Trent Lott basically told the American people that segregation and discrimination would have made this a great country, had Thurmond been elected. I think that if Trent Lott had any dignity, self respect, or sense of shame he would have resigned after that. But when have you ever known a Republican to possess those qualities?
Lott's racist comments in support of Strom Thurmond righteously doomed him to obscurity. As a Republican Senate leader, he was entrusted with the responsibility to righteously represent all people. By voicing support of an avowed racist, he disenfranchised the race Thurmond railed against and demonstrated that he was unfit to hold a public position.
I believe Trent Lott was drunk when he made those comments, and they were stupid ones. We have all gotten drunk and said stupid things before. So I do not think Lott should have to resign for this. We can't constantly be punished for our mistakes and continue paying for them.
I think that when a public figure makes any sort of remark that is offensive and in bad taste should simply apologies. Resigning it taking it too far, his mistake should be held in front of him so that he will do a better job in the future, not just take the easy way out.
I do not think that Trent Lott should have had to resign over his comments at Strom Thurmond's birthday party. I think that his words were misunderstood and taken out of context. I think people only made an issue out of it because of who Strom Thurmond was and not because they were truly offened by it.