McDonnell the Moderate????
I had to laugh with mock surprise when I heard that Bob McDonnell had plan to announce that April was Confederate History Month in Virginia. His explanation for the designation also made me grin from ear to ear. He claimed that he did it to boost tourism in the state, culminating with the anniversary of the Civil War.
You may wonder why I laughed. It’s because a Republican will in so many cases show their true colors. McDonnell ran a superb campaign prior to his victory in November. Running on a moderate conservative platform mixed with a healthy distance from social issues was his strategy, and it worked well.
To top it off, McDonnell received the endorsement of Sheila Johnson Crump, who happens to be the former spouse of BET founder Bob Johnson If this didn’t seem like heaven for McDonnell, it gets even better. Douglas Wilder, who was the first African American governor of Virginia(and a Democrat) decided to not endorse the Democrat running for Governor, and just stay out of the race. All of this helped McDonnell garner a respectable 9% of the African American vote.
With all of the love he received from African-Americans in his state(from a former governor to a billionaire), you would think he’d be smart enough not to pull a stunt like this. The complete racial insensitivity in McDonnell’s move is just part of a larger Republican stance when it comes to relations with African-Americans. Of course slavery wasn’t the sole reason for the Civil War, but to argue that it was so insignificant as to not even get a mention is absurd.
Of all the things he could do to pander to the ignorant base of the Republican Party in Virginia, this was the worst decision. Part of me thinks he will bounce back from this and not lose too much political footing. Another side of me hopes he gets hammered politically for this epic blunder.
At least he had the sense to eventually apologize, after some arm twisting. A few days after the story broke, Johnson Crump released a scathing rebuke of the governor’s decision.
Crump stated that, “The complete omission of slavery from an official government document, which purports to be a call for Virginians to ‘understand’ and ‘study’ their history, is both academically flawed and personally offensive. If Virginians are to celebrate their ‘shared history,’ as this proclamation suggests, then the whole truth of this history must be recognized and not evaded.”
Its amazing what a deep pocketed political supporter getting upset with you can do. Don’t worry folks….something like this will happen again. The party of Strom Thrumond, Jessie Helms, and Jim Demint will let their true colors show, and their honest opinions of minorities.