National Review published this over 20 years ago in response to Missourian John Ashcroft being demonized for respecting the Confederacy.
1/18/01 1:50 p.m.
Confederates in the Senate
A forgotten vote.
By Melissa Seckora, NR editorial associate
On April 10, 1975, Senators Kennedy, Biden, and Leahy joined in a unanimous vote in the Senate restoring full citizenship rights to Robert E. Lee. The bill recognized General Lee's "outstanding virtues of courage, patriotism, and selfless devotion."
But that was then.
Yesterday, Senators Kennedy, Biden, and Leahy grilled the attorney general-designee John Ashcroft on his views regarding the Confederacy. Referring to an interview he gave in Southern Partisan magazine, Biden, in particular, attacked Ashcroft for saying that unless "traditionalists" spoke out, Americans would continue to think that Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson were "giving their lives, subscribing their sacred fortunes and their honor to some perverted agenda."
Too bad Biden can't remember the day when he, too, could see straight on the issue.
This was an uncontroversial vote in 1975, when the Democrats were about to run, successfully, a white Southerner named Jimmy Carter for President, and Biden in particular was showing signs of being soft on Confederacy as late as 2008.
What happened was that Lee, having honorably surrendered, signed the oath of loyalty after the Civil War, and sent a notarized copy to President Andrew Johnson, but it got lost and wasn't acted on before Lee's death in 1870, so it was a nice, bipartisan gesture in the run-up to America's bicentennial [Citizenship is Voted For Robert E. Lee, by Marjorie Hunter, New York Times, July 23, 1975].
That note about Biden and Ashcroft is not on the NRO website any more, not because of memory-holing, but because of NRO not being very good at archiving.
But here's the kind of thing NRO is writing these days:
If you want to know what a Lost Cause really is, it's conservatism at National Review.