lott. He is a hard-nosed, fiscal minded conservative, and he was one person we were hoping would get the whip's job in the first place. He'll keep the ranks in line int he Senate, and he won't back down from the Democrats. So, even on a cloudy day, the clouds still have a silver lining.

Publius II


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home