Sean Wilentz says the Democrats and the media need to go beyond Lott and focus on the broader issue of the GOP's love affair with neo-confederates:
Inveterate Confederates The southern skeletons in the Bush administration's closet By Sean Wilentz Trent Lott's sudden ousting as Senate majority leader seems part of a calculated effort by Republicans, led by the White House, to kill the controversy over the party's alliance with neo-Confederate forces as quickly as possible. But like some sort of shameful partisan ghost, the spirit of that alliance still haunts the Republicans, and will continue to for a long time to come. The careful maneuvering by Karl Rove and the White House political team, in their efforts to disavow Lott without angering the party's neo-Confederate constituency, shows that the party's basic character has not changed. The Republicans' coded appeals to "states' rights" may grow a little muted for a time, but the GOP will remain the party of the neo-Confederates. And that connection will remain unchallenged until and unless the media, prodded by the Democrats, insist on looking into a great deal more recent and not-so-recent history, including how George W. Bush gained the Republican nomination in 2000, the neo-Confederate background of Attorney General John Ashcroft and the dark past of Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, whose vote on the Supreme Court installed Bush as president.Wilentz names names and outlines the many connections the Bush administration has to the cockroaches. He has provided plenty of ammunition for anyone who wants to continue the fight. Don't let this die folks. The soul of a great political party is at stake.