Type to search

South Carolina Politicians Defend Compromise Over Confederate Flag

Headlines National News Tribune News Service

South Carolina Politicians Defend Compromise Over Confederate Flag


By Ben Brody, Bloomberg News (TNS)

As officials across South Carolina decried the massacre of nine people in a historic black church as a hate crime, some of the state’s politicians defended a delicate status quo over flying the Confederate flag in the state capital.

U.S. Representative Mark Sanford, a Charleston Republican and former governor, said re-examining a 2000 compromise that allows the Confederate flag to fly not on the state house in Columbia but on a nearby memorial could be divisive.

“That’s opening up Pandora’s box,” Sanford said Friday on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “With any political compromise, you do not have perfection. Both sides end up a little bit unhappy.”

Calls to take down the flag, which is widely seen as a symbol of white supremacy and racism, arose again after the shooting. The suspect, Dylann Roof, drove a car with the flag on his license plate and wore symbols of white supremacy on his clothing.

Officials in Columbia lowered the U.S. flag and state flag over the capital Thursday, but the memorial’s Confederate flag remained at the top of its staff.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who is running for president, said it might be time to “revisit” the compromise, but said the state should “move forward in a balanced way” and insisted the response to the shooting should focus only on Roof.

“We’re not going to give this guy an excuse about a book he might have read, or a movie he watched or a song he listened to, or a symbol out anywhere,” Graham said Friday on CNN. “It’s him. It’s not the book, it’s not the movie, it’s not the flag.”

A spokesman for Republican Gov. Nikki Haley told ABC News that “the governor does not have legal authority to alter the flag” in the memorial and that doing so would require an act of the legislature.

The Washington Post reported that, in 2011, a Haley spokesman had called the compromise “a sensitive subject in a way that South Carolina as a whole could accept” and said she didn’t plan to address it.

Sanford and others said that many wanted to take down the flag, which supporters say symbolizes states rights.

“But I if was to talk to other folks, you know, they’d say, ‘Wait a minute my great-great-grandfather died in the battle of Bull Run, and for me, it’s a symbol of either states rights or of the loss that was felt within our family,'” he said. “It’s a very, very complex issue within our state.”

(Elizabeth Wasserman contributed reporting.)

(c)2015 Bloomberg News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Photo: Jason Eppnink via Flickr



  1. anothertoothpick June 19, 2015

    Why is it so hard to get right wing t-baggers politicians to admit that this is an obvious act of right wing racism Jim Crow, confederate KKK hate?

    Answer; they have no black voters in their districts.

    1. 1standlastword June 19, 2015

      Politicians in general and almost as a whole are more dedicated to their careers and the phenomenal wealth they accrue than to moral principles. That has never been more apparent at anytime in our history than it is NOW!

  2. AgLander June 19, 2015

    Only among ignorant liberals, primarily northern based, is the Confederate flag incorrectly and unfairly defined as a racist symbol. The great Southern culture is represented by that flag and for ideological driven liberals to attempt to besmirch it with such a false narrative is petty, wrong and mean-spirited.

    1. oldlion June 19, 2015

      Ok, let’s go with your premise that the flag isn’t a racist symbol. Let’s instead go with the premise that it represents a traitorous rebellion that sought to destroy our country.

    2. chino49p June 19, 2015

      You say the “great southern culture” is represented by that flag—Hmnn. Fact is that your so-called great southern culture only existed because of Slavery. Everything that the south was, that you guys say was so wonderful about life there, depended upon slave labor and the horrendous inhumane treatment of Negro people for whom there were no “good times there to even be forgotten”..
      All of your confederate ancestors were not patriots, they were traitors pure and simple. And even after the war was over and up until this day, your racial hate groups such as the kkk, skinheads, arian nation and others adopted the confederate flag as thier banner of pride—your great southern culture==bigotry.

      1. FireBaron June 22, 2015

        Chino, it gets better than that – less than 1% of the White Southern population actually owned slaves, and they convinced the 99% non-slaveowning Whites that it was in their best interest to support a system that kept them from achieving financial parity by having to compete with labor rates they could not afford. Why should someone hire a white farmhand for one dollar a day when he could hire 10 slaves from his neighbor for that same dollar? Why should someone building a house hire the white laborer for one dollar a day when he could hire 10 slaves from his neighbor for that same dollar?
        And the thing is – they drank the Kool-Ade back then, too!

        1. Independent1 June 23, 2015

          But whether they owned slaves or not, the large portion of the whites in the south that went along with slave ownership and were willing to fight and die so that that practice could keep going – are every bit as guilty of the inhumane treatment of the slaves as the owners themselves.

