Senate Awaits New Majority Leader

  • Share
  • Read Later
WASHINGTON, D.C.: As Bob Dole's resignation from the Senate took effect Tuesday, the easy favorite to succeed him as Senate majority leader, Mississippi Senator Trent Lott, prepared himself for a Republican Conference confirmation vote due Wednesday. Lott, who is far more conservative than Dole, has been Senate majority whip since the 1994 election, and the relationship between the top two Republican leaders in the Senate had been rocky at times. "Lott is qualitatively different from Dole," says TIME's James Carney. "He is a creature of the House that Newt Gingrich built and as a result we will see more unity between the Senate and the House. He will be clued in to what the House is doing and more able to demand moderation when he feels the Senate is unlikely to pass a piece of legislation." At the same time, there's a pragmatic streak behind his firebrand conseravtism. By Tuesday, Carney reports, he had sewn up the GOP vote with the support of Republican moderates. Lott's ascension will mark a trend since the '80s that saw the emergence of a new style of conservative Republicans. "This is a top-down takeover," says Carney. "And there are very few self-styled Republican moderates left." Still, until the November elections, Lott is likely to be Dole's man in the Senate, taking his cues from the Dole campaign on how best to support the Republican candidate. "It won't be until after the elections, especially if the Republicans lose the White House and keep Congress," says Carney, "that we will see the real Trent Lott emerge." Josh Dubow