In the face of the stunning cowardice of almost all of the Republicans running for president in 2016, we get this from Mitt Romney of all people, “Take down the #ConfederateFlag at the SC Capitol. To many, it is a symbol of racial hatred. Remove it now to honor #Charleston victims.”
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) June 20, 2015
Sure, former Governor Romney isn’t running this time around so he is free to speak his truth and we didn’t see this kind of courage flowing from him when he was running. But what this shows is that Republicans are deliberately denying decency out of pure cowardice in order to appease their base.
This is still one of the best things Mitt Romney has done in a long time. This shows leadership. There are plenty of other Republicans who aren’t running for anything who are silent in the face of horror, or worse yet, justifying the terrorist attacks on a black church that slaughtered nine precious people.
Republicans will say anything to avoid admitting that this was an act of hatred, because they can’t afford to alienate a base deliberately built on the Southern strategy. Of course they aren’t going to say take that flag down, even though the alleged shooter is in multiple pictures with it and acted on the hatred it represents. That flag is their party flag at this point.
Mitt Romney always struggled with the Republican base, and now he is free to be true to who he is. No matter his egregious economic beliefs, Romney couldn’t quite embrace being an Archie Bunker for the base. I wouldn’t want him as president for many reasons, but with these remarks he has shown that he can lead. He has shown a humanity here that is missing to a terrifying degree in the rest of the Republican 2016 lineup.
Whether they are suppressing their humanity to cater to their base or they really don’t have it is irrelevant, because who could and would do that? What kind of person is so devoid of humanity that they can claim this mass shooting was an accident or play dumb as to its motivation, when the alleged shooter admitted his motivation to witnesses.
A huge score here for Mitt Romney.
We don’t have to agree on policy, but we should all agree on basic things like that hatred for a group of people is bad and a mass shooting to get rid of black people is a terrorist attack. We should all be able to agree that the Confederate flag symbolized hatred and has for a long time, no matter how the south spins it.
Leaders must be able to side with humanity and bring out the best in the country at times of need, not cater to its worst side. President Obama was right, the Confederate flag belongs in a museum.
Update: Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush has also come out saying the Confederate flag belongs in a museum. This is an admirable position from someone who is already struggling with Republican primary voters.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah has won two Telly Awards and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.