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Haley’s Civil War answer has her adversaries going bonkers.

Haley’s Civil War answer has her adversaries going bonkers.

Recently, presidential candidate Nikki Haley stumbled a bit when asked the causes of the Civil War.  Haley gave an academic answer about the Constitution and personal freedom.  It was a fight against the government imposing its corrupt will on we the people.  Or more specifically, government – southern Democrat style — imposing slavery on people in defiance of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

The obvious common answer to the question is “slavery.”  In fact, that is such a knee-jerk response – common knowledge – that one can wonder why the question was even asked.  Regardless. Haley’s response was obtuse and inarticulate, to say the least.  She could have expressed herself better in a political sense.

The more interesting aspect of the issue was the reaction from Democrats, the media and GOP rivals. Even in the world of political spinning, the response was a T10 super tornado.

First of all, what Haley said was incomplete, but not entirely wrong.  It was more of a professorial answer than a political one.  

Historians have often listed several reasons for the Civil War.  In fact, there are many in academia who argue that slavery may have been a secondary factor, but the issue of secession was the primary cause of the war.  (That was my college professor’s view).  Do the states have a right to secede?  President Lincoln even stated that the primary goal of the Civil War was to “preserve the union.”  Not to resolve slavery. 

While he was an abolitionist based on human morality and the Jeffersonian interpretation of the Declaration of Independence, the issue of slavery would be decided apart from the Civil War by an intact Union.  Slavery was not settled by the Civil War, but by the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments that followed the war.

In addition to the question of abolition of slavery, was the issue of states’ rights.  The south argued that slavery was an issue that states had the right to determine on their own.  It was not a violation of the Constitution.  But abolition of slavery was just one of the states’ rights questions raised by the southern states.  What states can or cannot do was a broader issue involving secession.  Ironically, America is dealing with the same constitutional question with regard to states attempting to remove President Trump from the ballot.  Other historians argue that the tension between the industrial north and the agricultural south was a contributing factor to the Civil War.

Despite her politically maladroit response, suggesting that Haley did not know the significance of slavery in contributing to southern secession – or was attempting to downplay the history of that evil institution – is absurd.   But that did not stop her political adversaries on the left – and those trying to replace her as the strongest challenger to Trump in the GOP primaries – from going ballistic.

For several days, the story of Haley’s gaffe got major top-of-the news coverage.  The nutty left went nuts with trying to frame her answer as a dog whistle appeal to millions of voters that they consider to be racist, xenophobic, misogynist cretins.  They used their spin on here response to smear the entire Republican Party.  They were implying – and even saying — that Haley is a racist and white supremacist who is trying to whitewash (no pun intended) black history.  They even questioned the sincerity of Haley’s removing the Confederate battle flag from a place of honor on the grounds of the Southern Carolian Capitol Building.

The coverage was so extended, distorted, and mendacious that the motives became obvious.   The left viewed Haley as a viable candidate who could handily beat President Biden were she to get the nomination. So, they unleashed the hounds of political propaganda and character assassination in an attempt to demonize her.  It is what they do.

The attacks, however, did not only come from Democrats and the leftwing media. Two of her rivals for the GOP nomination piled on.  Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie used the leftwing press coverage to assert the claim that Haley is not fit to be president.  A former governor and ambassador to the United Nations – and the candidate with the best chance of defeating Trump in the Republican primaries – is not as good as a governor and ex-governor to be President.

DeSantis came off as a desperate whiner, saying that Haley  was “not ready for prime time.”  This from a candidate whose campaign has been marked by blunders.  Christie apparently forget how he defended Haley as a very able and accomplished woman in the most recent debate. One can file the DeSantis and Christie comments under “cheap shots.”

The dishonest overreaction to Haley’s answer shows that she engenders fear and desperation in the heart of her political adversaries.  Neither Haley’s statement nor the over-the-top reaction is likely to have much impact on voters as they evaluate Haley as a presidential candidate.  If there are any losers in the confrontation, it is more likely to be those who put this non-issue through a super charged political spin machine.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.



    There were many ways Halley could have answered the question. She failed miserably. Her weasel-worded walk back pretty much explained her first answer.

    She walks a tightrope, so many deplorables, so little time.

