Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

“We don’t need to be opening old wounds.”

Posted in Leadership, Memory by Andy Hall on October 26, 2011

There’s been speculation brewing for a while now whether Governor Perry would take a position on the proposed Texas license plate promoting the SCV (right). On Wednesday, he gave his answer:

The Republican presidential hopeful was in Florida for a fundraiser and told Bay News 9’s “Political Connections” and the St. Petersburg Times that, “we don’t need to be opening old wounds.”

The plates have been requested by the Sons of Confederate Veterans, a nonprofit Perry has supported over the years. They show the group’s logo, which is derived from the Confederate battle flag. . . .

But [rejecting the proposed license plate] was a departure from Perry’s past opposition to NAACP-led efforts to remove two plaques with Confederate symbols from the Texas Supreme Court building in Austin 11 years ago.

Then lieutenant governor Perry wrote to the Sons of Confederate Veterans in a March 2000 letter obtained by The Associated Press that, “although this is an emotional issue, I want you to know that I oppose efforts to remove Confederate monuments, plaques, and memorials from public property.”

“I believe that Texans should remember the past and learn from it,” Perry wrote in the letter, obtained through an open records request.

One of the 11-inch by 20-inch bronze plaques featured the seal of the Confederacy, and the other the image of the battle flag and quotations from Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. They were eventually removed in coordination with the office of then Texas Gov. George W. Bush.

Perry had waffled on the license plate question previously, simply saying its was a matter for the board to decide. That body will meet next month and may vote on the issue then. Last time it came up, a few months ago, the vote was 4 to 4, with one member absent. My thoughts on the license plate here.

I don’t think this helps Perry much, politically; it really is a no-win deal. His rhetoric in the past has pretty well established him (fairly or not) as a states-rights, secession-leanin’ sort of guy in his opponents’ eyes. To them, he’s already a caricature, and rejecting a license plate with the Confederate flag on it isn’t going to change that. On the other hand, certain folks have gone to great lengths to denounce Southern pols who, once deemed friendly to Confederate heritage issues, are seen to have become apostates in their pursuit of higher office.

Will Rick Perry be the next target of Brag Bowling’s ire?

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Update: Thursday’s print editions of the Houston Chronicle put this story on the front page, above the fold, all the way across. You know, the headline you see looking through the window of a newspaper vending box. This seems like a pretty small story in the larger scheme of things, but I guess it sells papers.

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5 Responses

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  1. Tybalt said, on October 26, 2011 at 11:48 pm

    “Will Rick Perry be the next target of Brag Bowling’s ire?”

    Absolutely no one cares if he does, least of all Rick Perry. Assuming anyone listens to Brag Bowling, which I doubt, are they going to throw over Rick Perry for Romney? Cain? Obama?

    • Andy Hall said, on October 26, 2011 at 11:59 pm

      Well, I wouldn’t have thought that Bowling would schedule a special event at the National Press Club in Washington to formally denounce George “Macaca” Allen’s as-yet-unannounced candidacy for the Senate, over a supposed slight to the Confederate flag five years before.

      But I would have been wrong. 😉

      Just to be clear, I’m really less interested in Perry’s answer than with others’ expectations and reactions to it.

  2. Clarence Rutherford said, on October 29, 2011 at 8:36 am

    A few weeks ago I saw a picture on a web site of a supposed Perry campaign poster. It had the stars-n-bars as background, Jeff Davis on one side & Perry on the other with the slogan “Elect the second President of the CSA” with the subhead “return the golden age to our people”

    Seems appropriate

    • Andy Hall said, on October 29, 2011 at 11:44 am

      Perry has a convoluted history when it comes to Confederate heritage issues; he tries hard to appeal to whatever audience he’s talking to at the moment but then doesn’t always follow through — not, I understand, a habit that’s unique to him.

