Ben has two claims to fame. The first is that he played the garage mechanic Cooter Davenport on the lovable 1979 to 1985 hit TV show The Dukes of Hazzard. That's become a lifetime occupation for Ben, who now plays country music under the name Cooter's Garage Band, organizes Dukes of Hazzard fan fairs around the country, and generally tries to make a living off his website Cooter's Place. Just a good ol' boy, never meanin' no harm.
Ben's second claim to fame is that he served 4 years in the U.S. House of Representatives as a Democrat from Georgia from 1989 to 1993. He got squeezed out by redistricting following the 1990 census and then lost U.S. House races to Newt Gingrich in Georgia in 1994 and to Eric Cantor in Virginia in 2000. Just the sort of fellow Democrat you might have play at your political fundraiser.
Cooter got himself canceled because of the stand he took against political correctness a year ago during the NASCAR controversy over whether the 1969 Dodge Charger from the TV show would be allowed to take a lap at a Phoenix racetrack. What could be wrong with a car from an old TV show? The orange car has a Confederate Battle Flag painted on its roof. For Cooter it was personal:
"At a time when tens of millions of Americans are honoring their Union and Confederate ancestors during this Sesquicentennial of the Civil War, NASCAR has chosen to dishonor those Southerners who fought and died in that terrible conflict by caving to 'political correctness' and the uninformed concerns of corporate sponsors."Now, I will point out Team PC was fooling around with Ben Jones's livelihood. Nonetheless, Andrew Zucker, U.S Senate candidate for Massachusetts Ed Markey's spokesperson, was unequivocal:
"Ed Markey only learned about Ben Jones's comments today, he strongly disagrees with them and has asked Jones not to be part of tonight's event. Ed believes such Confederate relics are highly offensive, and should not be displayed in public settings, period."Is the relic he's talking about the flag, the car, or the man? Only the man can be accused of racism. I'll have to side with Ben Jones on this:
"While it is true that the Confederate Battle Flag has been desecrated by bigots and racists, these groups also misuse the American Flag and the Christian cross in their shameless rituals. The vast majority of the display of the St. Andrews Cross Flag is in a benign spirit of remembrance and reverence."Don't get me wrong. I'm from a Northern family that saw service on the Union side. I believe we should have made the surrendering Confederate officers who had previously taken the oath to support and defend the Constitution draw lots for execution as traitors at the end of the war, the traditional decimation of the ranks for mutiny. But since 260,000 of the 1,000,0000 Southern men who took up arms against their country during the conflict were killed in battle or died of decease, their ranks were decimated.
Let's take Ed Markey at his word. What about his fellow Democrat and Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley and her two Labradors, Jackson and Beauregard, who are named after Confederate General Stonewall Jackson and Confederate General P. G. T. Beauregard? I can understand a certain ancestral remembrance from a Southerner like Ben Jones. It's all about context. But what's the excuse for an Irish-American from Massachusetts giving her dogs racist names? We'll see how fast Ed Markey denounces Martha Coakley.