The Republican version of damage control is spreading all through the South as Republican Gov. Robert Bentley ordered the Confederate flag to be taken down from the state capitol.
According to al.com:
Asked his reasons for taking it down and if it included what happened in Charleston last week, the governor said, “Yes, partially this is about that. This is the right thing to do. We are facing some major issues in this state regarding the budget and other matters that we need to deal with. This had the potential to become a major distraction as we go forward. I have taxes to raise; we have work to do. And it was my decision that the flag needed to come down.”
Republicans could have done “the right thing” at any time. They are taking the flag down now because it is a political liability for them to support it after the Charleston massacre.
As much as Republicans want credit for doing the right thing, their behavior is being driven by politics, not moral decency. Supporting the Confederate flag is viewed as a toxic political position. It is great that the flag is being taken down, but why did it take the deaths of nine innocent African-Americans to force Republicans to act?
The fact is that if the public outrage had not been so swift and severe, Republicans would have continued to defend the flying of the flag as a states’ rights issue.
Decency is winning the battle for now, but no Republican has promised to permanently remove the flag. After the emotions of Charleston fade away, there is absolutely nothing stopping Republicans from putting the Confederate flag back up.
Republicans want praise for taking the flag down when they need to be held accountable for ever allowing the flag to fly in the first place.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association