Sunday, June 21, 2015

Between a rock and a hard place

Or, perhaps, more like those cartoon characters with their feet on two different halves of something that keep separating and coming back together, the Republican Party is trying to agree with the majority of Americans who want to see the Confederate rag of rebellion disposed of properly and its hard core racist base that wants to keep flying that piece of shit. And it is a very difficult position to find and not sound like some mealy mouthed weasel.
Jeb Bush issued a statement on Saturday indicating he was confident that South Carolina “will do the right thing.” As Florida’s governor, Mr. Bush in 2001 ordered the Confederate flag to be taken from its public display outside his state’s Capitol.

Senator Marco Rubio, also of Florida, told reporters he thought the state would “make the right choice for the people of South Carolina.”

But neither candidate would state explicitly whether they wanted South Carolina to remove from state-sanctioned display a flag that many African-Americans believe is a reminder of slavery.

Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin begged off entirely from questions about what to do with the flag in South Carolina or whether it represents racism, saying that he would not address any such matters until the victims of the mass shooting were buried.

The carefully calibrated answers were a vivid illustration of the challenge Republicans face in attempting, simultaneously, to broaden their party’s appeal to minorities while also energizing those white conservatives who are uneasy about what they see as bowing to political correctness...

Yet on the same day that photos emerged of the alleged killer, Dylann Roof, holding a Confederate flag in one hand and a gun in the other, none of the Republican candidates expressly said that the same banner that has been flying at full-staff outside South Carolina’s Capitol since the shootings should be furled.

Mr. Bush came the closest, recalling when he was governor of Florida, the state moved a Confederate flag “from the state grounds to a museum where it belonged.” But he went no further than predicting that South Carolina would “do the right thing.”

If the Republicans were reluctant to call directly for the flag to come down, they realized that they had to speak more plainly about the racial motivation behind the attack.

After Mr. Bush seemed initially reluctant on Friday whether to ascribe the killings to race, his rivals were blunt on that question.

“I want to make it abundantly clear that I think the act, the crime that was committed on Wednesday is an act of racism,” Mr. Walker told reporters after his address.

Mr. Rubio said it was “an act motivated by racial hatred.”

The one high-profile Republican who spoke unambiguously about the flag is not running for president any longer. Mitt Romney said in a Twitter message Saturday: “Remove it now to honor #Charleston victims.”
The only unequivocal Republican statement in favor of proper disposal was not running, which tell you all you need to know about the Republican candidates and their party.


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