Jonah Goldberg touches on some of the reasons the GOP was nuts to make Trent Lott Senate Minority Whip:
The boys and girls in the clubhouse seem to think that what happened to Lott was unfair. “He apologized, and he paid a serious price for it,” Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe said. Maybe so. But so what? It’s not about him. Or at least it shouldn’t be. Lott is a bad face for the Republican party. Period. Full stop. If that’s unfair to Trent, boo hoo for Trent. Somebody buy him an ice-cream cone.
Besides, the idea that fairness to Lott should supersede what’s good for the Republican party is of a piece with precisely the sort of back-scratching, log-rolling mentality that got the GOP in trouble in the first place. It bespeaks a mind-set that says, “Well, Senator so-and-so voted for my pet project, so in fairness to him, I’ll vote for his.” Nowhere does this calculation figure in the good of the country.
Lott’s rehab is a nice story — for Lott. But it’s hard to see how it will have a happy ending for the rest of us.
Personally I was thrilled when Lott was booted from his leadership position. Not because of his ridiculous Strom Thurmond blow-up (it was bad, but overblown), but because he'd proven mostly incompetent. This was the man who foolishly worked out a compromise with Tom Daschle allowing equal committee memberships in the Senate when they had the votes to take over. Daschle repaid this kindness by convincing "Jumpin" Jim Jeffords to leave the Republican party and caucus with the Democrats as an independent only a few months later. Yeah, that worked out well.
Goldberg concedes that Lott would be good as Whip, but I am by no means convinced. He may do good at "whipping" up more pork, but that's about it.