Harold Meyerson at the Washington Post takes a lead from our own Dennis G:
… On this page last week, my colleague E.J. Dionne Jr. rightly noted that by attacking the [14th] amendment, Republicans seek to undo one of their party’s greatest and most inclusionary achievements. Civil War- and Reconstruction-era Republicans took pains to ensure the citizenship not only of freed slaves and their children. They — in particular, Abraham Lincoln — also decided not to permanently keep millions of Confederate soldiers and sympathizers from regaining their citizenship.
The Confederates had renounced all allegiance to the United States. They made war on the United States — the Constitution’s definition of treason — and, in an effort to keep 4 million Americans enslaved, killed more of our soldiers than any foreign army ever did. Yet Lincoln was determined to make it easy for Confederates to regain their citizenship. By taking an oath to support the United States and its Constitution, Confederates were made Americans again.
Suppose, though, that Lincoln had been filled with the spirit of today’s Republicans. The crimes that Republicans ascribe to today’s illegal immigrants pale next to those of Confederate leaders and supporters (chiefly, treason). A Lindsey Graham-like Lincoln would never have let the Confederates regain citizenship. Moreover, he would have denied citizenship to their children and their children’s children. A large share of the nation, certainly of the white South, would have drifted endlessly in a legal limbo. The current Republican Party, anchored as it is in the white South, would scarcely exist.
So, the question for Lindsey Graham is: Are you serious about revoking the citizenship of 4 million children, their children and their children’s children? How about a package deal: Stripping their citizenship in return for stripping the citizenship of Confederate descendants. A sort of Missouri Compromise for our times. Bipartisanship in action.