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Gov. McDonnell (R-Va.): slave to the Confederacy

"I know them both well, and I just want to say from the very beginning Bob McDonnell has had his pulse on the state of the economy that's facing Virginia right now. He understands that we need jobs, jobs, jobs. I will always be a Democrat, but as a Democrat, I am really impressed with this Republican candidate." Sheila Johnson, July 2009

Somehow, I don't think Gov. Robert F. McDonnell's (R-Va.) proclamation honoring "Confederate History Month" as a way to promote tourism in the Commonwealth was what Johnson, the billionaire co-founder of Black Entertainment Television, had in mind when she endorsed him. Can't wait to see how her posh Salamander Resort and Spa in Middleburg does its part to help the flow of tourists "to understand the sacrifices of the Confederate leaders, soldiers and citizens during the period of the Civil War, and to recognize how our history has led to our present." I don't even want to think about what kind of jobs that would entail.

McDonnell's six-paragraphs of "Whereas" is bad enough. What's more galling is his scrubbing any acknowledgment of the immoral institution of slavery from the proclamation. As today's editorial put it, "[A]ny serious statement on the Confederacy and the Civil War would at least recognize the obvious fact -- that slavery was the major cause of the war, and that the Confederacy fought largely in defense of what it called 'property,' which meant the right to own slaves."

McDonnell issued his historically inaccurate document, at the behest of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, on the Friday before Easter. Such courage. "I felt just as I've issued dozens and dozens of other commemorations, that it was something that was worthy of doing so people can at least study and understand that period of Virginia history and how it impacts us today," he said about Confederate History Month. That the subjugation and suffering of generations of blacks on Virginian soil isn't deemed worth studying or understanding is an outrage that must not be ignored or forgotten.

McDonnell came to office as the smiling conservative. A candidate who eschewed hot-button social issues in favor of jobs and the economy. He and his successful campaign were touted as a model for Republican candidates around the country. But McDonnell's slavery-denial document reveals a snarl behind the smile that should serve as a warning. Antebellum attitudes are thriving in the Age of Obama.

By jonathan capehart  | April 7, 2010; 8:59 AM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  jonathan capehart  
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Comments

It's all about satisfying the Republican base and the Tea Party mob.

Posted by: AndyfromVA | April 7, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

McDonnell comes across as needing to please all sides (at best) and as a closet far-right extremist trying to masquerade as centrist (at worst). I was very disturbed and disappointed by his response to the State of the Union, which was embarrassing for the State of Virginia. The setting was theatrical and phony (who were those people clapping so hard and why?), the words mere repetition of the standard talking points, and the little personal anecdote completely unoriginal and uninspiring. Weak. It was all show and no substance.

Then he erases gays from Equal Opportunity. And now this Confederate praise? With no updating? As if no time has passed between 1950 and now? He needs to show some intelligence and courage, and show respect for Virginians like myself who came there from other states and whose ancestors fought for the Union. Virginia is now quite diverse, like most of the rest of America. Can you imagine New York or Colorado celebrating Union History Month? It's poor leadership to keep divisive elements energized.

Posted by: cturtle1 | April 7, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Slavery wasn't THE major factor in the civil war although revisionists would have us believe this. Everything since the dawn of time must always be viewed as a "black & white" issue. The institution of slavery was already on its way out and would have been extinguished naturally just a few years later, anyway. No European nation would trade with the South and pure economics would have assured slavery's demise.

Posted by: gjdagis | April 7, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

I think this is refreshing that a republican can just say no to the civil war. I think we should continue to make it clear to America just how backwards the Republican Party in Virginia still is. Good work Governor. You looked like an extremist when you ran and you have proven. Keep working on these symbolic bs initiatives that waste time and hurt people. You will end up in the same scrap heap as George Allen. Some day there will be a republican that can focus on the economy and jobs and not this crap. Wake up Bob and do something. If you are not a serious governor QUIT. Take your Karl Rove crap and knock it off.

Posted by: HelloNewman1 | April 7, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

True believers will trash history before they will give up their point of view.

I had rather we study history. It takes a while to get it right.

Just look at all the "instant history" that was supposed to close the book on Iraq.

Rubbish at best.

It reminds me of "We have seen the future and it works."

Posted by: gary4books | April 7, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

This is McDonnell's first step in his run for the Presidency (2012 or more likely 2016).

