Flag This

In the past few days we’ve experienced one of our infrequent sea changes, and long-established Confederate flag apologists are now flip-flopping all over to claim they never were really in favor of flying Confederate flags over statehouses. Except they were.

Where could anyone have gotten the impression that the flag is a presidential campaign issue?

Maybe from former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who did everything short of actually firing on Fort Sumter in an effort to court white South Carolina voters during his 2008 presidential campaign:

You don’t like people from outside the state coming in and telling you what to do with your flag. In fact, if somebody came to Arkansas and told us what to do with our flag, we’d tell ’em what to do with the pole; that’s what we’d do.

Evidently, Huckabee’s pandering on the flag issue was deemed a successful strategy. In that same campaign, the New York Times noted, an independent group ran radio ads attacking Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for criticizing the Confederate flag, and boasted that “Mike Huckabee understands the value of heritage.”

Lindsey Graham — I will refrain from calling him “Miss Lindsey” as I am tired of dealing with damnyankee dweebs who don’t get the cultural reference, but he will always be Miss Lindsey to me — late last week was still saying the flag is “part of who we are,” while today he’s all in favor of taking it down from the South Carolina statehouse.

It would be grand to believe this shift represents a newly found sensitivity to racial issues. But this is South Carolina we’re talking about now, so let’s not kid ourselves.

Reading between the lines of this Politico article, some things become clear.

Those critics have argued that the new South Carolina, where Boeing decided in 2009 to locate a new assembly line for the 787 Dreamliner that created some 4,000 new jobs, could grow at a faster pace if they could find a way to remove the flag from the Statehouse.

“We were missing out on some great opportunities to showcase our state,” said Glenn McCall, an RNC committeeman who stood with Haley on Monday. “We’ve lost some NCAA tournaments, some big companies looking to relocate because of that flag.”

Oh. There’s money involved.

There was a sense among South Carolina Republican leaders, including Graham, that they couldn’t come out too forcefully against the flag until they were certain there would be enough support across the state to follow through. A source familiar with Graham’s thinking noted that in addition to the sensitivities around the families of those killed, there were economic considerations in play.

“If the senior senator rushed out right in front of the cameras, and the flag had not come down, you just handed the competing states a huge weapon to use against you,” said the source, noting that other states would try to attract business based on the state failing to follow through on a moral call from a senior leader. “Failure is not an option.”

Since Thursday night, the source said, Graham had been working the phones, talking with business leaders, state and federal legislators and other stakeholders to take their temperature on the issue, and was in frequent consultation with Haley and Scott.

On Sunday afternoon, Haley’s staffers called Graham’s team and invited him to come to Columbia for a meeting early Monday afternoon with other stakeholders and legislators, including Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and South Carolina GOP Chairman Matt Moore.

By Sunday, the source said, the direction in which the issue was trending was fairly clear — it was more a question of how the announcement would be rolled out.

So Miss … I mean, Senator Graham displayed his usual bold leadership by consulting everyone in the state to find out what position was safest, politically. Yessireebob, that’s the stuff that made America, um, less great.
Sociopaths for Jesus leader Mike Huckabee certainly didn’t disappoint, either.
“I keep hearing people saying we need more conversations about race,” the former Arkansas governor opined. “Actually we don’t need more conversations. What we need is conversions because the reconciliations that changes people is not a racial reconciliation, it’s a spiritual reconciliation when people are reconciled to God.”

“When I love God and I know that God created other people regardless of their color as much as he made me, I don’t have a problem with racism,” Huckabee insisted.

The candidate concluded: “It’s solved!”

That slapping sound you just heard was Jesus in heaven, facepalming.
As usual, Ta-Nahesi Coates demonstrated his depth of knowledge and insight in this must-read piece — What This Cruel War Was Over. See also Five Myths About Why the South Seceded.

23 thoughts on “Flag This

  1. Mis… Senator Graham, Senator Scott, and Governor Haley, all stood together to make a statement about taking that flag down.

    In other words, those 3 politically secure SC GOP politicians took the bullet for the RNC and their party, since their potential Presidential candidates – both declared, and those yet to declare – looked like stammering and confused mentally challenged children at a “Spelling Bee” when asked about that flag of traitorous treason and slavery.

    Someone should write a book about these GOP Presidential candidates:
    “Profiles in Cowardice.”

