The Campaign Spot

GOP Governors Shouldn’t Be Lincoln Themselves to Confedera-philia

As I mention in the introduction, today’s edition of the Jolt arrives later than usual, not because of Chaka but by my writing ability’s near-obliteration by an 11-hour car ride. North Carolina flew by, but I had to be more careful in my home commonwealth, since other drivers tell me Gov. Bob McDonnell is closing the state’s budget gap, one speeding ticket at a time . . .

I Await the 12-Part Ken Burns Miniseries on McDonnell’s Governorship

Speaking of Bob McDonnell, how many governors have stepped in it as needlessly as he has in the past week? He’s apologized, and Rich offers a useful quote for further discussions of the subject.

When it comes to the problems facing Virginia, I’d rank insufficient commemoration of Confederate History Month somewhere between 1861st and 1865th on the list. Beyond that, I think Ed Morrissey puts it well: “As a history buff myself, I agree that it’s important to study history, but that doesn’t require a Confederacy Appreciation Month, which is what this sounds like.  McDonnell could have broadened the perspective to a Civil War History Month, which would have allowed for all of the issues in the nation’s only armed rebellion to be studied. This approach seems needlessly provocative and almost guaranteed to create problems for Republicans in Virginia and across the country.  It might have a short term effect of strengthening McDonnell’s attachment to his base, which didn’t appear to be threatened at all in the first place.”

. . . As Ed notes, Southerners often accuse those outside the south of not “getting” the attachment of Southerners to the Confederacy. He’s right, we don’t; Confederaphilia strikes me as being wildly enthusiastic and nostalgic about the Whiskey Rebellion as more than an excuse for drinking. Outside the South, perhaps instruction on that era is oversimplified into the Union being good guys and the Confederacy being bad guys. But when a guy says he’s really proud of his heritage, and then seems to relentlessly focus on the four years of his heritage that constituted violent insurrection against our government from a conflict that ultimately stemmed from whether a man is actually a man or whether he could be cattle based on his race . . . well, he begins to perform that era’s amputory surgery on the benefit of the doubt in a lot of non-Southerners’ minds. What’s more, once you start loudly touting the little-known facts of how the Confederacy was underrated, a lot of folks tune out anything else you might say.

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