And The Flag For Which It Stands

The Confederate flag was the symbol of insurrection and treason and the banner under which a war was fought to preserve slavery. Apparently that's OK with those running for the Republican nomination for president of the United States.

Every Republican presidential wannabe who's been asked about it has refused to join calls for removing the stars and bars from the South Carolina Statehouse grounds.  Can't offend those good ole boys in the Klan, especially if they might be voting in the South Carolina GOP primary, I guess.

The flag, according to the state's senior senator, Lindsey Graham, "is part of who we are."  He wouldn't go any farther than saying it's time for South Carolina to "revisit" the issue but avoided making a recommendation.

Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, when asked about it on Sunday talk shows, similarly refused to join calls for removing the stars and bars from the South Carolina Statehouse grounds. 

Huckabee said the issue has nothing to do with running for president.  Say what?  It has everything to do with running for president of ALL Americans, not just white folks who vote Republican.  That flag is today's most vivid symbol of racism, yet these cowardly bozos say it's no concern of theirs.

Nearly every GOP hopefuls ran for cover behind the transparent excuse of state's rights, declaring it a local issue that is none of their concern. They use that ruse to avoid taking courageous stands on issues like racism, but when it comes to something on their agenda, like abortion, same sex marriage or opposing health care reform, they are among the loudest voices for federal action.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) ducked the issue, saying it's "a question for South Carolina" and outsiders shouldn't tell them what to do.  He explained it was really not about race but "a wedge to try to divide people.' He should know, divisive wedge issues are his specialty.

Marco Rubio, another profile in cowardice, also said it's a state issue and not one for the next president of the United States, which he expects to be. His Florida rival, former Gov. Jeb Bush said that while governor the flag was moved from the statehouse grounds, but he copped out on South Carolina, saying only that he hopes its leaders "will do the right thing."

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry's first reaction was to call the church massacre an "accident" but later said he meant to say "incident. "He called the flag divisive, but like his fellow candidates, he refused to call for its removal, saying it's a state issue.

The courageous Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker refused to say whether the flag might be a symbol of racism. Carley Fiorina called the flag "offensive" but also refused to call for its removal. Ben Carson, the only African-American in the field, conceded the issue "causes a lot of people angst" but followed the pack on state's rights.

No word yet from Rand Paul, Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal or Donald Trump.

Kudos to Mitt Romney for calling the flag "a symbol of racial hatred" and urging its removal. Barack Obama agreed, tweeting, "Good point, Mitt."

Among Democrats, former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley called for removal of the flag, Hillary Clinton is already on record doing the same, and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) hasn't been heard from as of press time, but can be expected to echo their positions.  Democrats also called for stronger gun control.

The Charleston shooter, Dylann Roof, 21, said his problem is not only with African-Americans but he hates Jews as well, and his goal was to start a race war.  His car naturally carried the Confederate flag on his license plate frame and he posted pictures of himself holding the flag on his website.  

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.