    They’re all afraid of losing votes from their sociopathic, racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, homophobic, and religiously intolerant base.

  2. It’s been nearly twenty years, but, when we first relocated to NC from Florida, one of the local churches was having an event. It was a “book burning.” Even with my lack of experience in public relations, I thought, “that doesn’t sound like a good idea.”

    But, the church invited people to bring in possessions that were interfering with their experience of God and keeping them distant from other people. A number of the younger members of the congregation were interviewed regarding their choices. Among the videos games and CDs were a few confederate flags and some other Southern heritage items. Nothing is all bad.

  3. Pat Hines, who Maha may recall from the USENET days, has ventured forth with some typical rhetoric, and the SCV is gearing up top fight this. I don’t doubt the power of moneyed interests over sentimentality, but I’ll believe it is happening when the bill passes.

  4. It’s puzzling to understand how Huckabee can so clearly see how outsiders shouldn’t have a say in what South Carolina does with the Confederate flag, yet he can’t see how male “outsiders” shouldn’t have a say in women’s reproductive rights. Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t seem to understand how he formulates his distinctions. Must be states rights trumps women’s rights,huh?

  5. If the Confederate battle flag is heritage and history, then it should not be on a flagpole, where it will be faded by sun, battered by wind, drenched by rain, and befouled by dust and birds. History like that flag should be in a history museum, carefully preserved in a glass case with climate control, right next to all of the other dead things.

    Riddle me this: what do the Stars and Bars, the Swastika, and the Hammer and Sickle have in common?

    Among other things, all three took on the Stars and Stripes, and lost.

  6. “Confederate flag apologists are now flip-flopping”

    It is quite a spectacle, craven political calculus. I have to give the GOP credit, they have message discipline, it seems like Reince got Nikki to take the hit from the old southern racists so the rest of the GOP presidential candidates could fall in line unscathed. From a pure political perspective it is brilliant organization. From a human perspective they are vile hypocrites but what else is new. I’m just Glad the flag is coming down, now maybe the skinhead who lives down the street from me will remove his porch monkey (there really is a guy on my street with a porch monkey)?

  7. The only bad thing about this flag flap is that the wing-nuts are not being pressed on the gun issue. I was hoping they would push the “we need guns in church” meme. The next logical question (for a non-crazy person) would be if guns were allowed in church and the victims choose not to carry are they responsible for getting murdered?

  8. Swami: It’s the lacy handkerchief M. Lindsey keeps waving in front of his nose. Heavens knows what it’s laced with but it clouds his mental abilities and prevents him from making sense of what he says or thinks. After all, that wouldn’t be attractive, would it?

  9. There are times when I wish you had a “like” button in the comments section. There’s nothing I can say ro enhance this conversation. ‘Love the Miss Lindsey” thingie.

  10. This must be national “Love the Pope Week.” On this, and pretty much all the liberal sites, everyone is having a lovefest with the Pope because he’s decided that global warming is real. That’s nice.

    I can’t find a single word from anyone pointing out that this same Pope is totally against birth control (and, of course, legal abortion) for women.

    Over on Alternet there is a good article about women in Latin America (and even the USA) rotting in jail because they had miscarriages, and thus suspected illegal abortions.

    Overpopulation and global warming are two sides of the same issue. The one thing the Catholic church could do to help ease the burden of global warming would be to allow women to be something else besides baby-producing machines. Admittedly, family planning will not entirely eliminate AGW, but it’s at least one step in the right direction, and one that the Catholic church could show leadership in. Not to mention that women shouldn’t have to rot in jail for having a miscarriage as a matter of principle, regardless of what that does to the Earth’s climate.

    • //I can’t find a single word from anyone pointing out that this same Pope is totally against birth control (and, of course, legal abortion) for women.// Then you didn’t look very hard. Look at my previous post. Then get lost.

  11. Sorry that I accidentally posted to the wrong thread. I had meant to post to the thread “The Pope’s Encyclical”

  12. I am going to ask a huge favor of you, Maha. Some time ago, I am almost positive, you provided a link that showed Fort Sumter was property of the US (Northern States). I have searched your archives time and time again and have been unable to find it.

    I have tried various search engines but have not found the one I am sure you had provided. If I remember correctly, it was the legal document spelling out that the property in question was no longer land owned by the Confederate states. Are you able to recall that particular link and if so, can you please provide it. I promise to bookmark it.

