The Battle Against The Confederate Flag Moves Beyond South Carolina

As Governor Haley pushes the South Carolina legislature to take the Confederate Flag down, the movement moves beyond the Palmetto State.

Confederate Flag South Carolina

As expected, last yesterday afternoon South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, flanked by a phalanx of South Carolina political leaders, called for the removal of the Confederate Battle Flag from the grounds of the State Capitol in Columbia:

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Gov. Nikki R. Haley called on Monday for South Carolina to do what just a week ago seemed politically impossible — remove the Confederate battle flag from its perch in front of the State House building here. She argued that a symbol long revered by many Southerners was for some, after the church massacre in Charleston, a “deeply offensive symbol of a brutally offensive past.”

“The events of this week call upon us to look at this in a different way,” said Ms. Haley, an Indian-American, who is the first member of an ethnic minority to serve as governor of the state as well as the first woman.

She spoke at an afternoon news conference, surrounded by Democratic and Republican lawmakers including both of the state’s United States senators, Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, an African-American. “Today we are here in a moment of unity in our state, without ill will, to say it’s time to move the flag from the capitol grounds,” she said.

It was a dramatic turnabout for Ms. Haley, a second-term Republican governor who over her five years in the job has displayed little interest in addressing the intensely divisive issue of the flag. But her new position demonstrated the powerful shock that last Wednesday’s killings at Emanuel A.M.E. Church have delivered to the political status quo, mobilizing leaders at the highest levels.

On Monday, the White House announced that President Obama will travel to Charleston on Friday and deliver the eulogy for the Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, the slain pastor of the Emanuel Church and a state senator. The political aftershocks from the shootings were also felt in Mississippi, where the House speaker, a Republican, unexpectedly declared in a statement Monday night that the Mississippi state flag, which includes the Confederate banner, “has become a point of offense that needs to be removed.”

Interviews suggested that Ms. Haley’s rapidly evolving position on the flag was shaped by several factors: the horror of seeing the unsmiling gunman posing with it in photos; her conversations with congregants at the church; intensifying pressure from South Carolina business leaders to remove a controversial vestige of the state’s past; and calls from leaders of her own party, including its leading presidential contenders, urging her to take it down once and for all.

The result on Monday was a moment of political and racial drama, and a signature moment for Ms. Haley, who blended the traditional values of the South — faith, family, empathy — into a powerful call for taking down the flag as a gesture of unity, healing and renewal.

(…)

In the days since the shooting, the Republican presidential hopefuls Jeb Bush and Senator Marco Rubio of Florida have issued vague or equivocal statements, perhaps wary of losing support in the crucial South Carolina primary. (Mr. Bush, who ordered the removal of the flag from the Florida statehouse while governor, said he was confident that South Carolina would “do the right thing,” while Mr. Rubio said the state would “make the right choice for the people of South Carolina.”)

But inside the governor’s office, Ms. Haley’s phone line lit up with messages from national Republican officials offering words of condolence, among them Mr. Bush, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Mitt Romney, all current, likely or former candidates for president, and Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee. In some cases, there was also something else: subtle encouragement to dispatch the flag.

Mr. Romney, a financial backer of Ms. Haley’s campaigns, was explicit, according to an adviser: The flag, he believed, had to come down, a message he delivered Saturday morning on Twitter to an extraordinary response. Thousands of people, including Mr. Obama, retweeted the message, many of them heralding his stand.

Mr. Romney was taken aback by the reaction and told an aide he was glad he had spoken out. Ms. Haley, a rising star in the Republican Party, had her own political future to consider. The flag would inevitably complicate her selection as a cabinet member or even vice-presidential nominee, if she wanted either.

Over the weekend, Ms. Haley and her staff reached out to top officials like Representative James E. Clyburn, the ranking African-American member of Congress, sounding them out on the issue, and on Monday, she summoned officials to her office and told them of her decision: It was time for the Confederate flag to stop flying over the historic building’s grounds. Every leading South Carolina politician — stunned by the massacre, moved by the church’s demonstration of grace and fearful of the repercussions from inaction — agreed.

“If you want to credit anybody here, credit the families of the victims and the church members who displayed Christianity and love,” Mr. Graham said. “The politicians followed their moral authority.”

Not surprisingly, shortly after Haley made her announcement, which included a warning to the state legislature that if they don’t deal with the flag issue during the special session that starts today, or during the veto session that starts shortly thereafter, she will use her authority as Governor to call them back into session for a special session to deal exclusively with the flag issue so that it is resolved before the summer ends, Republican candidates for President who had previously equivocated on the issue, started to line up behind the Governor:

Tongue-tied over the issue for nearly a week, senior Republicans jumped on the bandwagon Monday and called for folding up the Confederate battle flagafter Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina said the Civil War symbol should be removed from the state Capitol.

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, acknowledged that while the flag meant different things to different people, it was time to take it down.

“The fact that it continues to be a painful reminder of racial oppression to many suggests, to me at least, that it’s time to move beyond it, and that the time for a state to fly it has long since passed,” Mr. McConnell said.

Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, echoed that sentiment, calling the flag too hurtful for Americans.

“For South Carolina, taking down this Confederate flag is a step in mending those divisions,” Mr. Priebus said.

Republican presidential candidates were also quick to praise Ms. Haley.

Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, who is considering a White House bid, said he supported her decision.

And former Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, who has announced his presidential campaign, called it an important step in mourning the killings of the nine churchgoers in Charleston.

“Removing the flag is an act of healing and unity that allows us to find a shared purpose based on the values that unify us,” Mr. Perry said.

