Home > Politics > McDonnell apologizes for error in Confederate History Month

McDonnell apologizes for error in Confederate History Month

Governor Bob McDonnell, jackass of the week:

Facing a national political firestorm and criticism from local allies, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell apologized Wednesday night for not including any reference to slavery in a proclamation he issued last week honoring Confederate History Month.

“The proclamation issued by this Office designating April as Confederate History Month contained a major omission,” McDonnell said in a statement. “The failure to include any reference to slavery was a mistake, and for that I apologize to any fellow Virginian who has been offended or disappointed.”

The governor did not rescind his original statement but added language recognizing slavery and stated flatly that the practice led to the Civil War – a widely accepted historical view but one that may stir anger among the corps of Lost Cause traditionalists who liked his original statement.

This story just keeps getting worse.

Things like this fortify my deep-rooted belief that Republicans will always find a way to shoot themselves in the foot somehow.  McDonnell had built himself a good national following after his winning election back in November, part of a resurgent Republican mini-wave, if you will.

Declaring April as “Confederate History Month” was asinine enough–but excluding any reference to slavery, just adds to the idiocy, not to mention the political toxicity.  Who knows, maybe McDonnell doesn’t want to further his political career.  Maybe he just doesn’t care.  Then so be it.   Still, I’m scratching my head at this whole episode. 

Larry Sabato:

“I’m amazed, because McDonnell is smart and he and his staff have been so careful to be inclusive and not fall into the usual trap for a Republican of being defined by the words and symbols of Ol’ Virginny,” said Larry Sabato, a University of Virginia professor and longtime student of his home state’s politics.

And, Sabato said, the issue will dog the ambitious governor in the future.

“This is now a permanent part of McDonnell’s political file,” he said. “[McDonnell] had shrewdly separated himself from [conservative Attorney General Ken] Cuccinelli’s fringe mischief, but now he’s being lumped together with him. McDonnell wants to be a man of the 21st century but now, in the national mind, he’s more associated with the 19th.”

Just a dumb move no matter how you look at it.

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