David Podvin takes it right to heart of the Republican soul:
EVIL LITTLE GAME From the beginning of this country, bigotry has been used to justify the exploitation of the black race for the purpose of enriching the economic elite. Even more profitable, however, has been the use of racism as camouflage to obscure the swindling of white Americans. The corporate agenda of redistributing wealth upwards cannot survive scrutiny, so racism is an essential diversionary tactic. Republican politics is an evil little game based on the knowledge that the elitist conservative agenda can only attain an electoral majority by appealing overtly to the greed of the Lucy Ricardos of America while appealing covertly to the bigotry of the Archie Bunkers. For the GOP, the equation is Petty Bourgeoisie + Redneck = Victory. It is absolutely essential that Archie be made to focus on race so he does not notice that conservative policies are bleeding him dry.About the only thing I'd disagree with David, and its a minor disagreement at that, is that many Republicans, perhaps even George W. Bush himself, actually believe they aren't a part of the evil that is so obviously around them. During the 2000 campaign Bush repeatedly expressed dismay at anyone who questioned the character of his soul. The mere idea that people might think he was anything other then a good guy truly upset him. But that didn't cause him to give pause and wonder if they might have a point. No, he just told himself that his critics didn't understand his true heart and that all he had to do was say the right things and stand around with the right people and everyone would know he had a good heart. The fact that he might stab people in the back right after using them as props really doesn't enter into his conscience. He knows he's a good guy and everyone else is just a fool for thinking otherwise.
There are many villains in this sordid affair, and Trent Lott is not foremost among them. He has belatedly been exposed as being David Duke with road kill pasted to his scalp, but Lott is not responsible for turning a backwater bigot into the leader of the United States Senate. It took a roster of scoundrels for that to occur.