While some Republicans still seem to be sitting on the sidelines on this issue, Politico notes that the reasons behind the quick shift are obvious. Basically, while there are still elements on the Republican Party that will be upset by this move, it became rather obvious rather quickly that national opinion on the issue was moving in the other direction and that Republicans are going to face far more bad press for clinging to positions of the past than they will if they go with the tide. For the candidates especially, this issue is one of the “moral tests” that frequently pop up in the middle of a Presidential campaign that say much more about a particular candidate than they do about an issue itself.

As a practical matter, it is still up to the ledlature to take the steps necessary to repeal the law that was passed in 2000 placing the flag in its current location after it had been flying atop the State Capitol Building itself along with the American and South Carolina flags since the early 1960s. In that regard, while there have been both Republican and Democratic state legislators who have said they would back an initiative to remove the flag even as early as the special budget session that begins today, more than half of the members of the legislature have not yet weighed in on the issue, the general consensus seems to be that this is effectively the end of the flag’s presence on state grounds in Columbia. Additionally, yesterday’s developments make clear that the momentum oPn this issue is moving fairly quickly, as evidenced by how quickly Governor Haley, along with Senators Graham and Scott and other South Carolina political leaders, came forward yesterday after having previously stated, at most, that this is something that the state should deal with in the future. In no small part, of course, this is due to media attention that the issue has garnered in the wake of the tragedy in Charleston and the sentiment expressed by many of the colleagues of one of the victims, State Senator Clementa Pinckney that the flag be down before Pinckney’s funeral on Friday. That motive may prove to be powerful enough to spur action on this matter as early as today and, indeed, it would be theoretically possible for the legislation that needs to be passed to be on Haley’s desk by Thurssday.

South Carolina, though, seems to be just the beginning of this story, as there are signs that public opinion is causing many other institution to re-examine the ways in which they are preserving legacies of the Confederacy. For example, after South Carolina, the state with perhaps the most obvious tie to Confederate symbols is Mississippi, which is presently the last state in the nation that has a representation of Confederate flag in its state flag. One might expect that, given its deeply conservative roots, the Magnolia State would be slow to bow to pressure on this issue, but you’d be wrong. Over the weekend, a petition began circulating to remove the battle flag emblem from the flag, and it quickly gained the support of one of the most powerful politicians in the state, although it’s unclear whether anything will happen in the state any time soon:

Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn said Monday night that the Confederate emblem in the state’s official flag has to go.

“We must always remember our past, but that does not mean we must let it define us,” Gunn, a Clinton Republican, said in a statement. “As a Christian, I believe our state’s flag has become a point of offense that needs to be removed. We need to begin having conversations about changing Mississippi’s flag.”

It’s the first time a Mississippi Republican elected official has publicly called for the removal of the emblem that served as the battle flag flown by the Confederate army during the Civil War. Later, it was adopted by anti-Civil Rights groups.

Gov. Phil Bryant said Monday morning that he didn’t expect the Legislature to “supersede the will of the people on this issue.”

He was referring to the 2001 ballot measure in which 64 percent of those who voted made the flag with the Confederate emblem the state’s official banner. Bryant spokeswoman Nicole Webb said the governor voted with the majority.

A spokeswoman for Bryant said Monday night he was traveling and unavailable for comment on Gunn’s position. A spokesperson for Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves had not responded to questions sent Monday morning, and again Monday night.

The debate whether to remove the Confederate battle flag from South Carolina’s state capitol, touched off by last week’s Charleston church shooting, arrived

Mississippi isn’t the only state in the South that has a state flag with at least some tie to one of the flags of the Confederacy or its military. As Christopher Ingraham notes, the flags of six other states contain at least some elements that harken back to the Confederacy in some way, with the most obvious being Georgia and North Carolina, which both resemble the “Stars And Bars” of the actual National Flag of the Confederate States during the Civil War. Arkansas and Tennessee have flags that have abstract designs that arguably contain elements of those flags. Of those listed by Ingraham, though, Florida and Alabama‘s placement in the category seems the most dubious since both flags resemble the St. Andrew’s Cross and the Flag of England more than anything else. In any case, depending on the momentum this issue has, we may see some of those state reexamine the symbolism depicted by their flags at some point soon.  Beyond the political world, Walmart announced yesterday that it would no longer sell Confederate flag merchandise at its stores, and Sears announced that, while it does not sell any such merchandise at its Sears or K-Mart stores, it would remove such merchandise sold by third parties via its online portal.

What’s clearly happening here is that parties in both the political and business worlds are moving to disassociate themselves from a flag that, thanks largely to the tragedy in Charleston, has come to be associated with something odious. While one can argue that many of these people are only acting now that the light of public attention is upon them, at least they are acting, and re-acting to public opinion in a way that might not have been possible otherwise. As I said yesterday, ending the ubiquitous glorification of the Confederate flag in all its varieties will not end racism in this country. As President Obama noted in his podcast interview over the weekend, we should not deceive ourselves into believing that removing public displays or racial animus is a solution to all of our problems. These are, however, good first steps and perhaps a sign that, now that we’ve passed four years of observing the Sesquicentennial of the American  Civil War, we are finally moving into a new phase of the legacy of that conflict where, even in the South, people are more honest about what that war was really about and what it its legacy has been.

FILED UNDER: Race and Politics, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Argon says:

    Politicians: Leading from behind yet again.
    But then, they do what we’ve taught them.




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  2. Pharoah Narim says:

    So the Republicans are starting to excise the boil that’s been on their @$$ for the past 30 years…. Good for them.