          It was the average southerners’ support of that horrendous practice which kept slave ownership going. Had there been more “decent human beings” living in the south in those days, who would have stood up against slave ownership, and had refused to allow the practice to continue, which as you point out was accomplished by a fraction of the southern population corrupting the masses, racism may well have not become the real problem it is today.

        2. Independent1 June 23, 2015

          And many southerners don’t stop at just being prejudiced against blacks. Many still hold long-standing grudges against ‘Yankees’. We’ve had friends and even family members who have tried moving to some of the southern states, even just Virginia, and who have eventually returned north just because of the animosity that they’ve felt from neighbors with respect to them being ‘Yankees’.

          Sadly from my perspective, a far too large portion of southerners are simply not what I consider – ‘decent people’. Obviously what I’m about to say doesn’t apply to all southerners, but there is a large enough percentage of them that even southerners should be aware of what I’m about to describe. There is a large percentage of southerners who are nothing more than egotistical, self-serving bigots who have apparently been brainwashed in their upbringing into believing that for some reason, that simply because they’re “southerners’, that somehow that makes them better than, or superior to even whites who are not from the south.

          And sadly, this ‘holier than thou’ attitude, often comes through even when these southerners are dealing with what should be friends or acquaintances or even just members of what should be a common fellowship. For some reason, that brainwashing that has occurred in their upbringing, is stronger than their inborn sense of decency. And many simply can’t stop themselves from making their ‘southern prejudices’ made known -not only to blacks, but to even to other whites, who may be from the north – people who they consider to be ‘Yankees’.

    3. jmprint June 20, 2015

      I’m ok with representing your culture, but why the insensitive, and arrogance behavior. Isn’t it time to clean up the image and show the side that humanity can deal with. Why not bring it down half staff to promote non acceptance of hate and respect for life itself.

    4. burn24 June 20, 2015

      There is nothing great about the confederate flag or the so-called culture it represents. However, in hindsight, I wish the south had won the war and left America. We’d be better off without southern white trash leaching of the taxes from the great Northeast.

      1. FireBaron June 22, 2015

        Nah, they would have failed as a country within 10 years.

        1. JPHALL June 22, 2015

          Yes! Especially since the British planted cotton in Egypt because of the war. The world had much less need for the primary money crop.

    5. FireBaron June 22, 2015

      Ag, that is not and never was the Confederate flag – it is the battle banner of the Army of Northern Virginia. If you are so bent on supporting something, at least be aware of what you are claiming to support.
      That same flag was used by the KKK throughout their history to promote their racism. South Carolina adopted flying that flag in 1962 in the face of the growing civil rights movement, echoing the sentiments of Governor George Wallace: “Segregation now! Segregation tomorrow! Segregation forever!”

  3. Stuart June 19, 2015

    Maybe this will show what a sewer the South still is. And you see the sewage bubbling up again in North Carolina.

    But it’s all relative, I guess. As has been pointed out elsewhere, 100-150 years ago, this would barely have been noticed. That’s it’s being noticed now is what passes for progress.

  4. 1standlastword June 19, 2015

    If you’re black and you live in America and you’re not a felony and you have a healthy mind and you’re law abiding you should carry a gun everyday everywhere it is legal to carry it. You will be ALWAYS be the first responder and the police will be the second. Cops investigate more crime than they prevent: this horrible event among the many is more evidence of that.

    1. Eleanore Whitaker June 20, 2015

      That’s where the joke really is…If the people in Charleston in that church HAD ALL been armed, turned their guns on Roofe, how fast do you think the SC cops would have locked ALL of them up?

      In GA, NC, SC, TN, KY, AL, MS, LA, MO, AR, IN, KS, IA and TX….there is no such thing as black self-defense.

      Why else do these white males in these states need to be armed like Rambo if not for their bigoted ideas of being attacked by blacks? This one is so old, it has Mutton Chops Granddaddies.

  5. Eleanore Whitaker June 20, 2015

    What’s bred in southern and midwestern bones will not out. They call their attitudes of white superiority, “culture.” Is it? Or, is it an excuse to keep minorities “in their place?” It simply is not possible not to blame the good ole good ole Confederates in the House and Senate who promoted such vehemence toward a bi-racial president, using every tactic of their “culture” they could dredge up to thwart any attempts to make progress for all of us.

    When you take a look at the behaviors of the men in Congress who rank among the South and Midwest’s TOP politicians, you cannot hope to ignore that attitude of superiority. Give them a microphone and the swagger and sugar coated drawling is supposed to gloss over their bigotry, ultra partisanship and inability to do the will of the people of the ENTIRE country.