Posted by: amaun | April 7, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

the Post is right the Civil War was about economy and the selling of crops to overseas merchants. Even fabled General Nathan Bedford Forrest was in the slave trade but got out of it because: " It's inhuman to trade in human bondage."

Posted by: tglasgow | April 7, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Cturtle you dead on in your assesesment of Mr Good Hair aka Bob Mcdonnell.

With regards to that SOTU response; I couldnt stop laughing. What a complete sham! The cameras focusing in on all minorties; including the black woman and asian man in the background of Mcdonnells dais. All in attempt to depict the GOP base as some diverse ethic rainbow. What a joke, the display was quite pathetic and couldnt be further from the truth.

Now he begins his administration first stripping rights for gays and now takes us back to the 1860's by celebrating the good ole stars and bars.

I have no problem with anyone celebrating their heritage; but the confederacy which stood for rebellion and continued suppression of blacks is not heritage that should be celebrated.

Shame on you good hair!

Posted by: McDonaldsEmployee | April 7, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

gjdagis wrote:
"Slavery wasn't THE major factor in the civil war although revisionists would have us believe this."

Ok, I'll bite. What was the major factor?

Posted by: amaun | April 7, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

The Civil War was about state's rights versus a powerful central government in Washington that has enslaved us all.

Posted by: ronasch56479 | April 7, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

So, the with "state's rights" the state could just "enslave" certain groups, while a powerful federal govt. "enslaves us all"!

Depending on where my sympathies lie, I could choose "state's rights" or the federal govt. dictating that state's (confederacy) do not have some of the rights they were fighting for.

So, isn't state's rights just a synonym for the right to enslave a group.

Posted by: amaun | April 7, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

ronasch56479 wrote:

The Civil War was about state's rights versus a powerful central government in Washington that has enslaved us all.

Those would be certain states' rights to continue slavery. You are enslaved only by your small mind.

Posted by: craigjjs | April 7, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

The New South, same as the Old South.

Posted by: paulrandall | April 7, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

I am 58 and when will Whites get over the Civil War? It is sad when a War has so much attention. War is full of hate, and just plain bloody so who wants to revisit that crap.

If one is Black it is not something we want to re-enact. And we are not. This is one time there will be a real fight.

It is good to have History but some have taken it to the limits. How can this country go forward when it is stuck in the past and drowning in Racism. How can anyone tell another country about their problems and mishandling of its people and still have such hatred in their hearts. So, "there are spots in your own eyes".

We have quite a problem all across America it is spreading like fire. And our children are the most vunerable. Why? They have not experienced it in "full throttle". And, I am afraid it is about to bubble over because of ignorance. Some have blamed President Obama for every crazy issue out there in the media. "Obama chews gum-oh there he goes: Obamagum" Stupid crap.

Posted by: Scar1 | April 7, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Well Capehart.
-- Its called the War Between The States (WBTS) not the "Civil War."
-- It actually happened....it killed 12% of the White male population in the South and devestated the country to the point it took 100 years to recover. The acts of herorism on both sides are legion (including black soldiers).

You can sneer and pander and primp and insult...but you can't change history...and the WBTS is part and particle of the history of the South and of the USA. You don't like it? Well, why not follow you Soviet models and erase history? (Oh yes, political correctness is trying to do just that).

Posted by: wjc1va | April 7, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

I find Sheila & Bob Johnson are fake. I remember when Bob was BROKE. To back racism is appalling. They knew he was racist before the election. Money has no color or Honor.

Posted by: lindarc | April 7, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Those here defending the proclamation should remember that it's only for "Confederate History." Talk about right-wing political correctness.

A "Civil War History Month" would have been enthusiastically supported by most history buffs and Virginians and would have helped build tourism. This pro-Confederate take, not so much.

I too can't wait to hear Sheila Johnson's spin on this one. She certainly was everywhere on TV during the campaign so I'm sure she'll have time to make a statement now.

Posted by: fairfaxvoter | April 7, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

You can sneer and pander and primp and insult...but you can't change history...and the WBTS is part and particle of the history of the South and of the USA. You don't like it? Well, why not follow you Soviet models and erase history? (Oh yes, political correctness is trying to do just that).

Posted by: wjc1va
----------------------------
That time in our history should be discussed just not honored and celebrated. You're right you can't change history. But you can learn from it. McDonnell hasn't learned anything. This pandering to the far right crowd is not going to get him to the presidency no matter how loud the teabaggers scream. 20% of the population is just that 20%.

