Our Boy Trent | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Our Boy Trent

Is Lott an anachronism, or does he represent a stereotypical, but true, Mississippi that still denies its racist past?

As we go to press, the future of Mississippi's embattled Sen. Trent Lott is uncertain. His ringing endorsement of Sen. Strom Thurmond's 1948 Dixiecrat run for president on a racist platform might have taken a few days to crack the mainstream media, but it is now reverberating throughout the country. Suddenly, we have a national dialogue on race, whether we want one or not.

The question, for those of us who are Lott constituents, is if we will participate in that discussion in a meaningful way. Is Lott an anachronism in the face of fresh new attitudes in the state? Or does he represent a stereotypical, but true, Mississippi that still denies its racist past and prefers to elect statewide officials who pander to bigotry?

To hear him tell it during his redemption-seeking appearance on Black Entertainment Television on Dec. 16, Lott is a direct product of his home state and his upbringing. In effect, he opened up and blamed Mississippi on national television: "You are who you are by virtue of where you're born," he told Ed Gordon. "I didn't create the society I was born into. … There was a society then that was wrong and wicked. I didn't create it, and I didn't really understand it for many, many years."

This statement probably brought rolled eyes and harrumphs from many Americans, but white Mississippians—regardless of their race views—have to concede that it's difficult to understand this race-obsessed state where so many people, ironically, don't want to talk about race. This is a state where too many of us don't even know how retrograde and legally stratified race terrorism was in our state until recently; we can't be proud of where we've come, because we don't really know where we've been.

Indeed, the Lott flap may feel like Mississippi is getting beat up again—and there's a temptation to point out race problems elsewhere, in our defense. But the current controversy is also a history-altering opportunity if we take advantage of it. In many ways, the confused and blind path Trent Lott—and, indeed, the modern GOP—has followed is a historical metaphor for the wounded state of Mississippi.

The Party of Strom
C. Trent Lott was born Oct. 9, 1941, into a place and time mired in white supremacy. A firm system of "Jim Crow" laws (named after a derogatory minstrel song)—which legally required a separation of races and inequality for blacks—had been in place for decades. The Compromise of 1877 ended Reconstruction and allowed Southern states to enact harsh "black codes" and exact brutal "justice" for any black who dared to question the system. Fewer than 1 percent of black Mississippians—in a state with the highest percentage of blacks—could vote in the 1940s, and Mississippi led the country in the number of documented lynchings of blacks. The difference between southern and northern racism was the strength of law, and the thugs who enforced it.

The 1940s were pivotal politically because national leaders and some media had started to pay attention to the inhumane conditions for blacks in the South. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was lobbying for a federal anti-lynching law that would outlaw the vigilante beatings, hangings, burnings and castrations of black people, and allow the federal government to step in if the states didn't prohibit or try to prosecute lynchings. The code phrase was "states' rights"—it meant, in essence, no federal interference on the matter of how Southern states "disciplined" black people.

Unconscionable to white Mississippians, who were historically Democrats, Harry S. Truman was starting to embrace some forms of civil rights in the lead-up to his 1948 presidential nomination. This fact alone created the "Dixiecrat" revolt, and the beginning of the end of the Republican "party of Lincoln" that had helped free the slaves and get blacks elected to public office during Reconstruction.

Lott is increasingly fond of saying that he was only 7 years old when Strom Thurmond, the product of a rabidly racist family in Edgefield, S.C., ran for president with Mississippi Gov. Fielding Wright as his running mate. Like many Thurmond supporters, Lott's family was dirt-poor and resentful of the gains blacks had made in Mississippi since slavery ended and the state went from being one of the richest in the nation to one of the poorest. Lott told BET that his father was a sharecropper—meaning his family farmed another man's land, even as some blacks in the area owned their own farms.

The Thurmond platform was all about race, "states' rights" and fighting "Communism," an amorphous enemy that often included civil rights supporters. The 1948 sample Dixiecrat ballot warned: "A vote for Truman electors is a direct order to our Congressmen and Senators from Mississippi to vote for passage of Truman's so-called civil-rights program in the next Congress. …[A]nti-poll tax, anti-lynching and anti-segregation proposals will become the law of the land and our way of life in the South will be gone forever."

