I was just going to lead off with another hit on Attorney General designee John Ashcroft by telling you how he once received an honorary degree from Bob Jones University. (During this year's Senate campaign the late Mel Carnahan challenged Ashcroft to return the degree. Ashcroft said he'd do so if Carnahan returned campaign contributions from pro-choice groups -- an equation which tells you a lot about John Ashcroft.)
But then I thought: hey, maybe I'm being too hard on the guy. It's not like he's off giving interviews to borderline-racist, Neo-Confederate magazines after all. Right?
Well, okay, maybe he is.
Back in 1998 Ashcroft gave an interview to Southern Partisan magazine in which he said that ''traditionalists must
do more'' to defend Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson, and Robert E. Lee. ''We've all got to stand up and speak in this respect," Ashcroft continued, "or else we'll be taught that these people were giving their lives, subscribing their sacred fortunes and their honor to some perverted agenda.''
Talking Points thought slavery was a "perverted agenda." But, hey, let's not quibble.
So what is the Southern Partisan magazine? The Southern Partisan is a leading publication of the Neo-Confederate movement which extols the Confederacy, Southern culture, and at least flirts with the idea of Southern secession from the United States. It also has some rather disturbing things to say about African-Americans.
Talking Points doesn't want to label the magazine racist; but it does publish many articles which most people would likely find deeply racially offensive.
A 1984 article in the Southern Partisan argued that "Negroes, Asians, and Orientals (is Japan the exception?); Hispanics, Latins, and Eastern Europeans; have no temperament for democracy, never had, and probably never will.... It may be impolite and unpolitic to bring the subject up, but can our democratic system endure unless we close up the frontiers to peoples who are not ... predisposed to honor its assumptions?"
In 1990 an article called David Duke "a candidate concerned about `affirmative' discrimination, welfare prolifigacy [sic], the taxation holocaust ... a Populist spokesperson for a recapturing of the American ideal."
A 1996 article claimed "slave owners ... did not have a practice of breaking up slave families. If anything, they encouraged strong slave families to further the slaves' peace and happiness."
(These quotes come courtesy of this excellent article on the Southern Partisan and its editor by Benjamin Soskis in The New Republic.)
And George W. wants this guy in charge of enforcing the country's civil rights laws?