    • Dan tyree

      It was a war of northern aggression

      • Rick

        So true, It was about Lincoln not wanting to lose the tax dollars from the south. It had nothing to do with slavery at the first. Only latter did Lincoln make it about slavery in order to pull on the heart strings of the people so that they would continue to support his illegal war effort. History is written by the winners of the conflicts, and that is why the ignorant populations don’t know the truth of what happened, but only what the bought and paid for CNN’s of the world put forth.

        • larry Horist

          Rick … I fear it is YOU who do not know your history. Lincoln was a dyed-in-the-wool abolitionist his entire life. He returned to politics after the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the issue of slavery in the western territories. Slavery was a major reason for southern secession — virtually all the Confederate states stated that in the secession documents. Lincoln delay emancipation in order to prevent border states, such as Tennessee, to go with the south. In addition, to slavery, the major issue to be resolved was whether states had a right to secede. And industrialization economics played a role. Think cotton gin.

        • Max

          It was fought over states rights

      • robb

        Anyone who knows anything about history will tell you the civil war was about STATES RIGHTS and the aggression of the federal government at the time wanting to punish the South. Do we see a parallel today with the Federal government doing an over reach?

        • Max


          • FRANK STETSON

            As my tome indicates, I sort of agree. But it was the South’s adherence to State’s Rights that ruined their economy as they fell farther and farther behind the increasingly more industrialized North. Pretty hard to build a interstate road system with each State totally responsible only to the State Line. Therefore they had limited factories, train system, etc.

          • larry Horist

            MaX … You are not wrong. There were two states rights issues. Owning slaves and the right seceding from the Union. But slavery was at the center of the one states rights claims by the seceding states. Both were involved in the resolution of the War. States are not allowed to secede and slavery was determined not to be a states right but a violation of the Constitution. What triggered secession was the election of an abolitionist President. Secession began even before Lincoln was inaugurated. The 13th Amendment was passed by the Senate and House before the end of the War. And passed by the states a few months after. Ending slavery was entwined with states rights.


          robb: you are right. The SCOTUS is about to overturn State Law in all 50 States for State Election Law.

          • Miles collins

            As long as they help trump

          • Frank stetson

            Help Trump?

            It will put him on the ballot and clarify 14.3.

            It will not save him from the four indictments and 91 criminal charges although you can magically erase some by electing him.

            And then there’s the civil cases he has been losing one after another but that don’t bother you none.

            Criminal, digital rapist, sexual abuser, defamation king, business cheat, tax cheat, none of it matters to you. And now the $8m he got from foreign adversaries including 5.5m from China. Just in his first two years. Why even put him on the ballot? Just put him on the throne for the man can do no wrong in your eyes.

            The difference between Biden and Trump is Trump got caught and you don’t care. Biden didn’t get caught and you say he’s guilty because Hunter got caught.

            Harris for President.
            Vote Biden.

  2. David

    Is a simple questionnaire from little of 9 yrs old there you have it ! totally embarrassment how she’ll adopted to be a presidential candidate not knowing such basic historical from a schooler to testing if she’s a right candidate’s for Americans people . A immigrants family growth up to the U.S. and served several importance federal government jobs , is other’s overwhelming motives involved her recent campaign to openly critique president Trump that’ll show her all !


    Who fired the first shot Dan?

    As far as it being about tax dollars, and Lincoln not want to lose them, that’s just ridiculous. There was no Federal income tax. There were tariffs on foreign goods but those taxes were paid by the shipper and then, possibly, borne by the purchasers of the goods which could be either North or South for goods coming in at Southern ports. The State does not pay tariffs to the Fed, the buyers and sellers too, primarily the sellers. No mention of tariffs in any succession document; you would think “taxation without representation,” would have been a big seller. 63% of all Federal tariffs came from the port of NY alone.

    I have no issue with saying economics played a huge part in the South’s succession but that leads back to the lynch pin of the Southern economy —- slavery. And the funny, strange part, is that Southern economics was a the slave to slavery. As usual is the case, the big money guys go to war, the everyday man fights and dies.

    The Southern economy was based on free labor and agriculture. It sucked. The North had agriculture based not on slavery but mechanization which the North also embraced in industrializing the North. The South could not even turn cotton into goods without Northern factories. The South, being fierce State’s right-ers, had little infrastructure as States did not pool resources for major projects, the gov’s were tiny, no projects there, and the reverse was true in the North.