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  3. rodney dill says:

    @Argon: I must follow the people. Am I not their leader? — Benjamin Disraeli




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  4. grumpy realist says:

    I think Walmart’s not selling stuff with the Confederate flag on it will have the most far-reaching effect, looking down the pipeline.

    And of course, if the loser White Rights groups react to this by using the Confederate flag MORE in their rallies and stuff on line, the even more tightly this flag will come to be identified with an odious cause.

    Great work, Roof. Because of what you’ve did and the absolutely fantastic and Christian reaction from the community you tried to demolish, you’ve essentially started an avalanche that will help sweep you and those that think like you into total nothingness. Talk about an own goal!




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  5. gVOR08 says:

    If you want to credit anybody here, credit the families of the victims and the church members who displayed Christianity and love,” Mr. Graham said. “The politicians followed their moral authority.

    For once Lindsey Graham said something I agree with. All credit is due to the families and the congregation and the incredible grace with which they have responded. Graham and Haley and the rest are just reeds blowing with the wind.




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  6. Scott says:

    People are questioning Confederate memorials here in Texas (this is not new). University of Texas students are petitioning to remove a statue of Jefferson Davis which is in a fairly prominent space. As far as I can tell, I can figure out why there is a statue of Davis. The only connection with Texas is that he fought in Mexican-American War.

    Although Texas emphasizes its cowboys and cattle and oil, it really was a cotton powered (therefore slave) economy for most of its history. And a lot of that history was rotten.




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  7. Lynn Eggers says:

    “She argued that a symbol long revered by many Southerners was for some, after the church massacre in Charleston, a “deeply offensive symbol of a brutally offensive past.””

    It was offensive “after the church massacre”?

    It was pretty damn offensive before, too.




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  8. C. Clavin says:

    Two weeks ago Butters and every other 2016 Presidential Candidate was all for flying the banner of white supremacy and hatred over the SC Statehouse. All it took for them to do the right thing was 9 dead in a church. Butters and his party and the right wing echo chamber helped make Dylann Roof. Letting them off easy only insures it will happen again. They ought to all be arrested as co-conspirators.




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  9. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Scott:

    Indeed. The tour guides at the Alamo did not like me pointing out that one of the biggest drivers behind Texas independence from Mexico was that Mexico outlawed slavery.

    Did not like that one bit.




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  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Meanwhile,

    South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s remarks on Monday calling for the Confederate battle flag to be removed from the state capitol might be going over well in some political circles, but conservatives online are taking her decision as a betrayal of the Republican Party.

    They aren’t even pretending anymore.




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  11. Pete S says:

    This is the right decision for sure if it happens. Hopefully the politicians involved do not kid themselves that once the flag comes down, all racial tension is over.




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  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Pharoah Narim: Closer to 50 years. Nixon implemented the southern strategy in ’68.




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  13. Hal_10000 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s remarks on Monday calling for the Confederate battle flag to be removed from the state capitol might be going over well in some political circles, but conservatives online are taking her decision as a betrayal of the Republican Party.

    A few idiots on Twitter are taking her decision that way. Most are supportive.

    Closer to 50 years. Nixon implemented the southern strategy in ’68.

    Here’s the thing about the Southern Strategy. It never really worked. The Republicans won the whole country in ’72, ’84 and ’88. The Democrats won or split the south in ’76, ’80, ’92 and ’96. But the time the South did go Republican — in 1994 — it was over economic issues, not racial ones. All it ever accomplished was to drop their support among blacks into single digits.

    Pandering to your base is dumb. Pandering to the other party’s base is even dumber.




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  14. Mr. Prosser says:

    About a year ago Nikki Haley said this, “What I can tell you is over the last three and a half years, I spent a lot of my days on the phones with CEOs and recruiting jobs to this state,” Haley said. “I can honestly say I have not had one conversation with a single CEO about the Confederate flag.”
    Everyone is discussing the moral imperative here, I think it’s money and I think CEOs hove been talking to her.




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  15. teve tory says:

    Here’s the thing about the Southern Strategy. It never really worked.

    Bullshit: it worked like a charm. Nixon’s 60.7% of the popular vote in 1972 has never been equalled since.

    But it’s given diminishing returns since then, as the demographic of older, whiter, less educated, more southern, more religious people has declined.




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  16. Tyrell says:

    Does that mean that the “Dukes of Hazzard” model cars (1969 Dodge Charger) won’t have the rebel flag on the top any more ? That show was an icon, one of CBS’ most popular family shows.
    1969 Dodge Charger – one of the most incredible street cars ever built; it ranks with the Shelby Ford Cobra.
    There are still some of the original cars around that were used in the tv show production; in which several were totalled. The local annual car show always has one every year.




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  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Here’s the thing about the Southern Strategy. It never really worked.

    10,001 Republican strategists say you are wrong.




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  18. Tillman says:

    @Hal_10000:

    But the time the South did go Republican — in 1994 — it was over economic issues, not racial ones.

    Economic issues that just happened to be described by that Lee Atwater quote someone’s bound to post again.

    Your larger point is taken, but I don’t think you can say a strategy of appeal that expressly shifted the demographics of the two parties, and left Republicans in control of Congress from ’94 to ’06 and again recently, “never really worked.”




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  19. Tyrell says:

    @Hal_10000: Some years ago.there were still areas of the south that still did not even have a Republican book to register in. There are still areas out there that are solid Democrat – local offices.




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  20. Tillman says:

    As for the flag and the drive to destroy the idols of the old Confederacy, a dude on Twitter put it best:

    The NRA must be pissing themselves laughing that what have could have been a huge gun control debate has turned into a flag control debate.




