Ponnuru, McDonnell And The Great Virginia Grovel—If They Won`t Stand Up For The South, They Won`t Stand Up For America


[See also
The New Intolerance--Hatred Of The South Is Hatred Of America, by Patrick J Buchanan]

GOP Virginia Governor Bob
McDonnell`s proclamation of

Confederate History Month
has created yet another
case study of left wing and

minority hyperventilation
coupled with craven
Republican groveling.

McDonnell revived the tradition of
proclaiming Confederate History Month in April that his
two Democratic predecessors, Tim Kaine and Mark Warner,
had abandoned. The

proclamation
itself was perfectly innocuous. It
simply encouraged tourism based on the upcoming

sesquicentennial
of the Civil War by acknowledging
the many great Civil War and Confederate landmarks in
Virginia. It celebrated the
bravery
of

Confederate soldiers
—but also their
reconciliation to the Union after the Civil War.

 

McDonnell`s great sin, however, was
that he
did
not mention slavery
. The reactions were predictable.
Kaine, now Democratic National Committee Chairthing,
wailed,

"Governor
McDonnell`s decision to designate April as Confederate
History Month without condemning, or even acknowledging,
the pernicious stain of slavery or its role in the war
disregards history, is insensitive to the extraordinary
efforts of Americans to eliminate slavery and bind the
nation`s wounds, and offends millions of Americans of
all races and in all parts of our nation…

"A failure to
acknowledge the central role of slavery in the
Confederacy and deeming insignificant the reprehensible
transgression of moral standards of liberty and equality
that slavery represented is simply not acceptable in the w:st="on">America
of the 21st century."
[DNC
Chairman Tim Kaine Statement on Gov. McDonnell`s
Proclamation Declaring April Confederate History Month
,

PR Newswire, April 7, 2010]

Of course, it is only to be
expected that Democrats, who depend on their African
American base, would make this sort of self-righteous
noise.

But, as with the

Lott lynching
in 2002, the
equally
self-righteous Right, led by
National Review
,
followed suit.

NR Editor

Ramesh Ponnuru
used his special status as token
“conservative” blogger at the
Washington Post
to pontificate that McDonnell`s

“…failure to
mention slavery was a moral and historical mistake; it
is also, I think, a political one. Gov. McDonnell has
been widely hailed–and I`ve been one of the hailers–as
showing Republicans the way toward rebuilding a national
majority. One of his accomplishments during the campaign
was to show that blacks are welcome, indeed sought
after, in his coalition. This move undercuts that
effort, which damages Republicans and conservatives not
only among blacks but among non-black voters as well.

“The governor
should acknowledge his error and strive to repair the
damage.”
[A
Provocative Proclamation
,
Ramesh Ponnuru
,
Washington Post`s
Right Matters, April 7, 2010]

It is difficult to say how McDonnell was
“historically wrong” in the proclamation. It made no factual error
and simply offered no interpretation of the war`s
causes. And I`m not sure what`s not
“moral” about
promoting tourism.

As for the politics, McDonnell`s great outreach to
blacks amounted to procuring the endorsement of Black
Entertainment Television founder Sheila Johnson, and
persuading former black Democratic Governor L. Douglas
Wilder to stay out of the gubernatorial race entirely.
Needless to say, Johnson and Wilder—who had actually

saluted
the Confederate flag on a notable occasion

in 1999
—both

attacked
McDonnell over the proclamation.

Yet what did their support/non-opposition amount to?
McDonnell received a whopping nine percent of the black
vote—an improvement of one percent over McCain. But
McDonnell received 67% of the white vote, who made up
78% of the Virginia electorate. McDonnell`s new
“coalition”
was White Republicans, White Democrats, and White
Independents.

But this pseudo-outreach made
Ponnuru and other GOP publicists instantly declare
McDonnell a national leader, and he was duly given the
response to Obama`s State of the Union.

Not wanting to lose this status,
McDonnell groveled in time-honored fashion:

“The failure to include any reference to slavery was a mistake, and for
that I apologize to any fellow Virginian who has been
offended or disappointed. The abomination of slavery
divided our nation, deprived people of their God-given
inalienable rights, and led to the Civil War. Slavery
was an evil, vicious and inhumane practice which
degraded human beings to property, and it has left a
stain on the soul of this state and nation. In 2007, the
Virginia General Assembly approved a formal statement of
`profound regret` for the Commonwealth`s history of
slavery, which was the right thing to do.
[McDonnell
issues thorough apology for leaving slavery out of
proclamation
,

Washington Post,
April 7, 2010]

This groveling is nothing new in
Virginia. When, pre-Macaca,
GOP Senator George Allen was touted as a potential
presidential candidate, many leftists

made a lot of the fact
that he had a

noose
outside his office as a District Attorney and
a Confederate flag in his house. Rather than defend his
positions, Allen

co-sponsored
a resolution to apologize for lynching.

