Rick Green: 5,000 Likes On Facebook Could Trigger A Senate Run For David Barton (UPDATED)

Rick Green works for David Barton’s organization, Wallbuilders, and is his co-host on Barton’s radio show, Wallbuilders Live. He also really wants his boss to be a U.S. Senator. On Facebook today, Green wrote:

There is a lot of talk out there about people wanting David Barton to run for the U.S. Senate. Let’s find out how true that is. If you want to see it happen, then take 2 seconds to like the page below, or 30 seconds to leave a post about why you think he’d be a good U.S. Senator alongside Ted Cruz fighting to restore our constitutional republic.
Just imagine what that would be like. Imagine the progress we could make towards saving our nation.
If the draft page gets 5K likes in just a few days, then we’ll know people want him to run. So if you’d like to see it happen, click like, click share, and start spreading the word. Don’t just like my post, go to the Draft David Barton for Senate page and like it. https://www.facebook.com/DavidBartonforAmerica.

In this post, Green links to another page on Facebook — Draft David Barton for Senate — which will apparently serve as a kind of fleece to know whether or not Barton should run. Currently, the page has 558 likes (in about 11 hours) with the goal being 5,000 within “a few days.”
Out of 1.11 billion monthly active Facebook users, 5,000 likes will trigger a challenge to conservative GOP Senator John Cornyn.
Green’s page is a new one; the original draft Barton group is up to 1700 members.
Just imagine.
UPDATE: Glenn Beck is imagining and apparently he likes the idea.
Related posts:
David Barton For Senate? (Oct. 28)
Could David Barton Win The Texas GOP Senate Race? (Oct. 30)

Could David Barton Win The Texas GOP Senate Race? (UPDATED)

There is a lot of chatter these days among tea partiers in Texas about who should run against John Cornyn in the 2014 Senate primary. Despite a conservative voting record, Cornyn is being targeted by the tea party set because he is perceived to be soft on Obamacare, immigration, taxes and the national debt. As I reported on Monday, David Barton has been asked by some tea party folks to consider a challenge to Cornyn. The spin is that Barton has party experience, broad name recognition, and, probably with Glenn Beck’s help, could access adequate funds for a Senate campaign.
Without Barton in the mix, Cornyn seems safe. Cornyn’s current challengers probably could not mount a significant campaign to unseat Cornyn. Thus far, those challengers include attorney Linda VegaErick Wyatt and Dwayne Stovall. Vega got into the race last week and is known as an immigration activist. Her main themes appear to be immigration reform and outreach to the Latino community. Except perhaps on immigration, she sounds all the right tea party notes.
Wyatt is a veteran of the Iraq War and sounds familiar tea party themes of small government and overturning Obamacare but is newcomer to politics. Also a novice, Stovall also appeals to tea partiers with a twist — he spoke at the 2013 annual meeting of the Texas League of the South. The TX League website described his speech as follows:

The second speaker was Dwayne Stovall, who shared his experiences from the recent election where he ran for office. He also elaborated on trends he is seeing in other groups as well, noting that all major groups in Texas have positions on the secession issue, with the major difference being the time tables they are considering.
He also elaborated on the recent legislative session in the Texas Legislature noting the bills and concerns of interest to achieving local sovereignty. A matter which he brought up worth noting is the amount of debt owed by Texas along with the source of that debt, which consists mainly of school districts and municipal bonds.

