The real Trent Lott. There's a school of thought -- a blessedly small one, to be sure -- that poor Trent Lott was forced to resign just as he was finally starting to get it.
According to this thinking, the real reason that Senate Republicans finally rose up and overthrew him was not that they were offended by his decades-long record of racist statements and actions, but that they feared he was morphing into a pro-affirmative-action moderate. That might what Globe columnist Tom Oliphant was trying to say this morning, although I'm reserving judgment until I see the English translation.
With such woolly-headedness on the loose, it's great to see the post-resignation Lott cutting loose and putting all doubts to rest. According to this dispatch from the Associated Press, Lott drops the pretense of being sorry and makes it clear that he thinks his only mistake was to fall into a "trap" set by his political enemies.
Lott acknowleges having made an "inappropriate remark," thus slithering away from his two endorsements of Strom Thurmond's segregationist presidential campaign -- spoken 22 years apart -- as well as his association with the white-supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens, his opposition to the Martin Luther King holiday, and the like. Incredibly, he adds:
There are some people in Washington who have been trying to nail me for a long time. When you're from Mississippi and you're a conservative and you're a Christian, there are a lot of people that don't like that. I fell into their trap and so I have only myself to blame.
So now you have the Gospel according to Trent. It's not that he's a racist, or that he made racist remarks, or that he has sought friendship and support from racists for his entire sorry career. It's that he's ... a Christian. God help us.