Confederate Tea Cozy
Arkansas has a new "constitutionalist" Tea Party state Representative:
For seven years, Mauch was the commander of James M. Keller Camp 648 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. He stepped down as commander last year. In 2004, angered by the city of Hot Springs' refusal to remove a statue of Abraham Lincoln displayed in the Hot Springs Civic and Convention Center, the Keller Camp hosted a conference in Hot Springs called "Seminar on Abraham Lincoln — Truth vs. Myth," with a keynote address called "Homage to John Wilkes Booth."
Mauch said that he believes Lincoln didn't follow the Constitution. Of the statue of Lincoln in the convention center, Mauch said: "I didn't think it had any place down in Hot Springs, Arkansas. He wasn't friendly to Arkansas. He didn't have anything to do with Arkansas. Nobody in Arkansas voted for him."
A prolific writer of letters to the editor (Garland County Democratic Party chair George Hozendorf said one of the only things he knew about Mauch was that he recalled a letter to the Hot Springs Sentinel-Record in which Mauch advocated for enlarging the controversial Confederate flag and Confederate soldier statue at the fork of Central and Ouachita Avenues), Mauch took pen in hand in 2008 during the controversy stirred up by Huntsville businessman James Vandiver's decision to respond to the election of Barack Obama by flying a Confederate battle flag in front of his motel.
"The government has lost its moral authority over God-fearing Americans," Mauch wrote to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. "I wish more patriots like James Vandiver would take their stand for what the Confederate Battle Flag truly symbolizes."
When asked what the Confederate flag symbolizes, Mauch said: "It's a symbol of constitutional government. It's a symbol of Jesus Christ above all else. It's a symbol of Biblical government."
Just how many white supremacists and neo-confederates did the Tea Party elect to office this year, I wonder? The most famous is Russell Pearce in Arizona, who was elevated to the head of the State Senate, but they seem to be cropping up all over the place.
Here's the good news. Some people are focused on what's important:
Mauch's opponent in the race was Terry Bracy, a former Malvern City Council member who owns an ambulance company. When told that Mauch was a member of a group that believes in Southern secession and is a strident defender of the Confederate flag, Bracy said that he didn't have that information during the campaign.
"Everybody is entitled to their opinion, I guess," Bracy said. "I was hoping maybe that the electorate would be more in tune with that. I really didn't want to be negative in the campaign to be honest with you."
*It should be noted once again that Mausch's view of the constitution as a Biblical document is not some oddball quirk. It's a fundamental belief of Christian Reconstructionism, which is cropping up in rhetoric throughout the Tea Party, from Palin on down.