    So you get big mouths like Bolton, spitting fire at the UN, Cheney hissing like a snake out of both sides of his evil mouth, Issa, the dark Satanic avenging angel of Benghazi desperate to prove a negative, Cotton and Gowdy acting like the maniacal McCarthy attack dog, Roy Cohn driving, driving, driving like major legal interrogators. Add to this the same from Hensarling and his NJ K-9 Dog Garret and you see how these lunatic fringe politicians are intent upon demolishing democracy to create yet another failed Confederate union.

    Is it coincidence that the committees all dealing with tax dollars, SS and Medicare are headed by Texans and other red state politicians? These are not men. These are pawns of billionaires with a “plantation culture” agenda.

    1. jmprint June 20, 2015

      If the devil would be able to vote, I’m positive he would be voting REPUBLICAN.

      1. Eleanore Whitaker June 20, 2015

        I have southern relatives in FL, NC and TX. If there is one thing I will never understand, it is how insidious that “culture” of hate becomes. Mind you, the relatives in NC were all born in NJ. The minute they move to a southern state, they suddenly became rabid racists. I just don’t get it.

        Republicans know one thing: Red states are in the majority in the south and midwest. They only invest in businesses that live off our federal tax dollars. Yet, they hate the Federal government and constantly preach their gospels of “states rights” to avoid federal compliance.

        You see the picture of what these states are really doing? They want federal tax subsidies that are draining blue state economies, to keep their state economies healthy, all while they refuse to accept, much less comply with federal laws. When they are forced to comply, they use their billionaires money to fly under federal laws and then resort to standing on “states rights” while they blatantly ignore and defy the rights of other states.

      2. dtgraham June 20, 2015

        I’m sure he would but possibly with a caveat or two. “Hey, I love what you guys are doing but maybe tone it down a little huh.” “Even I dial it back a little sometimes.”

  6. leadvillexp June 20, 2015

    There is nothing shameful about the Confederate Flag! It has been abused as has the Gadsden Flag. These have been abused by others wishing to get a reaction. The Confederate Battle Flag or X Flag should never be displayed except over a memorial or grave of the soldiers that fought for it. The First, Second, and Third Confederate Flags are National Flags, the civilian government never surrendered, only the military. As for them being racist it is not true. These flags have been hijacked by racist groups like the KKK and American Nazis. I have gone to their rallies and stood in front and told them they are disgracing the flag they claim to love. The flags are southern history. Instead of banning them we should bring them back from these groups and that includes the Gadsden flag from the Tea Party.

    1. Insinnergy June 21, 2015

      It is the flag of a group who stood for slavery.
      It still acts as a symbols for that exact attitude.
      How do we know this?… Because that’s how the racists use it.
      Therefore it is a symbol of their hate.

      You may think it’s about state’s rights. That’s great.
      But you cannot contest that it is widely used to symbolise and celebrate racism and those who promoted it.

      Consider how you flying a Nazi Flag in New York would be viewed… and how far you would get when you explained that it doesn’t represent the death of millions in concentration camps to you. To you it represents the strength and decisiveness of the German People.

      Yeah. That.

      1. leadvillexp June 22, 2015

        While I agree the Civil War was fought over slavery not all that fought for that flag were slave holders. Many had nothing to do with slavery. They fought because they believed it was their homeland and didn’t want the north invading it. While slavery was the major cause it goes much deeper.

        I will not contest that the flag has been taken over by racist groups. I can understand why so many feel the way you do after the flags misuse all of these years. People that still respect that flag should stand up to these groups and demand they give back the stolen flag. As I have said the X flag was a battle flag and belongs only in a museum or over the graves and monuments of those that died for it. The other three are considered National flags and the civilian government never surrendered.

        As for the NAZI flag, it was a Party flag before they took over Germany. They demanded that their Party flag be put up and the National flag of Germany be relegated to the background. It truly was never a National flag. If I were as you say, to put up a flag to represent the strength and decisiveness of the German people it would be a National flag, not a party flag.

    2. FireBaron June 22, 2015

      The Tea Party does not deserve to fly the Gadsden Flag. That flag was associated with our earliest military units, not a bunch of mooks who want to repeal the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments!

      1. leadvillexp June 22, 2015

        I agree.

  7. Insinnergy June 21, 2015

    It’s time to confront your crappy, racist past, SC.

    Remove the “Confederate Heros” from your roads, bridges, schools and hospitals… and ban the confederate flag for what it is: A symbol of racism and hate.

    I know some of you think it stands for “States Rights”. Maybe it does… to you, personally. But broadly… like the Swastika… it means something else entirely to most people.

    Clean up your mess.

  8. FireBaron June 22, 2015

    Sounds to me that the politicians of South Carolina are a bunch of gutless wonders who won’t admit their prejudice and segregationist beliefs.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.