Stovall is VP of the Houston chapter of the Refounding Father Society. The society seems to have much in common with the League of the South, especially a preoccupation with nullification and interposition. The society’s website refers visitors to Mike Church’s Founder’s Library. Church is a radio talk show host who shares at least some common ground with the League (e.g., dislike of Lincoln, promotion of secession and nullification). Stovall might appeal to the far, far right but could be too extreme for the GOP, even in TX.
If these three are the only challengers, the Senate seat seems safe for Cornyn. However, I suspect the situation would change if Barton gets into the race.
Barton’s name recognition would swamp the other three challengers and soon involve the national media. A Barton v. Cornyn confrontation would place additional focus on the current GOP Civil War. Barton’s supporters would invoke memories of Ted Cruz’s improbable victory over an establishment candidate in Texas with Barton cast as Cruz’s ally. Given Barton’s early support for Cruz, I suspect Cruz would endorse Barton. Cornyn would have a boatload of opposition research to use but Barton’s followers seem immune to such things. All of this is probably enough to cause major heartburn among the GOP establishment in Texas.
UPDATE: National Review Online is on the case and confirms that Barton is considering a run against Cornyn. Barton’s partner at Wallbuilders, Rick Green told NRO:

More than 1,000 (zero exaggeration, that is an actual number) tea party and republican party leaders have asked David Barton to run. Polling says Sen. Cornyn is vulnerable and that’s why he is running ads right now. Like America’s Founding Fathers, David Barton will not “seek” this office, but if the people of Texas speak loud enough in the next few days, he could most certainly be drafted in by the voters.

A look at the membership of the Facebook group dedicated to drafting Barton reveals that many of Barton’s family are also a part of the effort. Barton himself is a member of the group and Green’s wife is actively adding members to the group.  Julie McCarty, tea party leader mentioned in the NRO article, has mounted a vigorous defense of Barton on her Facebook page.
The blog Opposing Views has also covered the possibility of a Barton Senate run.
Related Posts:
David Barton For Senate?
Rick Green: 5,000 Likes On Facebook Could Trigger A Senate Run For David Barton
Janet Mefferd: David Barton Has Too Much Baggage On Historian Credentials To Run For Senate
David Barton For Senate: Status Report With More From Politico, Glenn Beck, First Things

Wheaton's Inhabit Conference: Race and the Christian Nation Question

I am hearing good things about the Inhabit conference held at Wheaton College this past weekend. I had wanted to attend but couldn’t due to a previous commitment. One topic of discussion at the conference was the problem of the Christian nation concept.
John Fea notes that the Christian nation theory is offensive to many African-American evangelicals. Here is a taste:

On Friday evening I was inspired by the Wheaton Gospel Choir and messages by Pastor Ray, Chris Beard of Peoples Church in Cincinnati, and Bryan Loritts, the pastor of a multiracial church in Memphis.  (Loritts is a big Jonathan Edwards fan and was very excited to meet Marsden.  He had just finished Marsden’s biography of Edwards and was now reading some of Noll’s work). The evangelical African-American community is deeply offended by the notion, made popular by Christian nationalists such as David Barton, that the United States needs to somehow “return” or “go back” to its so-called Christian roots.  They view America’s founding as anything but Christian.  Many of the founding fathers owned slaves.  When the founders had the chance to choose the nation over the end of slavery (1776 and 1787) they always chose the former.  Slavery is embedded in the Constitution. Indeed, the entire debate over whether the United States is a Christian nation is a white Protestant evangelical issue.  One would be hard pressed to find an African-American evangelical who wants to return to what Christian Nationalists often describe as the golden age of American Christianity.

Rev. Beard’s experience as a minister in Cincinnati illustrates Fea’s observations:

Beard’s Peoples Church seems to have made the most striking reversal on the Christian America question.  As a member of the Assembly of God denomination, Beard taught his congregation that the founders were Christians, that America was a Christian Nation, and that patriotism was almost inseparable from the Kingdom of God.  He even had David Barton speak at his church.  But after reading folks like Noll and Marsden, and looking more closely at the historical record, Beard changed his mind.  He made a deliberate attempt to reject Christian nationalist teaching, build an international and multiracial congregation, and subordinate his patriotism to the Kingdom of God.  He lost a lot of his church in the process, but he has rebuilt it into an even stronger congregation.

Beard’s views certainly motivated his opposition to The Jefferson Lies when it came out, as well as to the recent surge of interest in the Institute on the Constitution and League of the South.

