After days of endless apologizing, Trent Lott has thrown in the towel and resigned as Senate Majority Leader. Late last night he began making phone calls to GOP colleagues to let them know his decision.
Also over night the White House began a more concerted push to replace Lott with Senator Bill Frist, who will now emerge as the "frontrunner."
Frist is a savvy media personality, but he angered many conservatives by interfering in Republican primaries around the country, virtually always in favor of the moderate candidate over the conservative. And he was a staunch supporter of former Surgeon General Satcher, who was pro-abortion. I hope a more reliable conservative-- either Nickles or Santorum-- will throw their hat in the ring.
Now comes the hard part. This mess doesn't end with Lott's resignation. The GOP needs to find its backbone. One example: There are reports that the Administration is now afraid to go into court against the University of Michigan's offensive racial quota system that selects students from certain minority groups regardless of grades while rejecting white students with much higher grades.
For 30 years the Republicans have opposed these quasi-quota schemes. Are we now going to throw in the towel because of the smear campaign against Republicans of the last two weeks?
Some insiders are suggesting there will be reluctance at the White House to nominate conservative judges. Such reports better be inaccurate or the conservative base of the party will be gone.
Let me bring up again one easy way for the White House to signal that it knows how to play hardball and help Americans of all races. Many Washington D.C. schools are abysmal and the children, mostly black, trapped in them are ill served. The White House should send a school voucher program to Capitol Hill on the first day of the new Congress just for the District of Columbia. Ted Kennedy will scream. Hillary Clinton will pull her hair out. Daschle will reach for the Maalox. And they will line up and vote "no" against those black families and in favor of the teacher unions.
Last year Bush dropped his voucher plan because Kennedy refused to let it out of Committee, but there should be no cave in this time.
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