The Dixiecrats would lose the presidency that year, but the groundwork was laid for a bloody civil-rights battle and a historic party switch that led to the modern GOP of today. Fifty-four years later, on Dec. 5, 2002, Lott would appear to endorse that Dixiecrat platform, saying (white) Mississippians are "proud" of voting for Thurmond; 11 days later, in an abrupt turnabout, he would call the race climate of the Mississippi in which he grew up "wicked" during an interview on BET.

Who the Hell Were We, Hey
By the 1960s, the race battle in Mississippi was in full combat mode. After the 1954 Brown v. Topeka Board of Education decision called for desegregation of public schools—at the time, white-only public schools in the South were considered an institution to be "protected" at all costs—Mississippi exploded with race violence and demagoguery. Threats and economic reprisals were directed at anyone, of any race, who dared to speak out against the institutionalized segregationist structure.

The 1950s also saw the birth of a new organization that did the "uptown" work of the Klan, as Greenville newspaper editor Hodding Carter Jr. called it. Determined to prevent race-mixing by any means necessary, Robert "Tut" Patterson of Indianola (who, in 1995, was inducted into the Mississippi State University Sports Hall of Fame) gathered a group of upstanding merchants and community leaders to form the White Citizens Council, which would grow to 250,000 members in and out of Mississippi. For years to come the group would boycott, threaten and harass supporters of civil rights. Then, on March 29, 1956, the Mississippi Legislature created the taxpayer-funded Mississippi Sovereignty Commission to spy on "agitators" and "Communists" who were entering the state to help blacks fight for voting and other rights. This state institution was disbanded in 1973.

Mississippi's race curse was much more widespread and conspiratorial than the more de facto racism and discrimination of many other places and states. The state's powerful racist infrastructure—from Klansmen to business leaders, from local sheriffs to the highest state officials, from Sovereignty Commission investigators to local media—was virtually impossible to rip apart.

Around this same time, a young Trent Lott was attending Ole Miss. A member of Sigma Nu fraternity and a cheerleader who often carried a huge Confederate battle flag onto the field before football games, Lott was a senior in 1962 when a "miniature Civil War II," as columnist Bill Minor calls it, broke out the day James Meredith integrated the law school.

By most accounts, Lott wasn't active in race politics then; he herded frat brothers into the Sigma Nu house the night hell broke loose on the Ole Miss campus and encouraged them not to participate in the melee. But he later admitted to Time magazine that he had "segregationist" views then, and his frat brother and former CNN President Tom Johnson has now revealed that Lott lobbied to keep blacks out of his fraternity—offenses that can sound horrible in 2002, but were the mainstream in 1962.

Arguably, the question isn't whether adults—particularly today's political leaders—in that era held segregationist views, but whether they have held onto them.

A 'Southern Strategy'
Like many Southern politicians, Lott used his early Dixiecrat connections to build a national political career. At the same time, he and others that came to power in the early 1970s and 1980s assisted the Republican Party's plan to bring formerly segregationist Democrats into the GOP—Nixon's famous "Southern Strategy."

In the 1960s, following the momentous upheavals of the Civil Rights Movement—and especially the murders of civil-rights workers Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner in Neshoba County on Father's Day 1964—the political climate shifted. The national Democratic Party was ready to accept federal civil-rights reforms that would force the end of Jim Crow in the South. When President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, he famously remarked to then-press secretary Bill Moyers that he was handing the South to the Republican Party.

He was right. By then, Dixiecrats were overwhelmingly disenchanted with the national Democrats—and the Republican Party, after losses to Kennedy and Johnson, was ripe for a change. Thanks to a political strategy launched by Arizona's Barry Goldwater, and later by Californian Richard Nixon, the party of Lincoln would soon turn into the party of Strom.

A deliberate effort to use race to propel southerners into the GOP started before the ink dried on civil-rights legislation. The party that helped elect black Mississippians during Reconstruction would soon turn on most any federal legislation that showed a direct benefit to minorities, embracing or attacking key political phrases—affirmative action, welfare queens, entitlements, superpredators, ghetto violence—to scare white Americans into supporting the GOP. The party would become adept at using a double standard to attract both moderate fiscal conservatives and the growing political far-right.

Lott was one of the early Southern politicians to successfully switch from a Dixiecrat position to holding national office as a Republican. He went from being an aide to staunch Dixiecrat William Colmer (officially a Democrat) to running for his boss' seat after he retired in 1972—but as a Republican. The party name had changed, but the constituency was the same.