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  21. michael reynolds says:

    @Tillman:

    They may be, but I think they’re whistling past the graveyard. Remember how fast everything suddenly turned in the gay marriage debate? I think social media is vastly accelerating the sort of sub-political debate, creating consensus much more quickly. I can’t guarantee where it will come out in the end, but the time between the DOMA and the complete collapse of DOMA was the blink of an eye. The anti-gay crowd went from giggling triumphalism to utter defeat in less than 20 years.

    The ways to go after guns:

    1) Begin to treat it as a public health issue. A privately-funded media campaign to redefine guns basically as cigarettes.

    2) Push at the state level for guns to be treated like any other consumer product, subject to product liability laws.

    3) Pressure the big retailers – Wal-Mart, Dick’s, etc… They’ve shown they can be persuaded. Every gun killing should be traced back to the weapon’s source and the company involved should be named and shamed.

    4) Apply social media pressure against foreign gun manufacturers. For example, how much heat do average Austrians want for flooding American streets with Glocks?

    5) Encourage Mexico and Canada to make more noise about US guns flooding their countries.

    Basically, make guns as uncool as cigarettes, raise the ick factor, and push prices up. My guess is you’ll get a downward trend similar to cigarettes. And you can do it without ever violating the 2d amendment.

    Studies show pretty clearly that more guns = more homicides. As gun possession drops the death rate drops, the paranoid need to own a gun because everyone else has one, also drops. You could see a 50% cut in homes with guns in 20 years.




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  22. Jack says:

    Ernest ‘Fritz’ Hollings, well-known Democrat — senator from South Carolina — is responsible for the Confederate flag flying over South Carolina!” — “When did this become a Republican problem?”

    “When did all this become a Republican problem? If you go to Arkansas… You know, all these old racial segregationists, they’re all Democrats,” Limbaugh said. “Bill Clinton’s mentor from Arkansas, J. William Fulbright, was a proud segregationist! And Bill Clinton signed a proclamation authorizing the Confederate flag to fly over the statehouse in Arkansas.”

    Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2015/06/22/limbaugh-dems-responsible-for-confederate-flag-when-did-this-become-a-gop-problem-audio/#ixzz3du1vT8WS




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  23. michael reynolds says:

    @Jack:

    It became a Republican problem when the Democrats in the 1960’s bravely supported Civil Rights while scumbag Republicans rushed in to harvest the racist vote. The Southern Strategy, which Democrat Lyndon Johnson predicted would cost the Democrats the south. He was right.

    Don’t you think you should know a little history?




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  24. michael reynolds says:

    @Jack:

    But I do take note of and quietly enjoy the efforts of Republicans who just days ago were vociferously defending the flag suddenly trying the “Who, me?” act now.




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  25. gVOR08 says:

    @michael reynolds: The number of households with guns has dropped from 50% in the mid 70s to 32% in 2010. The increase in gun sales is repeat sales to existing owners. I hope you’re right, and like cigarettes, at some point of low participation it becomes just an odd thing to do and socially stigmatized.




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  26. Jack says:

    @michael reynolds: Clinton was elected before or after 1960 genius?




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  27. Jack says:

    @gVOR08: Based upon a telephone survey asking people if they owned guns. In this day and age I would answer negative to that question too.

    Meanwhile as ownership increases by 46%, murder rates have dropped by about 47%.

    But keep telling yourself whatever makes you feel good.




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  28. michael reynolds says:

    @Jack:

    1992, Clinton v. Bush. Mr. Bush – the patrician yankee Republican – carried Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia against Bill Clinton, southern boy from Arkansas.

    Like I said: learn some history.

    EDIT: Forgot Texas.




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  29. Jack says:

    @michael reynolds: Bill Clinton signed a proclamation authorizing the Confederate flag to fly over the statehouse in Arkansas.”

    Can you not read, or do you just not read anything that goes against your narrow view?




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  30. Jack says:

    @michael reynolds:

    1992, Clinton v. Bush. Mr. Bush – the patrician yankee Republican – carried Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia against Bill Clinton, southern boy from Arkansas.

    Simply because a Republican won those states does not mean the racist KKK members stopped voting Democrat.

    Are you familiar with causation and correlation?




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  31. Scott says:

    @michael reynolds: Yes, guns are just another product. We need to work on gun safety.

    James Fallows said it three years ago:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/12/gun-safety-not-gun-control/266318/




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  32. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Tillman: Getting rid fo the flag is important because of what it symbolizes: Racism. By accepting that symbol we make racism more acceptable. Getting rid of that symbol may not be much of a step but it is another step on a long and hilly road. And if we can’t take that one little step, what chance do we have at the more difficult ones to follow?

    @michael reynolds: It’s gonna take time, but little steps will get us there.




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  33. Scott says:

    @Jack: I love these sorts of arguments.

    So what are you trying to say? Just because some Southern Democrats support segregation and confederate racist symbols in the past, it is OK today? Is that what you are arguing?

    We are talking today and the George Wallace Democrats are now Republicans. If there was a southern democrat that came out today and defended the confederacy and segregation, they would also have a problem.

    Go ahead and condemn the Bill Clinton of the past. That is OK. It is not OK to use Bill Clinton to exonerate the southern Republicans of today.




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  34. Jack says:

    @Scott: The Republican party of today is not defending the flag. Most Republicans I have heard from say this is a SC decision to make.

    I agree.

    I’m from the north and I have no link to “southern heritage” or any other arguments people are making. I’m simply stating that how did this become a GOP problem when it was southern democrats that initiated the issue?

    It’s the Democrat’s racism that put it up, why do I care if they finally get a clue and take it down. The rest of us have been aware that it was the Democrat Klan waving it around in the first place.




