Sunday, May 19, 2019
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Unhinged by the right

originally written for Daily Kos.  Crossposted at Lowell's request

The video you have just seen, at least the first minute thereof, is a campaign ad for Rick Barber for the Republican runoff for the opportunity to oppose 1st term Democrat Bobby Bright in AL-02 (Bright won in '08 by 1,766 votes).

Ruth Marcus has this op ed in today's Washington Post, which has the same title as this diary, and which caused me to go find the video of the ad to be sure people saw it.  

Let me offer a few excerpts from her column, and a few words of my own.

Slavery Is a Mere “Nit” to Republicans

Here is a revealing interview of Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi, defending Governor Bob McDonnell's declaring "Confederate History Month" without ever mentioning slavery. Slavery is a "nit," says Barbour, as in "stop picking at nits."

Governor Haley Barbour and Governor Bob McDonnell are two birds of a feather in the same flock. Guess "R" for Republican stands for "Racist." Must be in the Republican DNA.

McDonnell Stirs Up Confederate Hornet’s Nest

Let me start with my Confederate heritage. Five of my great-great-grandfathers fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War. Two of them never returned to their wives and young children and lie in unmarked graves on battlefields. Another was a prisoner of war for a time.

Having said all that, I think the way Bob McDonnell chose to sneakily - and without mentioning slavery - proclaim April as "Confederate History Month" was both ridiculous and cowardly. Evidently, he was fulfilling a old campaign promise he made to the Virginia chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. In the process, he blew a hole in his "Mr. Moderate" image so big that Gen. Lee could have marched Pickett's division through it.

The Washington Post reports:

We've known for quite some time we had a good opportunity {for the proclamation} should he ascend the governorship," Brandon Dorsey of the Sons of Confederate Veterans said. He noted that McDonnell had indicated that back when he was interviewed by them during his 2005 attorney general's race.
In that same article, Sen. Emmett Hanger (R-Augusta), responded to the growing Confederate proclamation controversy. "It would be totally inappropriate to do [a proclamation] that would just poke a stick to stir up old wounds...I think it's appropriate as long as it's not fiery."

I don't know what Hanger thinks of as "fiery." Perhaps it has to be as bad as the diatribe former Gov. George Allen unleashed in his Confederate proclamation, which called the Civil War "a four-year struggle for [Southern] independence and sovereign rights" and made no mention of slavery.  McDonnell followed Allen in one sense. He also had no mention of slavery and simply called the Civil War "a four year war between the states for independence." (The entire text of McDonnell's proclamation in on his website.)

No, the Civil War was a war to preserve the institution of slavery in the South and to spread slavery to as many of the western territories as possible. The goals were to be achieved by seceding from the United States. The rationale used to justify the declaration of war by the Confederacy was states' rights and secession.