The Citizens Council, Again
The GOP transformation wasn't truly complete, though, until Ronald Reagan kicked off his bid for the 1980 presidential race at the Neshoba County Fair. Reagan thrilled most fairgoers, many of whom stood when the high-school band played "Dixie," and shocked more distant observers by resurrecting the phrase "states' rights," nine miles from the spot where the bodies of Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner had been found in 1964.

On a Nov. 3, 1980, Reagan campaign stop at the Coliseum Ramada Inn in Jackson—alongside John Bell Williams, Thad Cochran, Jon Hinson, Charles Evers and Strom Thurmond—Lott first publicly uttered the sentiment that may cost him his leadership position in 2003. Speaking of Thurmond, Lott said, "You know, if we had elected this man 30 years ago, we wouldn't be in the mess we are today," as reported then by the Clarion-Ledger. (Thurmond had just returned to one of his 1948 themes: "We want that federal government to keep their filthy hands off the rights of the states.")

Around this same time, Lott—who had attended Ole Miss law school and had rejected liberal views of constitutional rights—wrote his now-infamous friend-of-the-court brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court not to rescind the tax-exempt status of Bob Jones University on the grounds that it forbade interracial dating. Lott defended the prohibition as a religious belief: "If racial discrimination in the interest of diversity does not violate public policy, then surely discrimination in the practices of religion is no violation." He added, "The government now advocates penalizing Bob Jones University for its uncontestedly genuine religious beliefs." Lott, arguably, was more concerned about the precedent that the Bob Jones case could set. A positive ruling had the potential to support tax exempt status for Mississippi's network of "seg" (segregation) academies that had opened as soon as Mississippi schools were forced to integrate in 1969. (This brief was unearthed in 2000, but received very little media coverage then.)

Reagan's 1980 victory empowered the far right, which included race-obsessed men like Gordon Baum of St. Louis. Baum, who had been a field organizer for the White Citizens Council before it died out in the 1970s, had watched Mississippi's efforts to quash civil rights from a distance. He and his wife had signed a handwritten Jan. 30, 1965, letter to Sovereignty Commission director Erle Johnston Jr. supporting Mississippi's segregationist efforts: "We have the deepest respect for the battle you are fighting, and realize it in (sic) our behalf as well as your own. The great courage of the state of Mississippi is a constant source of inspiration to us, and an example for the nation to follow." The letter is now available for public view in Mississippi's Sovereignty Commission files.

Frustrated by increased Hispanic and Asian immigration, on March 7, 1985, Baum gathered about 30 men in Atlanta, including former Georgia Gov. Lester Maddox (who had made news by wielding a baseball bat at African-American customers in his diner), and the Council of Conservative Citizens was born. Using the old mailing lists of the White Citizens Council, the men quickly built a new membership of mostly southerners and midwesterners who agreed on race-based principles of segregation, "states' rights," sanctity of the Confederate battle flag, single-race dating and "European" ideals. Original Citizens Council founder Tut Patterson became a columnist for the Citizens Informer newspaper, which also ran a column written by Lott.

Baum has said (including to me in an interview in 1999) that his group is not racist, adding that "hate is in the eye of the beholder." But a perusal of CofCC materials and its Web site show that the group is undoubtedly race-obsessed, regularly blasting Martin Luther King Jr., non-white immigration, efforts to mothball the Confederate flag, the "mongrelization" of the races, and urging boycotts of corporations that sponsor the NAACP, including Budweiser, K-Mart and Wendy's. When the recent Lott flap erupted, the CofCC's Web site was paying tribute to Lott's suggestion that the United States back up the border patrol with the U.S. military to keep out illegal aliens.

The group claims some 15,000 dues-paying members in more than 20 states, including some three dozen state legislators in Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi. (Some experts believe that these numbers are inflated.) Baum takes credit for ousting Southern political candidates who criticize the rebel flag including Republican South Carolina Gov. David Beasley in 1998. He also claims to have helped get Lott enough votes in 1994 to win the majority whip slot in the Senate, which lead, eventually, to his position as majority leader.

