If there’s one subject on which you just can’t win as a Republican politician these days, it seems to be the Confederate flag.

After the racially motivated Charleston shootings this week and a Supreme Court case regarding the flag, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) is facing pressure to take down the flag, which is still flying high at a Confederate War memorial on state house grounds. She hasn’t heeded the calls, and her staff says it’s up to the general assembly. Her fellow South Carolinian and GOP presidential candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham, meanwhile, defended the flag flying in his home state by telling CNN on Friday that it is “part of who we are.”


South Carolina state Rep. Norman Brannon (R) said Friday night he’ll introduce a bill to remove the flag from capitol grounds. But Republican politicians like Romney and Brannon have also faced pushback when they’ve sided with getting rid of the flag.

“That’s opening up Pandora’s box,” Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.), a former governor of the state, said when asked on MSNBC if it should be taken down.

“If you touch it, you usually die politically,” Scott Buchanan, a political science professor at The Citadel in South Carolina, told The State newspaper in 2014.

The Confederate flag, of course, first experienced its resurgence in the then-heavily Democratic South. Today, though, Democrats are much more likely to oppose it, making it a pretty easy call for Democratic politicians.

But for the least two decades, it’s an issue which has divided and tripped up many Republicans.

Tough call to make.  I remember the Democrats going through the same push-me/pull-me  conumdrum over racial desegregation.   In the end, Republicans became Democrats and Democrats became Republicans.

Today. it’s all about the base.  In the south, the Republican base is mainly white older conservatives.  Somehow, taking down symbols of the old south just doesn’t fly well.  Somehow, there is this impression that the Confederacy somehow stood for defiance against federal dictates  Those Republicans who dare rock the boat on any issue that “disses” confederate symbols does so at his or her own peril.   No it isn’t particularly fair.  It falls into the realm of JUST IS.

21 Thoughts to “GOP candidates need to be wary of the CSA flag issue”

  1. Starry flights

    Good for Romney. His stance didn’t prevent his winning nomination. The rest of the republican candidates should do the same.

  2. Scout

    In a better world, Confederate symbology could have been revered as symbolic of valor and sacrifice. My family were all early Republicans, abolitionist, immigrant stock among whom virtually all of the males went to war to preserve the Union. Some even became general officers in the War. My elderly mother remembers a few of these veterans whose lives overlapped her childhood. So it wasn’t that long ago. My Union ancestors always had great respect for their former enemies and taught that down the generations. They wouldn’t have been offended by appropriate uses of Confederate symbols.

    Alas, the appropriation of those symbols by the Klan and later by segregationists ruined it for all of America. There’s no walking back how these groups besmirched what could have been many good connotations of those symbols. They have to be left behind except for museums.

  3. Cargosquid

    The GOP candidates? Funny…Hillary supported the Confederate Flag while First Lady of Arkansas.

    Oh…I see Jackson found it too. Never mind.

  4. blue


    What do you mean ” In the end, Republicans became Democrats and Democrats became Republicans.”

    I see no change – just tactics. Democrates were the party of official racism and segregation and are now the party of racial divide and paternalistic social progressivism. Republicans were and still are the party of abolition, equal rights and equal opportunity. The flag issue is just another in a long line of Democratic party tactics.

    1. I think its pretty clear. Those who were Republicans became Democrats and those who were Democrats became Republicans.

      Perhaps you aren’t old enough to remember who called themselves what back in those days. What is your age?

  5. Jackson Bills

    I don’t get that either Blue… I think that it’s just something Democrats tell themselves to make them feel better but is not based in reality.

  6. Jackson Bills

    Moon-howler :
    She was, Mr. Paranoia.

    What was her response? Did she ‘evolve’ on the issue 🙂

    1. I don’t remember what any of them said. It doesn’t matter. It isn’t a presidential issue. It’s a state issue.

  7. Starryflights

    Campaigns distance themselves from white supremacist leader’s donations

    By Will Greenberg and Tom Hamburger June 22 at 11:02 AM

    The head of a white supremacist group cited by accused Charleston, S.C., gunman Dylann Roof made thousands of dollar in campaign contributions to prominent Republican candidates in recent years, including three seeking the GOP presidential nomination.

    There is no evidence that the campaigns, including those of former senator Rick Santorum (Pa.), Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) and Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) were aware of the group’s past statements, and some have already said the money will be returned. They were moving quickly to disassociate themselves from it, with Cruz’s campaign the first to announce that it would return money it had received.

    The contributions were first reported by the Guardian.

    Earl Holt has described himself as the president of the Council of Conservative Citizens, an organization that Dylan Roof mentioned in the “manifesto” posted on a Web site registered under his name. Roof is accused of killing nine people at Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church last Wednesday night.

    [Dylann Roof’s racist manifesto: ‘I have no choice’]

    According to the records, Holt gave $8,500 total to Cruz and the super PAC Jobs Growth and Freedom Fund, which supports Cruz, between 2012 and 2014. He gave $1,750 to RandPAC, a group supporting Paul, between 2012 and 2013, and an additional $1,500 to Santorum, Federal Election Commission records show.

    In addition to donations to the three presidential candidates, FEC records show that Longview, Tex., donor “Earl Holt” or “Earl Holt III” contributed to numerous congressional campaigns, including the 2014 campaigns of Senators Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Joni Ernst of Iowa. Holt was also listed as giving to the campaigns of Mia Love and Allen West, two African American House candidates.


    Hardly surprising

  8. Jackson Bills

    Hardly surprising that he donated to two African American candidates? Wha??? Sometimes I wonder what in the heck your talking about…

  9. Jackson Bills

    Moon-howler :
    She was, Mr. Paranoia.

    Well I’ve looked and I don’t see a single instance of her being asked about it directly. Maybe that is why you don’t remember her response.

    1. I heard on TV today that she was asked. that’s all I am going to say. Read my lips…I don’t give a rat’s ass.

  10. Jackson Bills

    At least in the past week that is…. she was asked about it years ago and her response was very supportive of keeping it. Is that what you were referring to?

  11. Scout

    JB – it would help to quote or link to a quote of HRC’s position on this “years ago”. That might stimulate discussion as to how much her views have evolved (if they have).

  12. Lyssa

    Well now, Wal-Mart said Monday it is removing any items from its store shelves and website that feature the Confederate flag. Never took them for bleeding heart liberal Democrats using the flag as a tactic. Well now.

    1. I suppose now there will be a rush on buying up the battle flag. Soon you won’t be able to buy one. So much for kid’s making diaramas in school.

  13. Lyssa

    Just can’t keep up with people and their convictions…

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans with presidential aspirations rushed Monday to embrace South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s call to remove the Confederate flag from the grounds of the state capitol, eager to move past a vexing issue that challenges the GOP’s effort to win over the diverse coalition of voters it likely needs to win back the White House.

    Haley gave her party’s presidential candidates some much-desired political cover by calling for the banner’s removal, reversing her own position and conceding that to many the flag is a “deeply offensive symbol of a brutally oppressive past.”

    Minutes later, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush tweeted out his agreement: “Kudos to @nikkihaley and all the SC leaders standing with her for doing the right thing.” Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry did the same.

    1. Whoever applied the pressure on her for the sake of the party was pretty clever. She gave a great speech.

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