    • chris — You don’t need documentation. Ft. Sumter was a federal military reservation. Army posts and such are federal reservations and entirely under federal jurisdiction, even if they are smack in the middle of a state. If you are inside Fort Riley, you are not in Kansas any more. South Carolina had no more right to Sumter than it had right to Massachusetts, and when it fired on Sumter it was a bare-assed act of insurrection.

  13. Maybe the Republicans sense that their schtick is wearing thin. They’ve put themselves forward as the moral compass of America for decades, but maybe they’ve displayed their own moral bankruptcy too many times for the mask not to slip a bit, even for the Gomers. (It’s okay, some of my best friends are Gomers. I’ve even been accused of being one myself.) In the interest of damage control and pressure release, they’re perfectly willing to toss away some social issues in exchange for retaining the new feudalism, one’s the baby, the rest is bath water.

    But, one thing that we could learn from them is to accept every little victory with celebration and an eye to the next one. I know that there is a long way to go, but, Pope Francis seems to be shifting the narrative to something that resembles the Christianity I grew up with, although my parents were agnostics. I’d like to see more, but, things don’t happen all at once, I’ll take what I can get.

    Let’s hope that the slippery slopes that the right always cite come back to bite them. This vicious crime has exposed them and maybe what they fear most is that the guns part of their God, guns and guts trinity is next on the block of public opinion.

    Wow, uncledad, Chuck Berry looks great, but, I guess we all looked a little better in ’72. I’ve always like Lucinda Williams too. When she and Steve Earle teamed up on “You’re Still Standing There,” her voice was just right. Nobody writes guy/girl songs like Steve Earle.

    • //This vicious crime has exposed them and maybe what they fear most is that the guns part of their God, guns and guts trinity is next on the block of public opinion.// The Tao Teh Ching (or Dao De Jing) says over and over that whatever is hard and rigid will break, and that which is soft and fluid will prevail. The Gun People have become so rigidly incapable of even the most minor compromise that there’s no where else for them to go, and IMO it’s nearly inevitable that public opinion will turn on them sooner or later. The irony is that Americans for the most part don’t want to amend the Second Amendment or take guns away from anybody, but if things continue as they are that will change, eventually. It’s just a matter of when, not if, IMO.

  14. Maybe I’m “mis-membering”. I thought you provided a link that specifically spelled out who owned the land, such as an official document. I have links stating essentially what you said, but perhaps, as I said, I’m thinking something that ain’t.

    • chris — I suppose there’s a congressional record somewhere. I found an article about the ownership of Fort Sumter, which says that the state of South Carolina would have either granted or affirmed that the federal government had title to the property in perpetuity. It says,

      The process was very simple: a state would, through its members of Congress and senators, argue that the National Interest required that a fort be built, such as one in the middle of Charleston Harbor. The necessary legislation would pass Congress and be signed by the President. Then the state legislature would pass a law granting title (if the state owned the property) or affirming title (if the land was privately owned) to the United States. The one general exception was a clause inserted to allow state officials to enter the Federal property to seize fugitives from justice or to serve civil process papers. Depending upon the property in question there might also be affirmations of the right of eminent domain, i.e., if the private owner was unwilling to sell, the property would be appraised and, under the Fifth Amendment, the government would judicially take title, paying the owner the appraised price. In other cases, the state’s approval was contingent upon the Federal government using the land. South Carolina’s legislature was so anxious to have Fort Sumter, that it provided for the first two and left out the third exception.

      I also looked up a history of Fort Sumter and found this

      Construction of Fort Sumter first began in 1829 in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, on a manmade island built from thousands of tons of granite. Building ground to a halt in the 1830s amid a dispute over ownership of the stretch of the harbor, and did not resume until 1841.

      I don’t know where you’d find additional information about the ownership dispute. But it doesn’t change the fact that it was a federal reservation.

  15. “I’ve always like Lucinda Williams too”

    Her latest album is really good! Steve Earle is my musical hero, I believe I have every album he’s ever recorded (except the latest). All of these phony “tough guy” country pop stars try but fail to be what Steve Earle has always been without even trying. Nashville won’t touch Earle with a ten foot pole, he’s a real lefty you know and very outspoken about it!

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