Closing the Wound
In 1999, the media revealed Lott's close relations over the years with the CofCC (which rejects "CCC" as too much like "KKK"), meeting with its officers in his Washington office and attending several of its meetings. (Actually, both the Clarion-Ledger and the Village Voice had reported this fact in 1995, but the national media didn't pay attention then.) In 1994, Lott had addressed 400 CofCC members at its national board meeting in Greenwood. He ended his speech: "The people in this room stand for the right principles and the right philosophy. Let's take it in the right direction, and our children will be the beneficiaries!"

Lott told the media in 1999, during a brief dust-up, that he had no "firsthand knowledge" of the CofCC's views—a dubious defense: actually not knowing about such a political force in his state would be nearly as shameful as embracing it. (For years, even Democratic candidates in the state—Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck and Attorney General Mike Moore among them—have courted voters at ultra-conservative rallies, such as Black Hawk in Carroll County, an event started by the White Citizens Council in 1967.) As more CofCC revelations came out—especially that Lott's uncle Arnie Watson of Carrollton, a former CofCC officer, said Lott was a paid "honorary member"—Lott tried to distance himself further: "Any use of my name to publicize their views is not authorized, it's wrong," he said in a statement.

Lott survived the 1998 media storm with his career intact; he later even refused to support a congressional resolution by Rep. Bob Wexler, D-Fla., to condemn the racist views of the CofCC, allegedly because it targeted only one group. That refusal drew accusations of hypocrisy, though; Lott had passionately supported a similar resolution condemning the anti-white views of Black Muslim Khalid Muhammed.

Such inconsistencies—and a stream of anti-civil rights votes in Lott's congressional voting record—are beginning to pile up against him. He was against the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. He voted against busing to desegregate schools. He pressed to restore Jefferson Davis' citizenship. He voted against a motor-voter bill. He appears to be against every form of strengthening or extending federal civil rights and voting-rights policies. He wouldn't sign onto a resolution honoring Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner. He refused a request by Mississippi native James Barksdale, the founder of Netscape, to support retiring the Confederate emblem in our state flag. He opposed Bush's nomination of African-American judge Robert Gregory last year.

Of course, all that was before December 2002. This week, Lott stated unequivocally on BET that he supports affirmative action "across the board" and plans to form a task force on "reconciliation." Those statements, in turn, have drawn accusations that he will say anything to get through a tough spot. (To be fair, that might suggest that he has said things supporting segregationist policies for the same reasons—a desire to please a constituency more than his own heartfelt belief.) On BET, Lott went so far as to say that past leadership in Mississippi had been "immoral" and admitted that he had been a part of that leadership, although he said that he felt he had changed.

The danger, of course, is that today's GOP, built on a foundation of Nixon's "Southern Strategy" to reject the party's roots and lure segregationist voters, will try to excise only this one political tumor, rather than work on eradicating the racist cancer that has plagued the party for 30 years. Here in Mississippi, the risk is that we, as a state, will once again close our ears and our eyes to the race history that inhibits our progress and ability to function as a united community. Maybe Lott is simply a product of what this state has created by sending mixed messages about race and equality to our young people and to our elected officials.

If anything, the Lott controversy suggests that it's time to open the dialogue on race in Mississippi and throughout this country. Trent Lott himself has taken some steps, although whether they represent a gut-level change or just contrition for finding his hand in the cookie jar remains to be seen—assuming the GOP waits around to find out. But now it's up to Mississippi to take the next step—to continue to look for new, creative, positive ways to move toward reconciliation and understanding.

After all, Trent Lott was on BET the other day. What could be a clearer sign of changing times than that?

(Editor's note: On Dec. 20, Sen. Trent Lott stepped down as U.S. Senate Majority Leader. He will continue serving as Mississippi's junior senator.)

Previous Comments

ID
76701
Comment

I imagine a dream world government where the people we elect to represent us don't pretend to be something they are not & don't hide from their convictions & beliefs when confronted about them. I believe change is possible in an individual's character but far more likely is the age-old politician who says whatever he needs to to get elected. Whatever the popular opinion of the majority of voters in his home party becomes his public opinion. How can we really trust ANY politician to represent us that says one thing in public & in his heart & less visible actions supports the opposite ? How can we then retain faith in our country ? Both the Democatic & Republican parties are too big & too much of a good old boy network where it's members number one priority is a personal agenda of maintaining their career.

