The Sesquicentennial Disaster

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JONATHAN CHAIT AUGUST 15, 2011

The Sesquicentennial Disaster

[Guest post by Nathan Pippenger]

I just want to add to Matt’s smart post below that the timing could hardly be worse for a campaign against Obama’s patriotism. I can hardly think of a more disheartening presidential campaign than one in which the GOP picks a white Southerner who enjoys toying with secession and pits his patriotism against that of our first black president, a man whose professed idol is Lincoln. All during the sesquicentennial of the Civil War.

Perry evidently thinks there’s something funny about the idea of secession. But I don’t think it’s humorless to suggest that secession jokes—particularly coming from the governor of Texas—are, at best, unbecoming. Especially in a climate where other Republican governors celebrate Confederate history while deciding to leave out the reason why the Confederacy formed in the first place. Or where still other Republican governors (with a troubling tendency to mangle the history of racist organizations) rush to the defense, arguing that praising the Confederacy while omitting the history of slavery is no big deal.

Maybe, if he has a free minute sometime soon, Perry can take some time to brush up on the slaughter of the Civil War, the murder of Lincoln, and the history (and legacy) of American slavery. And then I’d like to hear him explain why he still thinks jokes about secession are so funny. 

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posted in: jonathan chait, lincoln, nathan pippenger, republican party

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