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  35. LaMont says:

    @Jack:

    Go read a history book first. Than maybe you can engage in an intelligent discussion about race and politics in this country!




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  36. Jack says:

    @LaMont: 1968.

    “Richard Nixon was a proponent of Civil Rights; he was a CA colleague Earl Warren who urged Ike to appoint Warren to the Supreme Court; he was a supporter of Brown v. Board, and favored sending troops to integrate Little Rock High). Nixon saw he could develop a “Southern strategy” based on Goldwater’s inroads. He did, but Independent Democrat George Wallace carried most of the deep south in 68. By 1972, however, Wallace was shot and paralyzed, and Nixon began to tilt the south to the GOP. The old guard Democrats began to fade away while a new generation of Southern politicians became Republicans. True, Strom Thurmond switched to GOP, but most of the old timers (Fulbright, Gore, Wallace, Byrd etc etc) retired as Dems.”

    “Why did a new generation white Southerners join the GOP.? Not because they thought Republicans were racists who would return the South to segregation, but because the GOP was a “local government, small government” party in the old Jeffersonian tradition. Southerners wanted less government and the GOP was their natural home.”

    “Jimmy Carter, a Civil Rights Democrat, briefly returned some states to the Democrat fold, but in 1980, Goldwater’s heir, Ronald Reagan, sealed this deal for the GOP. The new “Solid South” was solid GOP.”

    -Professor Larry Schweikart of the University of Dayton.




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  37. Tillman says:

    @michael reynolds: @OzarkHillbilly: Honestly, I thought the focus on the flag over gun control was because nothing ended up happening after Lanza gunned down a bunch of second graders. “Take the steps you can take” and so on.

    It is an insidious symbol worth destroying though.




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  38. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack

    Funny – when I look over the text and legislative history of the SC Heritage Act (the one that makes it close to impossible to get rid of the one flying by the Capitol building or even to lower it in the face of this tragedy) I see nothing but Republicans. David Wilkins sponsored it. Glenn McConnell vigorously pushed its passage and has made a cottage industry out of defending it.

    In truth, that act goes a great deal further than protecting one flag in Columbia. I’d suggest reading it sometime. It’s essentially the Lost Cause preservation act.

    Republicans created it.




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  39. LaMont says:

    @Jack:

    You just outright ignored @michael reynolds: response. This is the context of that history. So either you can’t understand that context or you simply choose to remain ignorant! It isn’t hard to understand.




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  40. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Scott:

    In Hack’s (sorry – Jack’s) reality, all those Dixiecrats didn’t change parties to the GOP and Republicans didn’t cynically use the politics of civil rights to capture the South.

    The rest of us, who watched Saint Ronald launch his campaign at the Neshoba County Fair (of all places …) babbling about states rights, understood what he was pandering to and why he picked that place to do it.

    Evidently being a partisan hack hampers his ability to recognize anything that doesn’t fit his own narrative.




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  41. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92: How many pre-1964 southern racist Democrat bigots did NOT join the Republican party after 1964?

    Orval Fabus
    Benjamin Travis Laney
    John Stennis
    James Eastland
    Allen Ellender
    Russell Long
    John Sparkman
    John McClellan
    Richard Russell
    Herman Talmadge
    George Wallace
    Lester Maddox
    John Rarick
    Robert Byrd
    Al Gore, Sr.
    Bull Connor

    In fact, it seems that MOST of the Dixiecrats did NOT join the Republican party, even though many of them lived long past 1964.

    Only a very FEW of them switched to the GOP, such as Strom Thurmond and Mills Godwin.

    And as we all know by now, the ONLY admitted former KKK member in Congress today is Robert Byrd, a former KKK Kleagle, a recruiter who persuaded people to join the KKK.

    So where do we get this myth that “most” of the southern racist Democrats switched to the Republican party after 1964?

    Is it a myth?

    Or just another Democrat LIE?




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  42. PT says:

    @Jack:

    What point do you think your’re making?




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  43. Jack says:

    @PT: Micheal keeps pushing the lie that all the (racist) southern states “became” republican. To wit, the old democrat racists are now the current republican racists.

    While the fact is, the old democrat racists died off and republicans replaced them as the south embraced a “smaller government” message–a lie of course as we all know republicans are just as bad as democrats when it comes to government spending–of the republicans.

    He is asserting that the only reason that the southern states vote republican is because they espouse the racist views “desired” by the voters in the south.

    It’s a lie. Period.

    Now, if you want to simply talk about removing the flag…

    @HarvardLaw92: As part of a compromise in 2000, which removed the flag from atop the Capitol dome, the legislature at the time ordered that any change require a two-thirds vote in each chamber.

    As we all know, a current legislature is not beholden to the decisions of a previous legislature and a simple majority will bring it down. It is an ordinary piece of legislation.

    Businessmen and big money donors…people to whom both parties acquiesce, argue that the flag is a “symbol of their heritage.

    Now it’s time to take a stand. Put the flag in a museum, but it arguably has no place as an official symbol of the state.




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  44. LaMont says:

    @Jack:

    Oh I see. So you think the GOP pounced on the south because they wanted “small government”. Was that even a rally cry back then? It is now obvious to me that you choose to remain ignorant…




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  45. Jack says:

    @LaMont: Keep wearing those blinders.

    As a dried up old skank once said, at this point what difference does it make?




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  46. PT says:

    @Jack:

    Ok, but nobody was seriously arguing that there wasn’t a preponderance of racist white guys holding political office pre-1964, post 1694, or even today for that matter. In either party. Though I do tend to agree with Michael’s assessment. I find your Rush’s argument that Democrats are the real racists here his usual rhetoric, and not so useful to the debate. A closer look at histroy tells a different story, but YMMV.

