Old People are not Cute
Strom Thrumond is 100 years old. That does not make him admirable, respectable, or a hero. So when Trent Lott says:
...When Strom Thurmond ran for president we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had of followed our lead we wouldn't of had all these problems over all these years, either.
just remember that when Strom Thurmond ran for president, he said this:
... there's not enough troops in the army to force the southern people to break down segregation and admit the Nigra race into our theaters, into our swimming pools, into our homes, and into our churches
UPDATE Atrios has more on the subject here.