When you have to come out and tell reporters, "I'm not a fan of secession," you're not having a particularly good day. That's what Rand Paul found himself doing today, in the wake of revelations that one of Paul's staffers, who co-wrote (or, let's be honest, probably ghost-wrote) Paul's 2010 campaign book, also spent years as a neo-confederate shock jock advocating secession, praising the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, and urging whites to be proud of their heritage. Just how is it that Rand Paul, like his father before him, keeps attracting these people? It's a mystery.
Back in 1964, in an interview with Ebony Magazine, the former vice president Richard Nixon—who had run for president in 1960 as a civil-rights moderate—warned that Barry Goldwater would transform the Republican Party forever if he managed to win his crusade for the GOP nomination. “If Goldwater wins his fight,” Nixon said, “our party would eventually become the first all-white political party.”
When the United States invaded Afghanistan in October 2001, polls showed a remarkable nine in ten Americans supported the action. After all, we had just been attacked by an organization headquartered there, so it seemed only natural that our military would go in, hunt down the culprits, and punish them and those who helped them. But the years dragged on and on, and it eventually became clear that we weren't rooting out al Qaeda but trying to establish stability and democracy in a country that is a stranger to both. Meanwhile, over 2,000 American servicemembers have given their lives, and half a trillion dollars of our money has been spent on a war whose original purpose is all but forgotten.
When he was a congressman, Anthony Weiner didn't make a lot of friends in Washington. Widely known as abrasive, as overly ambitious even in a town full of ambitious people, and as a notoriously difficult boss, Weiner didn't find too many people rushing to the media to defend him when he was discovered tweeting photos of his junk to women who were not his wife, and he quickly resigned his seat in Congress.
Today is the 150th anniversary of the final day of the Battle of Gettysburg, and with that in mind, it’s worth remembering the particular actions of Confederate soldiers a week earlier, as they marched north into Pennsylvania.
In the movement that culminated in Gettysburg, Robert E. Lee’s men kidnapped free blacks by the hundreds—men, women, and children. Up to a thousand were captured and forced into labor with the Confederate Army. And during the eventual retreat from Pennsylvania, they were sent South. Once in Virginia, they were returned to their former owners, or if born free, sold into slavery.