Republican politicians, quit fighting the Civil War
This is what the Democratic Party and the corporate media want you to do
Far be it from me to defend Nikki Haley, who I believe would be a far worse president than either Joe Biden or Donald Trump, but attacking her campaign over her answer to a question about the Civil War is ridiculous, even if she should have known better than to engage in the first place. From CNN:
“I mean, I think the cause of the Civil War was basically how government was going to run. The freedoms and what people could and couldn’t do,” Haley said in a visit to Berlin — the first of five events in the Granite State as she attempts to close the gap with Republican front-runner Donald Trump ahead of next month’s primary.
The former UN ambassador then asked the voter what he thought the cause of the Civil War was, to which the voter responded, “I’m not running for president.”
“I think it always comes down to the role of government and what the rights of the people are,” Haley added. “I will always stand by the fact that I think government was intended to secure the rights and freedoms of the people. It was never meant to be all things to all people,” she added.
The voter criticized her for not mentioning slavery in her answer. “In the year 2023, it’s astonishing to me that you answer that question without mentioning the word slavery,” the voter said.
“What do you want me to say about slavery?” Haley asked.
“You answered my question,” he responded.
Patrick, as CNN identifies the person who asked the question of Nikki Haley, expresses his astonishment that someone could answer his question about the Civil War without mentioning slavery “in the year 2023,” but it’s far more astonishing to me that anyone should think that a question about a war that ended in 1865 should be relevant in the year 2023. Or that slavery itself should be a relevant issue to bring up in the year 2023. It’s almost as if his entire point was to simply call someone he disagrees with politically a racist.
If Haley was quicker on her feet she would have known to simply reject the question out of hand. Patrick was not looking for any bit of nuance about the Civil War, but rather a sound-bite that he could use to paint Haley as being racist, which he obviously got. He did not want or deserve any serious consideration of his question, so he should have been told to sit down and keep quiet. He was obviously never going to support Nikki Haley for president even if she gave the answer that he thought was appropriate, so there was no benefit to engaging him at all.
All Republican politicians should know better by now than to take the bait and engage with questions posed to them about the Civil War, because their political opponents are not interested in a philosophical debate on the subject. What they’re interested in is destroying the reputations and electoral prospects of Republican politicians. That Nikki Haley hasn’t learned that Democrats are looking for every opportunity to paint Republicans as racists by now is evidence that Vivek Ramaswamy was correct to question her intelligence.
The generic script for dismissing a question like this is almost too obvious, and if Nikki Haley’s campaign, or any other Republican campaign, wants to pay me for my advice here I won’t turn them down, but here’s the script that I would start with if I were advising these campaigns:
“I’m focused on the issues facing Americans in <current year>, not the issues facing Americans over 150 years ago. The Civil War was won by this country’s first great Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, and as a member of that same party I hope that I may be half as successful addressing the issues of today as he was addressing the issues then.”
Of course the truth about Abraham Lincoln is as nuanced as the truth about the Civil War, but that’s what someone campaigning for office should say as trying to get into the nuance of these issues can only backfire politically. Leave the nuance to people actually interested in history, not to the general voting population or to people who are actively trying to sabotage your campaign.