Author
Herman Snell
Date
2002-12-19T13:50:27-06:00
ID
76702
Comment

Nice article! How about doing all of us who love Mississippi a favor by demonstrating that Mississippi has changed--vote "Our Boy Trent" out of office.

Author
Gene Corbin
Date
2002-12-22T20:00:17-06:00
ID
76703
Comment

Today's top Times editorial challenges the GOP to shed its "southern strategy" of pandering to racist voters (as the JFP did in our Dec. 19 cover story). The Times begins: "President Bush must waste no time in moving beyond rhetoric to deeds if he means to convince the nation that the Republican Party, after decades of cynical voter exploitation, no longer has room for a 'Southern strategy' steeped in appeals to disgruntled whites. Mr. Bush promised as much in quickly signaling the purge of the Senate majority leader, Trent Lott, for his tribute to the old Dixiecrat politics of racist oppression. Mr. Lott's outrageous gaffe laid bare the antebellum underbelly of much of the G.O.P.'s modern campaigning in the South."

Author
ladd
Date
2002-12-29T12:39:57-06:00
ID
76704
Comment

There are some choices in store for everyone. Either the GOP disavows the Southern Strategy and takes its chances with Southern voters, or it does little besides martyring Trent Lott. If it takes this approach, it will likely try to shore up its image by dressing it up in a kinder, gentler, almost Bush-like "compassion." Those who wish to do so, will accept this facade and urge the rest of us to "move on." Mississippians have a choice, too. We can take a long, hard look at where we've been and what we've done, and finally give serious consideration to where we should go. Or we can, as we have many times in the past, simply pull the covers back up over our heads and wait for the ghosts to disappear. Trent Lott, too, has a choice to make. He can honor his recent promises to shed his segregationist past. Or, he can slip back into the the old party mantra and try to shore up his support. There is no progressive position he can take that will maintain his traditional voter base. They will flee him like the plague. They probably will, anyway, no matter what he does in the future, because he failed to stand up for "their" principles. If he attempts to move forward and thereby nudge Mississippi in the same direction, he will gain the respect of many, even if he loses any future elections. If he continues to pander to the meaner, baser instincts of those who put him in office, just to stay there, he will go down in history as being among the worst of Mississippi's villains.

Author
John Allred
Date
2002-12-29T17:54:29-06:00
ID
76705
Comment

I think it's worth returning to this article, because it speaks to the very live issue of whether Lott should be reelected in November. Obviously Katrina hadn't happened yet when this piece was written, but the basic argument still holds water: Do we want Trent Lott representing the state? And where does he stand on our state's history of racism? His objection to last June's lynching apology resolution is not particularly promising. The most relevant bit, which should be read and reread, is this one: In the 1960s, following the momentous upheavals of the Civil Rights Movement—and especially the murders of civil-rights workers Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner in Neshoba County on Father’s Day 1964—the political climate shifted. The national Democratic Party was ready to accept federal civil-rights reforms that would force the end of Jim Crow in the South. When President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, he famously remarked to then-press secretary Bill Moyers that he was handing the South to the Republican Party. He was right. By then, Dixiecrats were overwhelmingly disenchanted with the national Democrats—and the Republican Party, after losses to Kennedy and Johnson, was ripe for a change. Thanks to a political strategy launched by Arizona’s Barry Goldwater, and later by Californian Richard Nixon, the party of Lincoln would soon turn into the party of Strom. A deliberate effort to use race to propel southerners into the GOP started before the ink dried on civil-rights legislation. The party that helped elect black Mississippians during Reconstruction would soon turn on most any federal legislation that showed a direct benefit to minorities, embracing or attacking key political phrases—affirmative action, welfare queens, entitlements, superpredators, ghetto violence—to scare white Americans into supporting the GOP. The party would become adept at using a double standard to attract both moderate fiscal conservatives and the growing political far-right. Lott was one of the early Southern politicians to successfully switch from a Dixiecrat position to holding national office as a Republican. He went from being an aide to staunch Dixiecrat William Colmer (officially a Democrat) to running for his boss’ seat after he retired in 1972—but as a Republican. The party name had changed, but the constituency was the same. The GOP transformation wasn’t truly complete, though, until Ronald Reagan kicked off his bid for the 1980 presidential race at the Neshoba County Fair. Reagan thrilled most fairgoers, many of whom stood when the high-school band played "Dixie," and shocked more distant observers by resurrecting the phrase "states’ rights," nine miles from the spot where the bodies of Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner had been found in 1964. On a Nov. 3, 1980, Reagan campaign stop at the Coliseum Ramada Inn in Jackson—alongside John Bell Williams, Thad Cochran, Jon Hinson, Charles Evers and Strom Thurmond—Lott first publicly uttered the sentiment that may cost him his leadership position in 2003. Speaking of Thurmond, Lott said, "You know, if we had elected this man 30 years ago, we wouldn’t be in the mess we are today," as reported then by the Clarion-Ledger. (Thurmond had just returned to one of his 1948 themes: "We want that federal government to keep their filthy hands off the rights of the states.") Bottom line: My "he was saying something nice at an old man's birthday party" sympathies are really challenged by the fact that he had said this before in 1980, and the context under which he said it. There is a clear progression here. So what do y'all think? Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-01-23T20:14:49-06:00
ID
76706
Comment

