The Next Ted Cruz Goes to a Civil War Revival Meeting

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Oct. 23 2013 4:48 PM

The Next Ted Cruz Goes to a Civil War Revival Meeting

My latest piece looks at a trio (and a half) of candidates running to the right in red states, pledging their allegiance to the Ted Cruz/Mike Lee model of "hell no" governance. I lead off with Chris McDaniel, who launched his campaign for U.S. Senate in Mississippi 24 hours after the deal to end the shutdown was reached. He won't vote to raise the debt limit without concessions; he would have filibustered alongside Cruz et al.

I regret talking to McDaniel before Tim Murphy plunged into the Internet and noticed that McDaneil does not turn down invitations to talk to groups who think the wrong side won the War of Northern Aggression.

In August, McDaniel addressed a neo-Confederate conference in Laurel, Miss., near his hometown of Ellisville. A local chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV), the Jones County Rosin Heels, hosted the two-day event, which the group described in invitations as a "Southern Heritage Conference" for "politically incorrect folks." Attendees were advised to dress in "Confederate uniforms and antebellum ball gowns or wee kilties." McDaniel's appearance at the Rosin Heels heritage conference was not a one-off occurrence; weeks earlier he was the keynote speaker at a separate event in Jackson... The group also purchases billboards, with messages such as "Happy birthday, President Jefferson Davis," and "Fort Sumter was fired on when Lincoln tried to reinforce his customs house for tax collection."
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As Murphy points out, this will be wholly uncontroversial with Republican voters, unless the race ends up turning on Alexander Stephens' defense of the Confederate Constitution. ("Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition.") But Murphy's a little tough on the historian who showed up at this event and claimed that Lincoln was influenced by Marx. The two did exchange letters, albeit late into the former's presidency.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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