CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES GETS A LITTLE LARGER…. I guess this story hasn’t quite run its course just yet.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) might have gotten the exactly the help he didn’t need from a friend [yesterday] morning, as Republican Governors Association chairman Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R-Miss.) defended him for issuing a proclamation in honor of Confederate History Month that did not include reference to slavery.

On CNN’s “State of the Union,” Barbour said people already know slavery was a bad thing and that the outcry over McDonnell’s proclamation amounted to making “a big deal out of something that doesn’t amount to diddly.” […]

Asked by anchor Candy Crowley if McDonnell’s resolution was a mistake, Barbour said, “I don’t think so.” […]

The problem for McDonnell, of course: He’s been saying for several days now exactly the opposite, apologizing repeatedly for leaving slavery out of the proclamation and calling it a “major omission.”

Barbour is currently the head of the Republican Governors Association, and a possible 2012 presidential candidate. He also described himself last week as a “fat redneck.”

Josh Marshall noted this morning, “The Dems must be pretty bummed the Republicans have finally managed to put the Civil War, slavery and segregation behind them. Oh, right. Never mind.”

And for the record, as Newsweek editor Jon Meacham explained over the weekend, the issue means a lot more than diddly: “Efforts to rehabilitate the Southern rebellion frequently come at moments of racial and social stress, and it is revealing that Virginia’s neo-Confederates are refighting the Civil War in 2010. Whitewashing the war is one way for the right — alienated, anxious and angry about the president, health care reform and all manner of threats, mostly imaginary — to express its unease with the Age of Obama, disguising hate as heritage.”

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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.