Howard Kurtz: McDonnell's Civil War Blunder
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By Howard Kurtz
Friday, Apr 9, 2010
The Washington Post
How on earth does a new governor manage to make it seem that he's condoning slavery--or oblivious to its evils?
You would think that Robert McDonnell would have plenty to do in Richmond since taking office during a harsh recession. And the Confederacy is such a loaded subject, with constant state battles in the South over its flag and its symbols, that the danger of misfiring is great.
And yet Virginia's chief executive issued a Confederate History Month proclamation that was so horribly flawed, so politically tone-deaf, that he had to apologize within 24 hours.
The media coverage--front-page story in The Washington Post, stinging editorial in the Richmond Times-Dispatch--made that inevitable. The Civil War may have started 150 years ago, but it lives on in the 21st-century culture wars.
The clearest sign that the Republican governor had dug himself into a deep historical hole is that a number of conservative commentators turned on him, and others applauded his apology.
The war of secession is embedded in the culture as soon you get south of the Potomac River. I can remember listening to a tour guide in South Carolina talk about how the Yankees attacked our boys at Fort Sumter. Virginia celebrates Lee-Jackson Day, honoring Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. Lee's birthday is honored along with MLK Day in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia and Mississippi...link to complete article