Stop me if you’ve heard this one before (about Ron Paul, David Barton and many others). A far right Republican candidate for public office associates himself with white nationalist groups and speaks to their conferences. This time it’s Chris McDaniel, a Tea Party type challenging Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi.
After announcing his run last week, McDaniel quickly picked up endorsements from the Club for Growth and the Senate Conservatives Fund, a political action committee founded by former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), a prominent backer of the tea party. Both groups are key players in the internal GOP battle between establishment-minded Republicans and tea party insurgents and are backing right-wing challenges to incumbent Republicans whom they deem insufficiently conservative…
With their endorsements of McDaniel, the Senate Conservatives Fund and the Club for Growth have shown just how far they are willing to go in terms of embracing the far right to prosecute their war for the soul of the party. 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…McDaniel is “just proud of his heritage and grateful for it, and that’s the reason we wanted him to come in and speak a couple of times,” says George Jaynes, a member of the Rosin Heels and the newsletter’s editor, who confirmed that McDaniel had attended the events. “We’re mainly here to remember the Confederate soldier, our Confederates beliefs, our culture, our civilization. We’re here to remember their good names upheld them to tell the truth and to give the facts of the war whether it falls on our side or the other. We’re here to tell the truth—that’s what the SCV’s about and that’s the kind of speaker we bring in.”
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.”
McDaniel was joined at the Southern Heritage Conference by Al Benson, a historian from Louisiana, who talked about his book Red Republicans & Lincoln Marxists, which speculates that Lincoln’s actions during the Civil War were influenced by the writings of Karl Marx. (“Was Abraham Lincoln influenced by communism when the Union condemned the rights of Southern states to express their independence? It’s shocking to think so.”) Benson’s Amazon biodescribes him as “a true Copperhead,” a reference to Northern Democrats who supported the Confederate cause. In the September issue of the Rosin Heels newsletter, Benson writes that the nation’s public school system was a product of “spiritual apostasy” by Unitarians and socialists.
One of the things that the Tea Party movement has done is brought the far right fringe — conspiracy nuts, neo-Confederates, militia types, white nationalists, Christian Reconstructionists — into the Republican party in unprecedented numbers. This is going to happen more and more until the Tea Party is purged.