Posted by: wmwilliams14 | April 7, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Of course, I fully understand the desire to recognize the valor and heroism of a band of anti-American traitors (seriously, there's no other apt descriptor for the CSA--they levied war against the United States, the Constitution's definition of "treason". Article III, Section 3).

That said, anyone who thinks that ignoring the root cause of the war--slavery--is appropriate for honoring that Confederate cause is completely turned around. If you want to honor a group, you have to honor its motivations, not try and pretend they were motivated by a kinder, gentler motive than what they actually claimed. The secessionist states--including Virginia--declared their motives openly and freely, and now those who claim to "honor" them are attempting to cast the Confederates as having fought for something different. That's the worst sort of revisionism, because rather than choosing a different set of facts to emphasize, it simply ignores the facts altogether.

But if you want to know the real reason I believe McDonnell's proclamation doesn't mention slavery, it's because before the SCV and other treason-sympathizers settled on pretending the Civil War was fought over some abstract concepts, they first attempted to argue (beginning in 1866 with the revisionist pseudo-history, "The Lost Cause") that "slavery" itself was just a negative word that the North had plastered to a rather genteel, mutually beneficial program that led to contentment and prosperity for all. Pollard's "Lost Cause" (the history from which the b.s. mythology takes its name) says that Southern chattel slavery was "really the mildest in the world; which did not rest on acts of debasement and disenfranchisement, but elevated the African, and was in the interest of human improvement...which made [the slave] altogether the most striking type in the world of cheerfulness and contentment."

This is part of the dogmatic crap that Klan sympathizers and treason apologists spouted for over a century, and many still believe it today. SCV is a group committed to "Lost Cause" mythology, so it's no surprise that a proclamation issued at their behest would avoid mentioning slavery.

Posted by: gerbilsbite | April 7, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

New state slogan:

"Virginia is for Loosers"
… who celebrate the
Confederacy,
the pinnacle of
anti-American
fear, hate, greed, and torture.

Thanks, Governor McDonnell!

Posted by: peterblaise | April 7, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

To borrow a disavowed Vatican comparison, golly gee, the poor Confederates are facing abuse just like the Jews.

Oh, I forgot. The Klan hates Jews as well as African Americans.

I'm sure the GOP will come up with a better victim comparison. When they call a press conference to announce it, we can call it Bull Run.

Posted by: twstroud | April 7, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

The SOUTH is rising again!

It was not a CIVIL WAR - it was a WAR OF NORTHERN AGGRESSION!

And our new General Cuccinelli and the NEW (soon to be president) of the Great Southern States President McDonnell shall rally the troops and polish the swords.

The Stars and Bars will soon fly again.

Come join us at the Second Amendment March!
LOCK AND LOAD!
Gen. Cuccinelli will address the reformed Army of Northern Virginia.

Posted by: kparc | April 7, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

The Confederacy is NOT A HERITAGE. Look, I went to college in the South and I can tell you first hand that the people who fly Confederate flags don't do it because of "heritage". It's a not-so-subtle declaration of the hatred for anyone who's different. I grew up in MD and when I told people that's where I from, I was branded a "forgiener". You never see people from Pennsylvania or New Jersey walking around with Union flags. These people want to go back in time when the white man ruled all. As for Mcdonnell, I didn't vote for him but it's not really suprising. The GOP will do anything they can to mobilize their ignorant, white christian base.

Posted by: jakeyrotten | April 7, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

We moved to Virginia in 1963 when I was in eighth grade. Since I had grown up in Ohio, I was surprised to live in a state where it seemed to matter if I were a "Yankee" or a "Rebel."

I lived in the Old Dominion until 1982, and I thought I saw significant changes. Whenever I return home to Fairfax, I see a much more modern, cosmopolitan area than the one I grew up in.

But I suppose in some ways, Virginia never really changes. The state that elected Doug Wilder governor also elected George Allen. The state that voted for Barack Obama in 2008 elected this troglodyte governor a year later.

Carry me back?

I don't think so.

Posted by: MichaelRappaport | April 7, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

The only color Sheila Johnson is concerned with is the color GREEN. Thats why she's a billionaire and old Capeheart is just another race pimp. Yeah, slavery was bad, we get that. So get over it.