Taskmaster of the Mountain: Michael Coulter on Henry Wiencek's Master of the Mountain

Michael Coulter is co-author with me of Getting Jefferson Right: Fact Checking Claims about Our Third President, and professor of political science and humanities at Grove City College. He recently penned this review of Master of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves by Henry Wiencek (New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2012) for a campus publication and gave me permission to reproduce it here.
It is almost a cliché to say that Thomas Jefferson’s life – both his words and his deeds – is notoriously difficult to comprehend as a coherent whole. This is particularly the case with respect to slavery.  One can easily find passages in his writings that condemn slavery and the slave trade, yet he owned nearly 600 slaves during his lifetime, many of which he bought and sold.  In his only book, Notes on the State of Virginia, he makes outrageous claims about the limited intellect, sexual appetites and practices, and character of slaves, yet in some letters he praises some blacks and his slaves carried on essential and somewhat complicated commercial tasks on his estate.  He criticized the mixing of races as being an “abomination,” but he lived in close proximity with many who were mixed race; even more problematic, some evidence suggests an intimate relationship with his slave Sally Hemings.  It is this complexity and contradictory character that led historian Joseph Ellis to call his biography of Jefferson: American Sphinx (Vantage, 1998).
In his book, Master of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves, Henry Wiencek seeks to both complement and correct some of the previous biographies in this work.  Wiencek is an accomplished author and his work places him somewhere between an historian and a journalist, although he seems closer to the latter because of some limited use of notes and his description of his ‘detective work’ to obtain evidence for this book.  In the 1990s he wrote about social life in American history, such works on homes and plantations in the American south.  More recently, he has turned to the intersection of race, politics and culture, and both historians and public intellectuals praised his An Imperfect God: George Washington, His Slaves, and the Creation of America (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2003).
Wiencek takes on another founder in Master of the Mountain, but this work has had a more mixed reception with some critics offering fulsome praise and others troubled by both the prosecutorial tone and the tendentious use of some evidence.   The work itself is, more or less, a narrative account of the relationship that Jefferson had with his slaves as well as what he wrote about slaves and how he treated slavery as policy issue during his time of prominence in Virginia politics.
Wiencek briefly recounts Jefferson as a young man marrying Martha Wayles and beginning life at Monticello in 1772.  Slaves are intertwined in both of their lives as Jefferson had inherited slaves and Martha had six half-siblings who were slaves who were born during her teen years and early 20s.  Slaves were present at Monticello to assist with managing the household and to assist with raising children as Martha was often in poor health.
Wiencek then turns to the text which every writer on Jefferson must examine: Notes on the State of Virginia.  Jefferson wrote this particular text in the 1780s as a response to some questions addressed to Jefferson by a French diplomat.  Wiencek rather strikingly calls the text a “Dismal Swamp,” because it contains some rather embarrassing statements, and not just by today’s standards.  In Notes, Jefferson ruminates on the intellectual inferiority of blacks and even suggests that black women had sexual relations with apes.  There’s nothing particularly new in Wiencek’s account of the Notes, and there may be nothing new to be said about this strange work.  Nevertheless, a work about the Jefferson and slavery should not be written without some discussion of Notes.
The core of the Wiencek’s work and his central argument is an attempt to explain how Jefferson went from being an eloquent critic of slavery – such as his proclamation of natural rights in the Declaration of Independence or his support for the banning of the importation of slaves in the late 18th century – to being an active user and seller of slaves. Wiencek characterizes Jefferson’s antislavery rhetoric as the product of the revolutionary fervor of the 1770s and early 1780s.  Wiencek then argues that Jefferson was moved by financial reasons to support slavery.  Jefferson both inherited debt as well as slaves from his father-in-law and his own efforts at commercial success were limited.  Jefferson, as Wiencek shows through analysis of Jefferson’s Farm Book, was also a spendthrift.  Wiencek sas that “his laborers became harnessed to a virtuous undertaking; they would save him; and their obligation for his debts quieted his moral conflicts.” (p. 71)
