‘WAR OF NORTHERN AGGRESSION’…. It’s 2009. One would like to think we’ve moved beyond non-satirical references to the “War of Northern Aggression.” (via Show Me Progress)

The [Missouri] Capitol is abuzz about Rep. Bryan Stevenson, R-Webb City, who said this morning on the House floor the federal Freedom of Choice Act is the most egregious federal power grab since the “War of Northern Aggression.”

He later apologized at the urging of Rep. Don Calloway, D-St. Louis.

Stevenson made the statement during the discussion of a resolution that would urge the U.S. Congress to reject the act, which would prohibit government interference in abortion.

Although President Barack Obama has made his support for FOCA clear, state Rep. Chris Kelly, D-Columbia, pointed out that no bill has yet been filed.

“This is a meaningless resolution about imaginary legislation,” he said. “It does not do one single thing to decrease the number of abortions in the state of Missouri.”

Calloway, an African-American lawmaker, reminded Stevenson that the Civil War helped abolish slavery and it was “inappropriate to refer to that war as the war of northern aggression.”

When the right ponders why the Republican Party continues to struggle with race, conservatives should remember it’s not just “Barack the Magic Negro” CDs, or Republican congressman referring to Barack Obama as “uppity” and “boy,” or the Ashley Todd hoax, or “Obama Bucks.”

It’s also that no one seems too terribly surprised to hear a Republican official in the 21st century refer to the Civil War as the “War of Northern Aggression.”

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.