This was not some secret party. It was last weekend's annual board of directors meeting of the National Federation of Republican Women in Charleston, McConnell's district. Sanford and other prominent local Republican politicos were there. "Invited speakers to the NFRW conference included U.S. House Majority Leader John Boehner, Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, RNC Chairman Michael Steele, Rep. Joe Wilson, House Speaker Bobby Harrell, former U.S. Ambassador David Wilkins and GOP gubernatorial nominee Nikki Haley," Folks writes.
Gawker and other national media sites picked up the story, largely focusing on McConnell and asking a fair question: Why would any African-American dress up as a slave? That remains a good question, but there's no doubt as to why McConnell appeared so happy decked out as Robert E. Lee's contemporary. He's obsessed with the Confederacy.
McConnell owns a store that sells Confederate memorabilia. Last time I saw him, his cell phone bore a Confederate flag, and its ring tone chimed Dixie. This was several years ago. I was working on a Nation magazine article about two Charleston-based museum projects. (It's well worth the $2.95 to get behind the subscriber wall!) One's an African-American history museum, which intends to provide an unvarnished look at the realities of slavery in Charleston, the port through which half of American slaves entered the country.
The Hunley, which has been recovered and is on display at a warehouse in Charleston, has obvious historic significance: It was the first submarine to sink an enemy vessel. But when I visited, the site included a gallery and gift shop that oozed Confederate nostalgia, replete with fresh bolls of cotton for sale.
Given that McConnell is the state's most powerful legislator, I'll leave it to the readers to guess which one of these projects is being funded by South Carolina taxpayers.