But last Wednesday, Mother Jones reported that Mississippi Republican Chris McDaniel—who is challenging incumbent U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R) and is backed by the Senate Conservatives Fund and the Club for Growth—had “addressed a neo-Confederate conference and costume ball hosted by a group that promotes the work of present-day secessionists and contends the wrong side won the ‘war of southern independence.’” And, last Wednesday night, the GOP precinct chair from Buncombe County, North Carolina, Don Yelton, appeared on The Daily Show to talk about voter ID laws and voter suppression. The now-viral clip includes Yelton admitting to being called a bigot, referring to African-Americans as lazy, and saying, “one of my best friends is black.” (Yelton has since resigned.)
Apparently, some members of the party that was once known as the Party of Lincoln can’t resist acting like the Democrats of yore, back when the Democratic Party was home to secessionist Sen. John C. Calhoun and Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Outgoing Texas governor and former Republican presidential contender Rick Perry once mused about Texas’s right to secede from the Union. Last summer, an aide to Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Jack Hunter, made headlines when it came to light that he was once known as the “Southern Avenger,” a radio shock jock who had made provocative comments about the Civil War and race.
[T]he secessionist impulse was and remains a political loser. It reeks of desperation and signals an inability to come to grips with modernity. Wearing a tri-cornered hat on the Washington Mall is one thing; unfurling a Confederate Flag in front of Obama’s White House is something very different and disgraceful. The question for the Republican Party is whether it can figure this out soon enough.