In a welcome development, Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee has announced that he will challenge Trent Lott for the Senate Majority Leader post. This CNN story contains the full story.
Trent Lott was a weak leader even before his comments about Strom Thurmond's segregationist policies. He valued pork over policy, and when he did take a stand against the excesses of the Democratic Party, it was for the wrong reasons. His socially conservative views, while popular with the social conservatives, alienated the moderates and swing voters either party needs to govern effectively. His comments on racial issues, gay rights, and abortion made him an easy target for the left-wing activist groups that targetted him relentlessly. Frist, while no squishy liberal like Lincoln Chaffee or Arlen Specter, presents a much better image than Lott and the good old boys from the southern wing of the party. He is conservative without being paleolithic, and his views on stem-cell research (while anathema to some pro-life activists) are, IMNSHO, the correct ones. Hopefully he will garner enough support from uncommitted GOP senators to topple Lott, who has been busy gathering supporters in the event of a leadership challenge.