Man Without Qualities

Monday, December 16, 2002

The Silver Penned Mr. Morris

Dick Morris scribes an interesting take on the fate of Trent Lott, including this curious passage:

Let's start with the fact that I have known Lott for 15 years and have had, perhaps, a hundred or more meetings with him. I got to know him better than any American politician other than Bill Clinton. He is no racist. There is not a racist bone in his body. That's why one third of Mississippi blacks vote for him, year after year.

This is all that Mr. Morris has to say about his personal dealings with Mr. Lott in this column.

But Mr. Morris' dealings with Senator Lott go well beyond having "known Lott for 15 years and hav[ing] had, perhaps, a hundred or more meetings with him." In fact, Mr. Morris ran Senator Lott's campaigns in 1988 and 1992.

For what it's worth, the Man Without Qualities believes that Senator Lott cannot and should not be left in his position as Senate Majority leader - and in all likelihood will not hold that position for more than a few weeks. But the Senator is probably not a worse person than most under the Capital Dome - and certainly not worse than many of his current critics. So, from my perspective, there is nothing wrong with Mr. Morris having worked for Mr. Lott.

But this column of Mr. Morris’ addresses Senator Lott's political history and in large measure defends the Senator in his time of crisis, and it would have been appropriate for Mr. Morris to specifically state that he, Mr. Morris, played a substantial part in that political history and that some of the actions being defended in the column were likely the result of Mr. Morris' own advice to Senator Lott. The paragraph from the column excerpted above actually seems to mislead the reader on that account.

Perhaps the most charitable construction of this column is that of a loyal friend spending some personal credibility in aid of a former benefactor.

UPDATE: The Note suggests that this column represents Mr. Morris "reminding the world that he is/was a long-time adviser to Lott." Perhaps that's true of the very small part of the world that already knows that Mr. Morris is/was a long-time adviser to Lott. Otherwise, the comment is inexplicable,

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