Posted by: luca_20009 | April 7, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

The only color Sheila Johnson is concerned with is the color GREEN. Thats why she's a billionaire and old Capeheart is just another race pimp. Yeah, slavery was bad, we get that. So get over it.

Posted by: luca_20009 | April 7, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

George Allen also came to office in Virginia as a "smiling conservative." We later found out what was hidden behind the smile. Who says "we can't be fooled again"?

Posted by: drmerkowitz | April 7, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Personally, I think the more prudent proclamation would have been to recognize Viriginia's involvement in the Civil War, NOT some proclamation recognizing the Confederacy. Rather than favoring what in essence is basically a reminder of a failed uprising against the Federal Government, he should have instead focused on the overall impacts that Virginia’s actions in the conflict had from 1860 to present.

That said, some of the comments left here indicate to me that we need to really see our history in a far more nuanced view than just black and white—while the issues of states’ rights to hold a person in slavery was unquestionably the key sticking point of the war, there were also other issues as well. The war, like all others, was far more complicated than simple, seemingly cut & dried catchphrases most people don’t fully understand (in particular what States’ rights actually means and entails). We ALL need to learn and understand far more of our history than we do as it truly shaped today in ways both large and small—to borrow a phrase, if we don’t learn from our history, we’re eventually doomed to repeat it.

One thing I hear a lot in response to the view of the south having risen to protect the horrible institution of slavery is that it was on its’ way out, so even if the south hadn’t fought it was fading anyway and would have been gone in a few decades, making the main point the north fought seem like an over-reach. While there's no way to prove alternate histories, the fact that human traffickers (today's modern slavers) drag 14-17,000 people here to be de-facto slaves each year speaks volumes. I firmly beleive that the argument is spurious on the grand scale and that slavery would still officially be sanctioned in certain places in this country today.

Posted by: Cubby_Michael | April 7, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

A more inclusive proclamation should and could have included accolades to John Brown and what he fought and lost his life for and the citizens of VA who ran the underground railroad and also lost their lives for (both black and white). These people also fought and died for their beliefs in freedom. It's been 15 years since VA gave up their state song. I think the song "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" would be a fitting replacement (recorded by the group "The Band". It's time we recognized both fights for freedom from tyranny.

Posted by: pharrington | April 7, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

I urge everyone to write to the governor, a heinous human being for doing this. See this blog post on how to do it quickly and easy. Virginia isn't for Lovers now, It's For Racists. On that note, spend your money elsewhere this vacation season until this insulting proclamation is torn up and burned along with the Confederate flag.

http://nyliberalstateofmind.blogspot.com/2010/04/virginias-confederate-history-and.html

Posted by: rdl114 | April 7, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

A more inclusive proclamation should and could have included accolades to John Brown and what he fought and lost his life for

Posted by: pharrington | April 7, 2010 4:24 PM |

----------

The War Between The States started long before the first shot was fired at Fort Sumter. John Brown is one example of the assaults the Southerners suffered long before the first shot was fired at Fort Sumter.

John Brown was a convicted terrorist who sought to start a slave revolt (race war) in The South. For his crimes against the Federal government, John Brown was hung. Charles Manson and his followers were convicted of a similar plot in California.

----------

John Brown rented the Kennedy Farmhouse, 4 miles (6.4 km) north of Harpers Ferry in Washington County, Maryland, and took up residence under the name Isaac Smith. Brown came with a small group of men trained for military action. His group included 16 white men, 3 free blacks, 1 freed slave, and 1 fugitive slave. Northern abolitionist groups sent 198 breech loading .52 caliber Sharps carbines ("Beecher's Bibles") and 950 pikes (obtained from Charles Blair, in late September), in preparation for the raid. The arsenal contained 100,000 muskets and rifles.

link -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Brown%27s_raid_on_Harpers_Ferry

Posted by: hueygunner69 | April 7, 2010 10:43 PM | Report abuse

NewsBusters: Washington Post Assaults Bob McDonnell With Seven Hit Pieces In One Day
http://newsbusters.org/blogs/candance-moore/2010/04/07/washington-post-assaults-bob-mcdonnell-seven-hit-pieces-one-day

Posted by: StewartIII | April 8, 2010 1:25 AM | Report abuse

John Brown fought to free black women raped and abused and black men tortured and killed by white masters. The Confederate States fought the United States of America and committed tyranny and treason and terrorism. The blacks and whites, like John Brown, fought only for the black slave's freedom and liberation from rape, torture and hanging and the right to be called humans. If I was enslaved today, I, also would give me life to win freedom from my slavery. Equally important is the fact that slavery still exists in the US today - just google it or watch any documentary or made-for-TV movie. We as a nation, and a people, have not done enough and do not do enough to abolish slavery in this country. Today, the slaves are mostly female and they are black and white.