Yes, its amazing he couldn't come up with something NEW and stupid to say... Instead of just saying the same old, tired stupid he had said once before. :)

Author
Lori G
Date
2006-01-23T20:39:28-06:00
ID
76707
Comment

No, you're absolutely right, Tom. I should have reminded you of this when you said that before. I think Mr. Lott's repetition of this meme probably has its own line in the Southern Strategy playbook. It was clearly coded racism, designed to get the "racist" vote. And I don't give a damn what's in someone's heart when they would do something like that over and over again. The state deserves better than people willing to play us all for a damned bunch of racist fools in order to get cheap votes. And, yes, quote me on that.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-01-23T21:24:56-06:00
ID
76708
Comment

I knew he'd said it in 1980, but I was thinking Thurmond was pushing 80 at the time and that it fell under the "be nice to the old man" clause. But to say it twice in public, more than 20 years apart, is troubling--particularly given the "states' rights" foolishness that surrounded the Republican movement in 1980. I still think the freakiest thing about all this is his total inability to convincingly apologize for the remark. It's like he was afraid of offending any segregationists who might be watching, and wanted to measure his words carefully so they wouldn't think he was on the other side. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-01-23T21:47:07-06:00
ID
76709
Comment

That's the curse we're living under still. But at least the southern strategists are getting old and less relevant. And we all have to continue telling them it's not acceptable. This is a new Mississippi—not the stupid, racist old one. Ironically, they are quick to say exactly that, while their actions say something completely different. I like to call it "wink-wink politics," as you probably know.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-01-23T21:59:18-06:00
ID
76710
Comment

It will be interesting to see how the voters will respond in November.

Author
Rep. Erik Fleming
Date
2006-01-23T23:25:57-06:00
ID
76711
Comment

Rep. Fleming:It will be interesting to see how the voters will respond in November. Philip: They will respond in the way the media happens to report it between now and November. It's still early in the game, so there's plenty of time to organize. As a Louisiana (firmly anti-Duke) resident at the time, the national media put Louisiana under such a microscope that there was NO WAY to separate Duke from the Image-of-the-state issue. While Lott almost certainly isn't down on Duke's level (Duke was/is an outright White Supremacist who spoke in much less veiled and much more poisonous code language than Lott did), Lott is still a symbol of many things best left well in the past. 10 months and counting.

Author
Philip
Date
2006-01-24T08:08:59-06:00
ID
76712
Comment

I don't think the media will play on that, to be honest. They may offer an occassional reminder that he made that offensive comment at the end of a story, i.e. his announcement, but it is obvious that they are more concerned about his post-Katrina clout, judging by the editorials in the dailies after his announcement to run again. My campaign has to be centered on the issues that affect Mississippians, pre- and post-Katrina, and told in such a way that they understand that change must happen. Most progressive people will remember his past of racially insensitive remarks without me even mentioning it. My challenge will be to convince people that his clout in Washington has not benefitted the masses here before, so why give him six more years? Like you said Philip, 10 months and counting...

Author
Rep. Erik Fleming
Date
2006-01-24T08:21:59-06:00
ID
76713
Comment

http://www.capmag.com/article.asp?ID=4371

Author
Kendrick Johnson
Date
2007-03-03T16:53:02-06:00

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