I am Tom Freeland, a lawyer in Oxford, Mississippi. The picture in the header is my law office. I'm on Twitter as NMissC

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Politico story about Governor Barbour’s statement about the civil war

There’s an article on Politico by Robert McElvaine, history professor at Millsaps, remarks from Governor Barbour about the Civil War.  The key quote:

But he has now made a forthright declaration about the events swirling around what some Southerners still call the War of Northern Aggression. “Slavery was the primary, central, cause of secession,” Barbour told me Friday. “The Civil War was necessary to bring about the abolition of slavery,” he continued. “Abolishing slavery was morally imperative and necessary, and it’s regrettable that it took the Civil War to do it. But it did.”

The article goes on to talk about attitudes from Mississippi leaders in the early sixties about the Civil War, and note that Barbour’s quoted remark amounts to a sea-change and big news:

It’s significant for two reasons: First, it sounds like Barbour is indeed running for the GOP presidential nomination. Second, it suggests that Mississippi has changed considerably since the 1960s.

Online reactions vary from Ta-Nehsi Coates, who thinks the remarks commendable, to Matt Yglesias, who Coates says “smirks” at this quote.  Strangely, Yglesias then goes off on a very odd tangent about what might have happened had Henry Clay won the election the 1844 election– hey, maybe no Civil War! Separate countries for California, Texas, and Deseret (that would be Utah)!  I have to ask what brought that on.

And while on the subject of odd predictions of the future (or whatever Yglesias’s counterfactual tangent was), there’s Newt Gingrich’s remark this weekend , which make an interesting contrast to Barbour’s calm and sensible statement about the Civil War:

I have two grandchildren: Maggie is 11; Robert is 9,” Gingrich said at Cornerstone Church here. “I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time they’re my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American.

Should someone ask Newt if those secular atheists he’s predicting are also the radical Islamists, or is it that in the secular atheist future they’ll have no idea what it once meant to be a radical Islamist?

11 comments to Politico story about Governor Barbour’s statement about the civil war

  • Anderson

    Gingrich’s statement, like Donald Trump’s birther nonsense, demonstrates how pandering to an ideological base allows a candidate to say any crazy thing he pleases without any danger of being called to account.

    The downside ought to be that voters outside the base would be turned off, particularly in this internet era when the record of such statements is so easy to come by. But few voters take much trouble to stay informed; the media have done a miserable job of calling a duck a duck; and some of the informed voters are cynical enough not to care what a Gingrich or Palin says, provided they expect any GOP winner to lower their taxes and appoint conservative judges.

  • NMC

    One reason I added the Gingrich quote to the post is as contrast, and out of puzzlement.

    Why is the press parsing what Gov. Barbour says about southern history so closely but yet virtually ignoring flat-out crazy things that other near-candidates are saying?

    I know why I focused on that first couple of rounds– he’s the governor of the state where I live, it was about shared history, and I have very strong views about speaking the truth about that era. But how does that become a national story and (I’m assuming this will be the case) Gingrich spouting looney incoherencies will just bounce around part of the blogosphere a couple of days and that will be that? Yes, Gingrich saying crazy stuff may be a dog-bites-man story but that doesn’t really explain this.

  • Anderson

    The most disturbing answer to your question is that the press doesn’t see Gingrich as a serious candidate … which by implication suggests that Barbour *is* a serious candidate.

    And really, by GOP 2012 standards, I suppose he is.

  • Jane

    I guess Barbour is a more viable option than “Former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, known as the ‘Ten Commandments judge,’” who has said, acc. to the AP, that he’s considering seeking the Republican presidential nomination.

  • Alan

    If Haley Barbour had been governor of any state in the Union other than Mississippi, he’d be a frontrunner right now. He’s obviously intelligent, charming, well-connected and politically astute. He’s also hobbled by the fact that he’s indelibly associated with a state the rest of the country considers to be at best a joke and at worst a Third World hellhole. And while I have little personal regard for Barbour, I think he towers over Newt “blow jobs in the parking lot at my kids ballgames” Gingrich, who is surely one of the most loathsome Americans alive today. Moore, at least, has the twin excuses of ignorance and religious mania, but Gingrich is just a cesspit with legs.

  • pam

    what a creepy little man that Gingrich is…

    thanks Alan, the medicine always goes down a little easier with a little Onion.

  • pam

    excuse me, substitute crap for medicine, that’s what I meant to say.. sh*t is more what I meant to say but didn’t know if that word was appropriate here or not.

  • Jane

    I’m reading Matt Taibbi’s “Griftopia.” Someone on Amazon wrote that he wanted to punch a banker when he got through reading it. I want to punch a banker and EVERY politician in this country.

    And pam, if I can write “fucking”, you can probably get away with “shit.”

  • Anderson

    Here, Jane, this will give you some more people to punch.

  • Jane

    Like I need more people to punch! There’s one place in the book explaining the oil “crisis” of 2008. Taibbi was on the McCain campaign trail and McCain was blaming the price of oil on the regs against drilling in America. Taibbi turns to his colleague and says that’s bullshit as is the reason Obama is touting greedy oil companies as the reason. Then Taibbi turns to the other reporter and asks “what is the reason?” No one knows. Turns out at least part of it is explained by deregulations of the commodities market. Speculators, Taibbi explains, are of some use to that market but there were regs preventing speculators from speculating too much and controlling the market. In 1991, a subsidiary of Goldman Sachs wrote to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and asked for an exception to the regs. The CFTC granted that exception to that one firm via letter and then, over the years to 16 other firms. One day an aide to the Congressional Energy and Commerce Committee overheard a CFTC official mention the letter. The aide had never heard of these letters and asked to see them. He was told that the CFTC WOULD HAVE TO RUN IT BY GOLDMAN SACHS FIRST. See p. 134.

    This book is full of stuff like that. If you are a non-grifter, like myself, you will read this book and desire nothing more than a complete overthrow of the existing government. I voted for Obama knowing full well it wouldn’t really matter. But they are all crooks.

    I mean, not only did Washington allow investment firms like Goldman Sachs to rape America, they turned around and REWARDED them for doing so.

    Oh and Taibbi was the first reporter to come out and say that the entire campaign press corp considered John Edwards a total fake. For that alone I will always read his stuff.

    I looked at your link, Anderson. Brooksley Born is also featured in “Griftopia.”

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