Posted by: pharrington | April 8, 2010 2:12 AM | Report abuse

Shelia, perhaps now you can run some tourist buses from your Middleburg Spa up to some of the Apple Orchards near Markham and Linden and give a tour of the slave quarters still standing at the two orchards there that attract all the tourists in September and October. Perhaps you can push your "slave quarters" tour in your Salamander Spa Brochure.

Posted by: pharrington | April 8, 2010 2:24 AM | Report abuse

Oh, hey, great idea from Texas Governor, let's secede from the US. Well, unlike back during our civil war, when the British and French were just too darned tired to come over again and re-take us, we may have some other people out there who might just take advantage of the situation and do just that. And, heck, then we wouldn't have to worry about state's rights anymore. You know, maybe those planners of 9-11 got it right. Look at how we are all turning on ourselves.

Posted by: pharrington | April 8, 2010 2:39 AM | Report abuse

Wow how quickly the ever hypocritical & intellectually dishonest Capehart, and his lemming liberal sycophants- as well as the rest of his assoicates at the Washington "We Have Always Hated Bob McDonnell" Post forget about this:

"Webb has suggested many times that while the Confederacy is a symbol to many of the racist legacy of slavery and segregation, for others it simply reflects Southern pride. In a June 1990 speech in front of the Confederate Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, posted on his personal website, he lauded the rebels’ “gallantry,” which he said “is still misunderstood by most Americans.”

Webb, a descendant of Confederate officers, also voiced sympathy for the notion of state sovereignty as it was understood in the early 1860s, and seemed to suggest that states were justified in trying to secede."

Defending the South has practially been a life’s work for Webb - a DEMOCRAT. Yet the WaPo, Capehart, and all you hypocritical and intellectually dishonest liberals didn’t see fit to explore this to any significant degree or to attack him as you have McDonnell

Democrat who suppports Confederacy - Kool
Republican who supports Confederacy - Bigot.

Posted by: HarleyQuinn1 | April 8, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Hey AndyFromVA - Whose base was Webb satisfying with his love of Confederacy?
Asshat!

Posted by: HarleyQuinn1 | April 8, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

fyi to mcdonnell - the union won the war...

Posted by: anniep2 | April 8, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

I'm from northern Minnesota, but I spent a third of my life in Mississippi and a quarter in suburban Maryland. For years I said that civilization ends at the Potomac.

Politically, Virginia is far more backward than the Magnolia State. Mississippi is always striving to move forward; while the Commonwealth is quite content to sit on top of the Red State dung heap.

Not all conservatives are racist. But certainly all racists are conservative. When combined with Mr McDonnell's well-known homophobic and anti-feminist views, his national appeal is minimal.

What's the new bumper sticker?
How about VIRGINIA TREASON MONTH?

Posted by: rbdave | April 9, 2010 10:44 PM | Report abuse

I'm from northern Minnesota, but I spent a third of my life in Mississippi and a quarter in suburban Maryland. For years I said that civilization ends at the Potomac.

Politically, Virginia is far more backward than the Magnolia State. Mississippi is always striving to move forward; while the Commonwealth is quite content to sit on top of the Red State dung heap.

Not all conservatives are racist. But certainly all racists are conservative. When combined with Mr McDonnell's well-known homophobic and anti-feminist views, his national appeal is minimal. How does this reflect on Liberty University?

What's the new bumper sticker?
How about VIRGINIA TREASON MONTH?

Posted by: rbdave | April 9, 2010 10:45 PM | Report abuse

McDonnell had to move to the center to win in Virginia, but because he's term limited he now wants to appeal to the Tea Party dingbats in order to set himself up for a VP run in 2012. That means playing in the Palin league of crazy racist jackass.

Posted by: light_bearer | April 10, 2010 2:55 AM | Report abuse

Sadly, this is not the only Civil War History scandal in Virginia.

See:

http://notionscapital.wordpress.com/2010/04/09/civil-war-shame-in-virginia/

Posted by: MikeLicht | April 10, 2010 11:24 PM | Report abuse

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