As evidence for this hypothesis, Wiencek discusses Jefferson’s selling of around 160 slaves between 1784 and 1794.  It is certainly hard to reconcile someone both denouncing slaves and also selling them.  But even though Jefferson sold slaves, that did not diminish his total number as Jefferson carefully recorded the children his slaves bore.  Wiencek cites a 1792 letter from Jefferson where Jefferson cites the financial gain that can come from slaves bearing children.  Wiencek interprets this letter as a statement about Jefferson’s personal financial interests, but the letter in context seems to be about the general gain from slaves in Virginia having children.  Also offered as support for his financial explanation of Jefferson’s slaveholding is the will of Thaddeus Kosciuszko, a Polish supporter of the American revolution and friend of Jefferson.  Wiencek several times cites Kosciuszko’s will, which made Jefferson the executor and, in at least one of its versions, would have provided money to Jefferson so that he could free his slaves.  Jefferson is presented by Wiencek as simply neglecting these funds so that he could keep his slaves as a means of making money; however, Wiencek does not fully explain the legal issues related to executing this will.  Even if the money were truly available, the legal difficulties with the Kosciuszko’s will could have prevented him from freeing his slaves through this benefaction.
Many of the other works on Jefferson and slavery consider his statements and his political actions, but Wiencek’s contribution to the Jefferson literature is to assemble the evidence about the lives of slaves at Monticello.  Some of this evidence is from contemporaneous materials or later recollections by family members or employees at Monticello.  From these recollections we learn about commercial activities at Monticello in agricultural, blacksmithing, and even nail making.  The workers were not always compliant, which leads Wiencek to characterize the “Monticello machine [as] operat[ing] on carefully calibrated violence.” (p. 113)
Additional evidence for Wiencek is obtained from archaeologists excavating the Monticello grounds. Wiencek says that “Monticello Mountain itself is one huge document” and it is “an earthen text bearing traces of uncountable stories and a past that stubbornly reasserts its mysteries.” (p. 134) Much of this evidence has only been recently available, and, while Wiencek did not dig up the telling artifacts, he certainly assembles the information in a compelling manner.  Herein one learns about the daily lives of the slaves at Monticello and its generally harsh environment, although Wiencek acknowledges that some of Jefferson’s slaves lived as family units, which was not the practice in most of Virginia.
There is much ground covered in the work, but it seems an omission that more attention is not given to the legal environment of slavery in Virginia.  Wiencek cites the 1782 law which permitted manumission of slaves, and there is a brief account of the two slaves Jefferson freed in the 1790s.  Few details are given about the law or its origin and no details are given about the changes to the law governing manumission made in 1806 and then in 1816. Philip Schwarz’s Slave Laws in Virginia (University of Georgia Press, 2010) offers an incredibly detailed account these laws and the response to the legal changes and this work is not even cited by Wiencek.
Despite some shortcomings, Master of the Mountain is still a significant work insofar as it provides much detail about how Jefferson’s slaves lived as well as Jefferson’s relationships with those slaves.  Moving rhetoric about rights and equality are far from enough.  Commitments to moral and philosophical principles may – and often will – require a sacrifice of what is in our self-interest.  Jefferson was not merely stuck with slaves; he made choices to engage in the buying and selling of human beings and to treat harshly those under his care, and for those choices he should be accountable.

David Barton for Senate? (UPDATED)

According to this tweet, David Barton is being recruited to run against John Cornyn for the Republican Senate nomination.

The link leads a Facebook group titled: Draft David Barton for US Senate. According to the page,

This group is set up to alert the grassroots that there is a movement taking place that would like to encourage David Barton with Wallbuilders to run for the US Senate against John Cornyn.

Currently, the group has 394 members.
I hope he runs since it would shed more light on his history lessons and other curious statements.
Apparently, there is some buzz building about this idea. This supporter of Barton believes the rumors are legitimate. As of the morning of Oct. 29, the group now has over 1000 members.