Indeed, Virginia Republicans have
been perfectly happy to make political attacks on any
recognition of the South`s heritage when it suits them.

Thus in 2002, Ben Jones—who is best
known for his role of Cooter in the
Dukes of Hazzard—ran
as a Democrat against Eric Cantor, now Republican minority Whip,
in Virginia`s seventh congressional district. Jones
campaigned in the famous

General Lee
—a bright orange

Dodge Charger
with a

Confederate flag
painted on the roof—from the TV
show. Cantor responded by releasing fliers asserting
“He proudly flies the Confederate flag and is making
Southern heritage a major part of his campaign,”
in
contrast to Cantor who
“believes
everyone is entitled to their own opinions about
Southern heritage. However, he is a United States
Congressman, and he is focused on the issues of TODAY."

[Wilder
chides Democrats for Jones` use of Confederate flag
,
Bob Lewis, Associated Press, September 19, 2002]

Ostensibly, a lot of the outrage at
McDonnell is not so much because of his declaration of
Confederate History Month, but because of his failure to
mention slavery. But the fact is that slavery gets

plenty of attention
from all levels of American
government. Virginia issued the

formal apology
for slavery that McDonnell now says
he supports. The U.S. House of Representatives also

passed
an official apology. Fredericksburg, VA is
currently creating $200 million National Slavery Museum
paid for by corporations and tax payers. It has had some

funding problems
, but we can be sure this
controversy will be used to get McDonnell to pony up
some more money.

In contrast, The Museum of the
Confederacy in w:st="on">Richmond had to

sell its building
in 2007 just to have enough money
to take care of its archives. Robert E Lee`s boyhood
home in Alexandria, VA received so little funding that
the trust had to

sell it to a private owner
. Meanwhile, the city of
Alexandria, which already has a
black
history museum
, is spending millions to restore an

old slave cemetery
.

In 2007, when Barack Obama was
asked where a Confederate flag should be displayed, he
responded

“in a museum.”
But it turns out we aren`t even
allowed to have museums.

The issue
of Southern Heritage goes far beyond the Civil War.
Personally, I believe that the South`s decision to
secede was

imprudent
and was indeed done largely to preserve
the institution of slavery—but it was nonetheless
constitutionally justified. However, the reason I oppose
the modern attacks on the Confederacy is that they are

really attacks on America.

For
better or worse, many American heroes owned slaves. And
most prominent Americans through the mid-twentieth
century held

views
that would be denounced as
“racist”
today. Even

Abraham Lincoln
stated that
“I am not, nor
ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the
social and political equality of the white and black
races.”.
” [Fourth
Lincoln-Douglas Debate, Charleston, Illinois
,
September 18, 1858]

If we need to apologize for and
remove all semblances of racism, then we may as well
abolish all of

pre-MLK-redeemed America
.

In fact, exactly this is already
happening. In 1992, the city of New Orleans issued a
policy to rename all public schools named after slave
owners and started with

Robert E. Lee
and

P.G.T. Beauregard
. It didn`t stop there, and changed
George Washington Elementary to honor black Dr. Charles
Drew who is

falsely credited
for advances in blood transfusion.
According to

activist Carl Galmon
who helped lead the fight:
“Why should African-Americans want their kids to pay
respect or pay homage to someone who enslaved their
ancestors?…To African-Americans, George Washington has
about as much meaning as David Duke.”
[Blacks
Strip Slaveholders` Names Off Schools
,
By Kevin
Sack, New York
Times,
November 12, 1997]

In 2000, the sponsor of a bill that
would require w:st="on">New Jersey students to
memorize parts of the Declaration of Independence
withdrew the bill after
black legislators called it
“exclusionary and
insensitive."
Noting that Thomas Jefferson owned
slaves, black state senator

Wayne Bryant
said,

You have nerve to ask my grandchildren to recite [the Declaration].
How dare you? You are now on notice that this is
offensive to my community.”

[Black
legislators stall bill on Independence pledge
,

Andrea Billups, Washington Times, March 1, 2000 See also

Former Sen. Wayne Bryant gets four years in prison for
bribery, fraud
,
By Paul Cox,
The Star-Ledger
July 25, 2009]

If the Republican Party and the
Establishment conservative movement
cannot
stand up for the South
, then we cannot expect them
to stand up for America.

Ellison Lodge (email
him) works on Capitol
Hill.