    The argument is that the flag is itself a racist symbol and that it is long past time to remove it from the State Capitol. If we all agree, then lets move on.




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  47. Jack says:

    The fact that Democrats are quick to take credit for the Civil Rights Act and for the civil rights movement itself is both phony and a self-absorbed vanity.

    Democrats do themselves no good by taking credit for the civil rights movement or for legislation that came out of it. If they do that, they also must take the blame for the failures of the policies of dependence which they created and which choked the life out of the African-American culture and family life.

    However, without the leadership and help of Republicans, who had voted for bills to help minorities for decades before 1964, any Democratic Party legislative effort would have been watered down or failed because of obstinate Democrats.

    “On June 17, 1964, the Senate voted by a 76 to 18 margin to adopt the bipartisan substitute worked out by Dirksen in his office in May and to give the bill its third reading. Two days later, the Senate passed the bill by a 73 to 27 roll call vote. Six Republicans and 21 Democrats held firm and voted against passage.”

    In the House – “Republicans favored the bill 138 to 34; Democrats supported it 152-96. Republicans supported it in higher proportions than Democrats. Even though those Democrats were Southern segregationists, without Republicans the bill would have failed. Republicans were the other much-needed leg of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”




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  48. PT says:

    @Jack:

    It’s difficult to take you seriously, but I don’t think serious is your goal. Try to offer up a substantive argument or opinion so that those of us that come to read thoughtful commentary don’t have to filter through your copy/paste BS (seriously if you’re going to go that route you really need to find better source material. I know that at least one of the contributors here isn’t a big fan of plagiarism) I don’t care if you disagree with me or anybody else. Make an argument and defend your position. Knock off the trolling though, and stop with the vile rejoinders that made you giggle when you read them at some other site.




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  49. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    Orval Fabus – left politics entirely in 1967 when it became evident that voter anger against Dems for supporting the Civil Rights Act would be problematic. Indeed, Arkansas elected its first Republican governor since Reconstruction in 1966. Why shouldn’t be a mystery to anyone with a brain.

    Benjamin Travis Laney – left political office in 1949.

    John Stennis – tempered his racism later in life, but granted. He was replaced by another racist, Republican (former Democrat) Trent Lott, and the seat has been in GOP hands ever since.

    James Eastland – interesting addition, given that his last election race, in 1972, enjoyed considerable support from his long-time pal Richard Nixon. I’m sure you don’t need me to explain why.

    Allen Ellender – died in 1972

    Russell Long – the guy who created the Earned Income Tax Credit and shepherded most of the Great Society through the Senate was a racist? Who knew?

    John Sparkman – left office in 1979.

    John McClellan – left office in 1977

    Richard Russell – left office in 1971

    Herman Talmadge – Left office in 1981, replaced by a Republican

    George Wallace – interesting addition, given that the evidence is suggestive that Wallace cynically used race to get elected, but wasn’t personally that much of a racist. Indeed, being seen as having been lenient on blacks during his term as a judge cost him his seat in the late 1950s. His last term as governor of Alabama well bears that out. A neat quote from the man:

    You know, I tried to talk about good roads and good schools and all these things that have been part of my career, and nobody listened. And then I began talking about niggers, and they stomped the floor

    Which makes him – a politician.

    Lester Maddox – left politics in 1975

    John Rarick – left politics in 1975

    Robert Byrd – voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1968, and was pretty decidedly not a racist (judging from his voting patterns) for the rest of his tenure in the Senate.

    Al Gore, Sr. – left politics in 1971

    Bull Connor – left politics in 1972, died in 1973.

    In short, nobody with any import on politics more recently than 30 or so years ago save Byrd, whose history after 1968 you conveniently ignore.You compiled cut and pasted a list you found somewhere without bothering to read it. You seem to do that a lot.

    Meanwhile:

    Jesse Helms

    Strom Thurmond

    Floyd Spence

    Charles Pickering

    Albert Watson

    Bob Barr

    Trent Lott

    You know, guys who recently held office.




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  50. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    No, dear, any changes to the SC Heritage Act require a 2/3rds majority affirmative vote in BOTH houses of the SC legislature – in other words a supermajority in both houses, not a simple majority.




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  51. HarvardLaw92 says:

    14:10 comment out of moderation please …




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  52. Jack says:

    @PT:

    The argument is that the flag is itself a racist symbol and that it is long past time to remove it from the State Capitol. If we all agree, then lets move on.

    Agreed.

    The problem is, everytime something like this comes up, Micheal continues to push this meme.

    Joseph Goebbels said “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. In this, Goebbels and Micheal are two peas in a pod.




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  53. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92: No, cupcake. While the law as written may require that. It’s unconstitutional. A later legislature is not bound by prior legislature’s will.




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  54. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    -Professor Larry Schweikart of the University of Dayton.

    Ah, yes, the author of such classics as “A Patriot’s History of the United States” and “48 Liberal Lies About American History”.

    I’ll make a note to take anything he has to say seriously … 🙄




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  55. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    Um, yea, they are. Which one of your nutjob forums did you glean this latest piece of silliness from?




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  56. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @PT:

    He’s one of those anti-government gun nut Teabaggers. Taking anything he has to say copy and pastes seriously is a waste of your time.




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  57. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Says yet another elitist asshat that believes his degree is worth the money he paid.




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  58. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    I’ll make a note to take anything he has to say seriously

    Are you a published author? No? You chase ambulances, counselor.–if that’s your real job.

    Maybe you should go back to being the racist asshat that called for all the Baltimore rioters to be executed.




