From NBC's Mark Murray
It's official: Trent Lott narrowly defeated Lamar Alexander in the race for whip, which will make him the second in command of the GOP Senate leadership. At a just-concluded press conference announcing the Republicans' new leadership team, reporters asked Lott about his return to power. But he refused to answer. "The spotlight falls on him," Lott replied, pointing to Sen. Mitch McConnell, who will become the party's Senate minority leader.
But conservative blogs aren't as deferential -- they're not too happy about Lott's new leadership role. Said Jonah Goldberg on National Review Online: "If it's true that Lott has won his race, I think it's just another sign of how Republicans often fail to take politics seriously enough... I'm sure some people think he'd be a good whip. But, ultimately, who cares? The GOP has an image problem right now... Does the GOP really need a pork-loving Senator best known to average Americans — fairly or unfairly — as nostalgic for segregation?"
Dean Barnett on Hugh Hewitt's blog added, sarcastically: "Whoopee! If there's one message that the electorate sent the Republican Party last week, it's that we hadn't given them enough of Trent Lott. I cannot adequately express my delight that Senate Republicans have moved with such expediency to right this egregious wrong."