      There were a couple of Confederate memorial plaques in the lobby of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. They were originally funded (IIRC) by the UDC because the building was built with funds that had originally been set aside for Confederate veteran’s widows. There was a request to have them removed, but both Governor Bush and Lieutenant Governor Perry publicly stated they should remain. Bush later reversed himself, and signed off on their removal. Very soon after, he was elected president and Perry succeeded him as governor. Heritage groups have looked to Perry in the 10+ years since to follow up on his support of the plaques and have them restored, but he has not done so.

      Then there’s a the question of his membership (or not) in the SCV. In 1998, when he was running for Lite-Guv, the secessionist League of the South endorsed Perry and touted his membership in the SCV, and there has subsequently been a lot of vague back-and-forth about whether he was a member. The SCV has said, for example, that they have no record of his membership, but that their records only went back to 2001. I think he has recently put out a statement that he was never a member, but it sure took a long time to get that answer. I don’t think membership in the SCV is especially an issue, but the waffling and halfway answers from various folks over the years is problematic, as is the fact that — if Perry’s recent statement that he was never a member is correct — either he or the League of the South is flat-out lying about the issue.

      Perry got burned pretty badly by the stories recently about the hunting camp. I don’t want to rehash that here, partly because it’s still not clear to me who knew what, when, and what was done about it. But it’s objectively true that that was politically damaging, and I can easily see why, whatever his personal feelings about the plate proposal, Perry needs to distance himself from anything that might associate himself from those attitudes. A rational person should be able to understand and recognize that, regardless of his or her position on the SCV plates; rightly or not, Confederate heritage questions are the third rail of politics for any Southerner. I can understand Confederate heritage folks expressing their disappointment in Perry’s statement — which, it should be noted, was not especially damning of the idea — and being openly unhappy with it. What I find ridiculous is the shrill histrionics from certain quarters in response to Perry’s relatively mild disapproval of the proposed license plate, most of which comes from people who aren’t even from Texas:

      Perry is another turncoat politician that has forgotten where he came from. Keep standing for truth!

      Perry just lost the vote of Real Southerners. By “Real” I mean anyone living in the South who does vote for him are either carpetbagging yankee transplants or the children of such scoundrels, or are traitorous scalawags.

      SHAME ON YOU, RICK PERRY FOR CAVING TO HATERS WHO WILL NEVER VOTE FOR YOU NO MATTER HOW MANY TIMES YOU LICK THEIR BOOTS!

      Perdue, McCain, Perry, and any other slimy politicians who are SCV members and choose to dishonor their Confederate ancestors to save their sorry political hides need to have their membership very publicly revoked.

      Well, the fact of the matter is he is a “POLITICIAN=LIAR.” Period.
      If he had been true Gray and had continued to defend his position, THEN we might could then say, “WHO KNEW?”

      perry you sell your soul and forget your roots and forget as many texans attempt to that your still the deep south your still confederate and your still under occupation.

      What about our wounds!? Folk of Confederate ancestry are wounded day in and day out!!!

      Well, I see it as he traded and peed on his heritage looking for votes in the PC arena that he wouldn’t have gotten anyway and in the process lost a lot more support….

      Told ya’ll over three years ago that Perry was a scalawag of the Lindsey Graham order and that he should NEVER be trusted.

      Perry is a trojan horse. He attended a Bilderberg meeting and supported the Mexican, USA, and Canada super highway, something Texans didn’t want, but the Bilderbergs and NWO wants.

      hmmmm… wonder if he would stop the marketing of some muslim type icon/flag on a license plate… I think not!

      Perry says he won’t support the Texas SCV Tag. Years ago he was against the removal of the plates on the TX supreme court building. This man is a shinning example of a scalawag.

      And my personal favorite:

      rick perry is a trader.

      And so on. As I said above, Perry’s bland disapproval of the license plate question doesn’t interest me nearly as much as the response to it.

  3. corkingiron said, on October 30, 2011 at 10:40 am

    “rick perry is a trader”. You just made my day.


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