In a recent speech in Macon, GA, Newt Gingrich was addressing the Georgia Republican Convention and said that the 2012 presidential election will be "the most consequential since 1860." It's such a bizarre comparison. Who remembers the actual election of 1860 as at all significant. The after-effects, sure, but the election? I'd have to think hard to even remember who Lincoln beat. (Not my brightest moment, admittedly...) Why not, 1936, when the Americans voted for more FDR after the New Deal legislature? Or 1960, when we voted in a young new Catholic who also pushed through a rather liberal "agenda"? Or 1832, when the first truly populist president, Andrew Jackson, was brought into power?
(If it helps my history creds I didn't have to research any of those dates, but anywho...)
But that reference to 1860 isn't quite as random as it may seem. Thinking about it, one history fact I *do* remember connected to that election was that the South basically waited for news that a northerner had been elected to secede from the union. In fact, that connection is the only way this comment seems to make sense. Especially given that this is Georgia. Macon, GA, for that matter. No offense meant - there is a lot of diversity wherever you're talking about, and generalizations don't apply universally - but in that area there are a lot of people who think fondly on the Civil War as standing up for what the south was all about.
So to go to Georgia and invoke 1860 in light of an election... that sent a shiver down my spine. Gingrich never mentioned guns or revolution or the second amendment, but as a southerner that was the message I kept hearing. And that is a scary thought. It's like he's saying if the Republican guy doesn't win this go around there will be trouble. And, I can't help thinking, it's like he's making any trouble the Dem's fault, too. Blaming the victim, as it were.