    The South saw two ways to go, each with a roadblock. International sales, however, they needed the tariff money and that meant higher prices, and tariffs on their cotton being sold overseas. This is not due to Northern aggression because once they broke away, they still collected the tariffs. The exact same economic problem still existed. They could also expand their economy out West but were consistently being thwarted by laws forcing Free States without slavery at first extending the Mason Dixon to the Pacific but then Southwest of that line too. The answer was investment in infrastructure and industrialization, but the South was economically a slave to slavery so the money-men felt they were in a box. It was a box of their own making by investing in bondage for low-cost, labor. Worse yet, to subdue said labor, they had to subvert any education, etc. so the labor pool was unskilled, uneducated, and untalented except for manual labors. By design.

    So I agree it’s about the money but slavery was the root of that evil too. But the money did not bother the common man, it affected the cake-eating crowd. And it’s the South that made those choices, not some sort of aggression except in abolition which the North did not like, did not need, and was willing to fight anyone who wanted to break the Union over it. They had the answer in the North’s economic boom through investments in infrastructure and industrialization but couldn’t see past their outdated, immoral, economy that relied on cheap labor from bondage. Slavery was the primary cause of the war.

    • Dan tyree

      And thus the democrats lost their slaves


        And became Republicans who then became Trumplicans. And the Northern Republicans became Democrats who installed System Racism in all US Cities to enslave the Blacks once again. And the Biden Blacks became Trumplicants It’s the circle of crazy life.

        But one thing is certain: Josh Hawley runs like a little girl.

        • Harold blankenship

          Let’s have a moment of silence for the January 6 patriots. May God grant them justice when trump gets elected.

          • FRANK STETSON

            Yeah, because it’s not like they weren’t caught on camera or pleaded guilty, guilty, guilty or blamed Trump in court for their actions: do those Trump-whisperers get out of jail free too?

            I guess if they were Black you would scream deport BLM……

          • Frank stetson

            Caught three more in Florida today Harry. Only a few hundred more to go.

  4. Lim wampler

    So they will be freed just like bill ayers. Bathhouse Barry’s friend

    • Frank stetson

      Bill Ayers was never convicted you stupid simpleton. The FBI screwed the pooch, just like you do. Get your head out of your ass and look before you speak.

      But what about Hitler? Or Ghandi? What about….

      Let’s let everyone go.

      Idiot. Whataboutism is a weak logical argument.

      • Jim wampler

        You commiecrats do it all the time

        • Frank stetson

          Are you in third grade Wampler?

          You must know where this illogical trail ends, don’t you?

          Yes, Democrats use whattaboutism. And whenever they do, they are as stupid as you. And even stupider when then continue to defend themselves by saying someone else is stupid too and therefore it’s OK.

          It’s stupid no matter what party or person uses it. Myself inxmcluded.

          • Jim wampler

            Was you stupid when you spelled the last word in your post? And that’s Mr.Wampler to you

          • Frank stetson

            Yes. Wampler, the typo was stupid. What about…..

            Feel better third grader?

  5. Max

    Democrats are such “STUPID ASS PEOPLE”..For you IGNORANT demoshits the Civil War was fought over “STATES RIGHTS”…Freeing the slaves was always on Lincoln’s mind but HE did not want more states to leave the union if he started off trying to free them…THE CIVIL WAR WAS FOUGHT OVER STATES RIGHTS….GET IT STRAIGHT IGNORANT ASSWIPES…Go back to school….

  6. Darren

    I love the Discussion about all the History of the United States over Civil & State & Federal Laws.
    In 20 to 30 years NON of this will be discussed!
    The New Democratic normalcy in schools is to NOT teach History!
    HMMM, wonder WHY!
    As children are not being taught Cursive Writing, they will not even begin to read the Constitution!
    You think this is being done by accident?
    The Knowledge written here in this discussion by both sides will not matter.
    The Constitution will not be legible & the more of our history being torn down and replaced
    removes the evidence anything ever happened.
    The ones in charge of Education are the biggest threat to our Government EVER!
    Good points by all.
    Thank you Larry!

  7. Frank stetson

    I thought education was locally governed. Can’t control your own zoo, Darren? And don’t worry about college, your kids don’t want that so you’re all good!