In a completely unforced error, Bob McDonnell has decided to declare April to be "Confederate History Month." Colossal blunder, and here's why.
A rock solid case could be made for declaring April "American Civil War History Month." It would be great for tourism and a disproportionate number of Civil War battles were fought in Virginia and Virginia has done a pretty good job of protecting these battlefields (as opposed to Georgia and Tennessee, for instance).
"American Civil War History Month" takes no sides, celebrates neither the Union or the Confederacy. Not so with "Confederate History Month." "Confederate History Month" takes sides, the Confederate side, and glorifies the "Lost Cause" and the men who died for it without regard to the inescapable fact that slavery caused the American Civil War.
It was to defend slavery that southern politicians invented the concept of "states' rights." It was to expand slavery into the territories that William Lowndes Yancey demanded that the 1860 Democratic convention adopt the pro-slavery Alabama Platform, and when that failed, it was to protect slavery that fire eaters deliberately split the Democratic Party and caused the election of Abraham Lincoln. It was to preserve slavery that these men then used Lincoln's election as the excuse for secession.
And Bob McDonnell wants to celebrate that. Commemorate that. Staking the prestige of the Commonwealth of Virginia on that.
Stupid blunder. Unforced error. Unskillful politics. Bob McDonnell just dinged his own pursuit of the 2012 Republican Vice Presidential nomination. How badly remains to be seen.