In response to Newt Gingrich‘s allusion to Pearl Harbor as a parallel to his campaign failure in Virginia, I offer the preface to a book called “With Lee in Virginia (A story of the American civil war)”, written by G. A. Henty. Published by Hurst and Company, New York, it does not identify a publication date or claim a copyright. The inscription indicates that this copy has been in the family since January, 1901. Antiques Roadshow type stuff. It doesn’t look anything like the cover from Amazon.
I found Gingrich’s comparison to an infamous attack to be arrogantly dismissive of the tragedy and horror of war. His scapegoating was an insult to the courage and sacrifice of our citizen soldiers and their families, as well as a testament to the empty rhetoric of “personal responsibility” that is fundamental to the conservative desire to re-engineer America. He also demonstrated ignorance of relevant laws and outright contempt for rules that hinder his agenda in any way.
His failure in Virginia, and his response to it demonstrate conclusively that he should only enter the White House with a visitor’s pass and a Secret Service escort.
On a more personal note, I have called the present ideological battles a political civil war. I thought it would be appropriate to momentarily revisit that point in our history.
Yes, it really is all one paragraph in the book…
“My Dear Lads:
The Great War between the Northern and Southern States of America possesses a peculiar interest to us, not only because it was a struggle between two sections of a people akin to us in race and language, but because of the heroic courage with which the weaker party, with ill-fed, ill-clad, ill-equipped regiments, for four years sustained the contest with an adversary not only possessed of immense numerical superiority, but having the command of the sea, and being able to draw its arms and munitions of war from all the manufactories of Europe. Authorities still differ as to the rights of the case. The Confederates firmly believed that the States, having voluntarily united, retained the right of withdrawing from the Union when they considered it for their advantage to do so. The Northerners took the opposite point of view, and an appeal to arms became inevitable. During the first two years of the war the struggle was conducted without inflicting unnecessary hardship upon the general population. But later on the character of the war changed, and the Federal armies carried widespread destruction wherever they marched. Upon the other hand, the moment the struggle was over the conduct of the conquerors was marked by a clemency and generosity altogether unexampled in history, a complete amnesty being granted, and none, whether soldiers or civilians, being made to suffer for their share in the rebellion. The credit of this magnanimous conduct was to a great extent due to Generals Grant and Sherman, the former of whom took upon himself the responsibility granting terms which, although they were finally ratified by his government, were at the time received with anger and indignation in the North. It was impossible, in the course of a single volume, to give even a sketch of the numerous and complicated operations of the war, and I have therefore confined myself to the central point of the great struggle – the attempts of the Northern armies to force their way to Richmond, the capital of Virginia and the heart of the Confederacy. Even in recounting the leading events in these campaigns, I have burdened my story with as few details as possible, it being my object now, as always, to amuse, as well as to give instruction in the facts of history.
G. A. Henty.”
As a bonus for those who were curious enough to slog through this post, I shall include an excerpt from the last page of the book (covering reconstruction):
“For the next three or four years times were very hard in Virginia, and Mrs. Wingfield had to draw upon her savings to keep up the house in its former state; while the great majority of the planters were utterly ruined. The negroes, however, for the most part remained steadily working on the estate. A few wandered away, but their places were easily filled; for the majority of the freed slaves very soon discovered that their lot was a far harder one than it had been before, and that freedom so suddenly given was a curse rather than a blessing to them.
Thus, while so many went down, the Wingfields weathered the storm, and the step that had been taken in preparing their hands for the general abolition of slavery was a complete success.
With the gradual return of prosperity to the South the prices of produce improved, and ten years after the conclusion of the rebellion the income of the Orangery was nearly as large as it had been previous to its outbreak.”
I found it an interesting glimpse into the past, but with points that still resonate today. It would be interesting to explore just how closely the book parallels the plantation-era ideology of the modern republican party, if I had the time. What is one of the most surprising things for me was to find that the book is still in print, on tape, and even Kindle.
Paul Goldman helps Newt Gingrich with Virginia ballot
Now that Slacker Newt has failed to meet the minimum requirements for getting on the Virginia primary ballot, he has decided that it would violate someone else’s rights if they did not get to vote for him. How modest.
All he needed was 10,000 valid signatures. Signatures vetted by his own party. That’s less than half of the population of the suburb I live in. In WI, Democrats are collecting an average of about 25,000 signatures/day to recall Walker. Even a minor politician should be able to collect 10,000 signatures in their own home state.
Basically, he is embracing every derogatory mis-characterization conservatives have aimed at liberals, and justifying liberal cynicism toward conservatives at the same time. IOKIYAR.
“According to press reports over the weekend,” continued Pascoe, “the Chairman of the Virginia Republican Party, per Section 24.2-545 of the Code of Virginia, has indicated that he will be certifying only two candidates for inclusion on the 2012 GOP presidential primary ballot. Based on our collective knowledge and understanding of the state’s election laws – including a previous successful legal action by Mr. Goldman as concerns a Democratic Party nomination process – we intend to formally challenge such certification for specific reasons to be detailed at the appropriate time.
Yet once again, the law should not apply to a republican. It’s just not fair. The dog ate his petition.
“Our mutual goal is to ensure that the voting rights of the citizens of Virginia are fully protected.”
So they have turned against the GOP voter suppression agenda?
“As with everything we do in the field of public policy, CFTR’s goal is to empower the individual, in the belief that a free choice in the marketplace of ideas is what Virginians want to have their leaders achieve in time for 2012 presidential primary.”
Whatever they are trying to say seems to have gotten lost in the confusion of ill-fitting catch-phrases. This is just meaningless BS.
If he had been applying for a job (which he was), and he failed to fill out the application before showing up for the initial interview, they would have shown him the door without wasting any more time on someone who had already failed key tasks and started making excuses.
Cirque du GOP is coming to Virginia. Enjoy the show, folks.
- Newt Lashes Out After Campaign Setback (huffingtonpost.com)
- Newt Gingrich Says His Failure To Make The Virginia Ballot Is Like The Pearl Harbor Attack (thinkprogress.org)
- Million Dollar Historian Newt Gingrich Compares Virginia Ballot Failure To Pearl Harbor (mediaite.com)
- Gingrich faces long odds to compete in Virginia presidential primary (washingtonpost.com)
First of all, Obama clearly stated that he would continue to enforce the law – which means that Gingrich’s “Palin™” example is a complete fallacy.
Secondly, the courts have determined that DOMA is unconstitutional – at least in parts.
Lastly, Obama is not dropping ALL defense of DOMA. He is only dropping cases that involve weaker protection of rights for a minority group historically discriminated against.
“After careful consideration, including a review of my recommendation, the President has concluded that given a number of factors, including a documented history of discrimination, classifications based on sexual orientation should be subject to a more heightened standard of scrutiny. The President has also concluded that Section 3 of DOMA, as applied to legally married same-sex couples, fails to meet that standard and is therefore unconstitutional. Given that conclusion, the President has instructed the Department not to defend the statute in such cases. I fully concur with the President’s determination.”
There is nothing impeachable here. Gingrich just wants to bring down the government in the grand GOP tradition of lies, fear-mongering, and prejudice.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost