Saturday, June 20, 2015


Thank you, Representative Brannon:
South Carolina state Rep. Norman “Doug” Brannon announced on Friday night that he would introduce a bill to remove the Confederate flag from the state capitol, citing the death of Sen. Clementa Pinckney during the terrorist attack in Charleston earlier this week.

“I had a friend die Wednesday night for no reason other than he was a black man,” Brannon, a Republican, told MSNBC host Chris Hayes in a phone interview. “Senator Pinckney was an incredible human being. I don’t want to talk politics, but I’m gonna introduce the bill for that reason.”

... “Again, I’m not a politician tonight,” Brannon asserted. “But I do have access, and I will introduce that bill in December. I will pre-file in December, before we go back into session.”
I wish this could be done sooner. It's hard enough to imagine the legislature and governor changing the law at this moment, much less next winter, when most people will have forgotten this week's massacre. As the Los Angeles Times reported this week, it's an uphill battle:
Why can’t state leaders take down this old, embattled standard, or even lower it to half-staff?

They are not allowed to -- not without a two-thirds vote of both houses of the Republican-controlled state Legislature. A law enacted in 2000, which removed the rebel flag from the dome of the statehouse, the last state capitol over which it flew, prevents any modifications to state monuments without a supermajority.

That part of the law makes it extremely unlikely that such a vote could be successful anytime soon.

“It’s like getting political Ebola,” said David Woodard, a longtime Republican political consultant and professor of political science at Clemson University, of the Confederate flag issue. “Any time you touch it you’re going to make more enemies than friends.”

... Then-Gov. David Beasley lost reelection in 1998, in part because of his campaign to take down the Confederate flag, Woodard said.
Still, I give Representative Brannon credit for this promise. I don't know much about him, and I'm sure I'd disagree with a lot of his positions, but I do see him being attacked by South Carolina Tea Partiers for supporting a gas-tax increase and for sponsoring a bill that would establish standards for homeschoolers, so clearly, unlike many Republicans, he's willing to make enemies on the right.

Which makes me think about the presidential race. I don't know how many of the Republican candidates are going to revise their initial responses to the Charleston shooting and acknowledge the shooter's racial anger, but one thing I don't expect is hectoring on this subject from the Ron Fournier crowd. You know -- the folks who were so upset when it was reported that Hillary Clinton might not tack to the center in her campaign? None of those people are going to chide the Republican presidential candidates for their hesitancy to talk about the shooting a racial act, or for their refusal to call for the removal of the Confederate battle flag from South Carolina's capitol grounds.

Jeb Bush, it should be noted, had the Confederate flag removed from the capitol in Tallahassee in 2001. But I imagine even he won't say that South Carolina should follow that example. And no centrist pundit will criticize him for that, or ask why the rest of the field won't criticize the flag.


Dave Pickering said...

Right now Niki Haley is praying to whatever deities she believes in that this bill never reaches her desk (and I strongly suspect it won't). The only thing that's going to happen is that Brannon will face some knuckle-dragging Teabagger in the Primaries when he's up for re-election.

Pops said...

You write "The Ron Fournier Crowd" like the contagion it is. Kudos. Do you ever read David Frum's Tweets? How do you say "He is insane" in Quebecquoi?

Philo Vaihinger said...

You may be mistaken.

It seems more people are accepting as valid the comparison recently made, probably not for the first time, with Germany flying Nazi flags.

The Lost Cause was slavery, and after that the Confederate flag was flown by the Klan and other supporters of racial terrorism to coerce acceptance of racial political and social exclusion.

This is not a history people today should be asked to identify with or take pride in, or that should be officially celebrated in any way.

On the other hand, Emancipation Day should be a national holiday, celebrated especially by official events in the states of the defeated Confederacy.

Or perhaps the day of Lee's surrender at Appomatox.

Feud Turgidson said...

I am not so sure that Dylann Storm Roof may not become most famous/notorious as the person most responsible for ridding us of the stu pid white supremacist rebel flag:

Every picture of ol' reb should be juxtapositioned by that picture grouping togegether "Roof's Rapists", or a shot of Roof lighting afire the national flag or spitting on it, or ALL these stupid pictures he put up on his Facebook site (though I must admit my favorite is the shot of him standing for the video feed back to the courthouse yesterday, with that young black county jail guard in the picture's top left, back and to the right of Roof, with his eyes on Roof in a way that suggests tens of millions more such eyes on Roof for the rest of Roof's miserable disgusting life).