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  59. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Judging from what I get paid, friend, it was worth every penny (and quite a bit more) 😀




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  60. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    No? You chase ambulances, counselor.

    Actually, no, I take companies and put them together to make bigger companies, among other things.

    Maybe you should go back to being the racist asshat that called for all the Baltimore rioters to be executed.

    I think rioters should be shot, if necessary to restore order, irrespective of their skin color.

    That makes me a law and order above all type, not a racist. Is this tripe really all that you’ve got?




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  61. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Um, yea, they are. Which one of your nutjob forums did you glean this latest piece of silliness from?

    South Carolina representative James Smith, who is also a practicing attorney.

    “According to Smith, the provision of the South Carolina law requiring a two-thirds vote for any changes is “facially unconstitutional.” If the state legislature, by a simple majority, voted to repeal the law and remove the Confederate Flag from statehouse grounds, Smith believes that South Carolina courts would deem that a valid exercise of legislative power.”

    Some lawyers are better than others I guess.




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  62. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    I think rioters should be shot, if necessary to restore order, irrespective of their skin color.

    Yeah, because dead black people rioting deserve no due process.




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  63. Mikey says:

    @Jack: The true divide wasn’t Republican/Democrat, it was Northern/Southern.

    The below is from the Wiki, which defines “Southern” as ” members of Congress from the eleven states that made up the Confederate States of America in the American Civil War.”

    The original House version:

    Southern Democrats: 7–87 (7–93%)
    Southern Republicans: 0–10 (0–100%)

    Northern Democrats: 145–9 (94–6%)
    Northern Republicans: 138–24 (85–15%)

    The Senate version:

    Southern Democrats: 1–20 (5–95%) (only Ralph Yarborough of Texas voted in favor)
    Southern Republicans: 0–1 (0–100%) (John Tower of Texas)

    Northern Democrats: 45–1 (98–2%) (only Robert Byrd of West Virginia voted against)
    Northern Republicans: 27–5 (84–16%)

    Northern Democrats were overwhelmingly in favor of the Act. Yes, it’s true Republican support was necessary to overcome Southern Democrat resistance, but really, support was overwhelming outside the former Confederacy.




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  64. wr says:

    @Jack: “And as we all know by now, the ONLY admitted former KKK member in Congress today is Robert Byrd, a former KKK Kleagle, a recruiter who persuaded people to join the KKK.”

    Perhaps you should refresh the Stormfront page, or whatever rightwing hack site you’re taking your material from., as we’re currently five days away from the fifth anniversary of Byrd’s death.




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  65. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    He’s incorrect, but given that he’s a sole proprietor personal injury attorney (you know, the ambulance chasers that you used as a negative example a few comments up), it’s not a surprising error.




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  66. Jack says:

    @wr: I quoted a past article. So, your point is I didn’t change the wording into present tense and update the verbiage–NOT that Byrd wasn’t a KKK member.

    Nice argument.




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  67. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    You’re injecting race into that statement, not me, but it’s not entirely out of keeping with your tactics, so I’ll just leave it where it is and move on.




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  68. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Since when is any legislature beholden to a prior legislature?

    That’s why we have spending problems with the federal government…because current legislators are not bound by prior legislative decisions.

    The law was not passed as an amendment to the SC constitution. It was standard legislation. The SC constitution says only amendments need 2/3 vote. Thus, the law as written is unconstitutional.




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  69. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92: We were talking about Baltimore rioters…they were in fact black. So, you were the one saying they need shot for rioting.




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  70. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    Yup – shoot those people because they are destroying property and putting lives at risk.

    Not “shoot those people because they are black”

    I’m guessing that grasping something like assembly directions from Ikea must be a nightmare for you.




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  71. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    Let’s try this again – legislators may not violate duly enacted laws. The act in question was approved by both houses of the SC legislature and signed by SC’s governor. It is law in force, as written, including the provisions mandating a supermajority for its revision.

    The SC Legislature can not violate duly enacted laws. What SC courts would determine would be that the supermajority provision was a valid exercise of legislative authority, which binds subsequent legislatures. You found a guy who isn’t much of an attorney who wrote something you like, and think that makes it the gospel. It doesn’t.




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  72. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Shooting people for property damage. Fascist.




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  73. wr says:

    @Jack: Your argument was that Byrd was a former Klan member sitting in the Senate as a Democrat. You were wrong. If this is not what you mean, your illiteracy is really not my problem.

    Perhaps you should have invested a couple of dollars in one of them fancy elitest degrees — like maybe a high school diploma — and you’d have a clue how to compose an English sentence.




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  74. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Let’s try this again

    The SC Constitution specifically says Amendments require 2/3 majority. Nothing else.

    Additionally,

    Article XVI, Section 1 requires constitutional amendments to be approved by two-thirds of each house of the legislature, approved by the people in an election, and then ratified by a majority of each house of the legislature. And: A two-thirds majority vote of the South Carolina House of Representatives is required to impeach the governor and other state officials, as opposed to the simple majority required by the U.S. Constitution and most other state constitutions.

    These are the only constitutional requirements for 2/3 majority vote.

    SECTION 7. Suspension of laws.

    The power to suspend the laws shall be exercised only by the General Assembly or by its authority in particular cases expressly provided for by it. (1970 (56) 2684; 1971 (57) 315.)

    SECTION 23. Provisions of Constitution mandatory.

    The provisions of the Constitution shall be taken, deemed, and construed to be mandatory and prohibitory, and not merely directory, except where expressly made directory or permissory by its own terms. (1970 (56) 2684; 1971 (57) 315.)

