Comedy, Washington Style by Steve Young Two Negroes walk into a South Carolina bar... now you go pick the punchline: - Shotguns aimed at their heads, they're asked nicely to leave - They're arrested trying to drink in a "Whites Only" bar. - At least they're not Jews. All great jokes, huh? Well, pretty much that's what CNN's Bob Novak -- and other defenders of Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott's "segregation works for me" gag told at Senator Strom Thurmond's 100th birthday bash -- would have you believe. Novak said on this past Sunday's Meet The Press that Lott as "kidding around." Funny stuff, huh? Guess it won't be long before Lott'll be taking over Carrot Top's AT&T Collect Call commercials. What Lott actually said was: >>> "I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for >>> president, we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest >>> of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all >>> these problems over all these years, either." Leno couldn't have made that one any funnier. To make this joke really work for you, you have to first understand that in 1948, Thurmond, then governor of South Carolina, was the presidential nominee of the Dixiecrat Party. During his campaign against Democrat Harry S. Truman, who supported civil rights legislation, Thurmond said, "All the laws of Washington and all the bayonets of the Army cannot force the Negro into our homes, our schools, our churches." Tell me you aren't falling on the floor laughing! Now let's imagine that Tom Daschle told a joke that if Hitler had won the war, we wouldn't have the problems we have today. Funny, huh? Think the Radio Talk gods would have given Terrible Tom a free pass on that one? Of course they would -- because it was a joke, right? I can just see the Washington comedy clubs filling up with Senators and Congressman trying to break into stand-up comedy. Just think of the hilarious targets and topics for material besides segregation! Anti-Semitism! Mental handicaps! Birth defects! Those crazy young soldiers coming home in body-bags. Seem a bit harsh? Come on, where's youre sense of humor?