    Todays legislature can pass, via a simple majority to suspend the flag law.




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  75. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    I’m not going to teach you law so you can understand why you (and your “ambulance chaser”) are wrong.

    You’re wrong. Moving on …




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  76. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    Shooting people for property damage. Fascist.

    Says the guy who ostensibly carries a firearm with him wherever he goes.

    I can’t help but wonder how you’d react to someone trying to burn down your house … 😀




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  77. Jack says:

    @wr: No, my argument was not that he was a current member of the Senate. I knew he was dead. I quoted an article. Quotes tend to…you know…quote. I was not wrong. Those little ” ” marks indicate I was quoting from someone else, or didn’t you know that?




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  78. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Says the guy who ostensibly carries a firearm with him wherever he goes.

    I can’t help but wonder how you’d react to someone trying to burn down your house

    I carry for “self protection and protection of others”. It is a crime in VA to shoot someone for theft\damage to property. If I were in Texas, the law says I can shoot for theft of property.

    My point is to stop the threat…not kill them. If I were in the house and someone was trying to burn it down…say with a flame thrower, then yes. I would shoot them center mass–to stop the threat, not to kill.

    But I don’t support shooting people for breaking windows and stealing candy bars.




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  79. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    So, you are saying that you would indeed shoot someone who was trying to burn down your home, but you think that the police shouldn’t be able to?




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  80. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    That’s why we have spending problems with the federal government…because current legislators are not bound by prior legislative decisions.

    Nothing in any of the mandatory spending bills (chiefly Medicare and Social Security) mandates a supermajority for reversal. You are confusing the lack of political will to act with the inability to act.

    In the case of defense spending, appropriations are limited by the Constitution to covering no more than a two year period.

    I’m in agreement with the other posters – you don’t even have enough knowledge to present a rebuttal opinion with any validity. You’re presenting cut and pasted factoids in some sort of tortured mishmash that supports your own Tea Party view of how the world should be.

    That’s just not worth my time. Have a nice day.




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  81. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92: I am saying that police should shoot only to prevent another’s death. Police have alternatives available to them that I do not. Primarily, numbers.




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  82. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    You are confusing the lack of political will to act with the inability to act.

    Congresses act based upon 10 year projected budgets. They will “plan” to do X, Y, or Z in out years to meet said budgets, but future legislators are not held to the decisions of prior legislators.

    The Congress and Senate can change their rules all the time, regardless of previous rules.

    Finally, you do not address my point that:

    SECTION 7. Suspension of laws.

    The power to suspend the laws shall be exercised only by the General Assembly or by its authority in particular cases expressly provided for by it. (1970 (56) 2684; 1971 (57) 315.)

    Based upon that statement in the actual constitution, a majority vote to suspend this law is all that is needed.

    Go on Harvard, disprove me.




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  83. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    Budgets are not laws. Medicare spending is mandated by the law which enacted it back in the 1960s. It happens automatically unless and until Congress takes action to change that by repealing the law. Likewise for Social Security. It doesn’t matter what their budget resolutions call for. Medicare spending happens because Congress passed it into law back in the 1960s that it would happen. Present day congresses remain bound by that law.

    Based upon that statement in the actual constitution, a majority vote to suspend this law is all that is needed.

    No. That section refers to the suspension of the force of law. It mandates that no other body in SC (say, the Governor or the Chief of the State Police or the National Guard) can take it upon themselves to suspend enforcement of the law. It concerns the continuity of authority, not some rule about how legislation is passed.

    It’s akin to Lincoln suspending habeas when he didn’t have the power to do so.

    Errors like that one are why I keep encouraging you to stay in the kiddie end of the pool. You are out of your depth and you don’t know how to swim.




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  84. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Errors like that one are why I keep encouraging you to stay in the kiddie end of the pool. You are out of your depth and you don’t know how to swim.

    Get back to me after the legislature rescinds this law with less than 2/3 majority.




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  85. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    Since that will never happen, I’m glad to do so …




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  86. Monala says:

    @Jack:

    If they do that, they also must take the blame for the failures of the policies of dependence which they created and which choked the life out of the African-American culture and family life.

    Oh really? They must apologize for policies that resulted in these stats (changes since 1960):

    – Black poverty rates have declined from 55% to 26%
    – Poverty rates for black female headed households have declined from 71% to 41%
    – Percentage of black adults with bachelor’s degrees increased from 6% to 19%
    – Black crime rates and out of wedlock birth rates have all declined since the 1990s
    – Rates of black owned businesses and blacks attaining higher degrees have all increased significantly since the 1990s

    The vast majority of African Americans are not in jail, not on welfare, and finish high school and are employed as adults. This belief that is so propagated by conservatives and the media that black people are overall dysfunctional and that the policy changes since the end of the Civil Rights Movement is to blame is bullsh*t.




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  87. dmhlt says:

    @HarvardLaw92:
    Yep – looks like Jack did his copy/paste from here:
    http://egnorance.blogspot.com/2012/10/where-did-all-of-dixiecrats-go.html

    … EVEN down to the misspelling of “Orval Fabus

    Jack – his name was F-A-U-B-U-S, not “Fabus”

    And the little afterthoughts on Strom Thurmond and Miles Godwin




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  88. dmhlt says:

    @HarvardLaw92:
    Yep – looks like Jack did his copy/paste from here:
    http://egnorance.blogspot.com/2012/10/where-did-all-of-dixiecrats-go.html

    … EVEN down to the misspelling of “Orval Fabus

    Jack – his name was F-A-U-B-U-S, not “Fabus”

    And the little afterthoughts on Strom Thurmond and Miles Godwin




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