Just reminding you again in case you missed it in this morning’s post about Charlottesville that the colonial flag was given pride of place at the inauguration of America’s first black president with no objection.
Why would anyone have objected? Just as no one admires a statute of Thomas Jefferson because he was a slaveholder, no one flies the colonial flag because America condoned slavery at its founding. You honor both despite their betrayal of their own ideals because you celebrate the Founding and you’re glad to be an American.
“Glad to be an American” is a dicey proposition among Democrats, though. If you’re competing for votes in an election comprised entirely of Dems, you tailor your opinions of America accordingly. And so it came to be that the Democratic primary field pivoted from the extremely popular issue of busing to the extremely popular issue of copping a squat on the colonial flag. Here’s Beto, who claims to be a Texan:
Beto on the Nike/Betsy Ross flag controversy: "I think its really important to take into account the impression that kind of symbol would have for many of our fellow Americans, respect the decision Nike made and grateful for the conversation [that it is provoking]
— Ben Jacobs (@Bencjacobs) July 3, 2019
And here’s Julian Castro going a bit further and and declaring that Nike’s embarrassing decision to yank its sneakers off store shelves under pressure from fringe-woke dipsh*ts like Colin Kaepernick was Actually Good:
.@JulianCastro: I was glad to see Nike pull the Nike Betsy Ross American flag shoes.
— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) July 3, 2019
“The American flag is racist” sounds like a winning July 4th message to me. Coincidentally, liberal (but not leftist) Jonathan Chait has a new piece at New York magazine titled, “Democratic Presidential Candidates Need to Stop Taking Unpopular Stances.” One would think, and yet:
Democrats have lots of room to run to attack President Trump from the left on economic and social policy while placing themselves on the right side of public opinion. And while the party as a whole has done so, the presidential contenders have been jostling to stand out by adopting a series of highly unpopular stances. To date, the following positions have been taken by some or all the candidates: replace all employer-provided private insurance with a government plan; decriminalize the border while also providing subsidized health insurance to undocumented immigrants; and provide reparations for the descendants of American slaves…
What’s concerning here is not so much the concrete position as the process by which it has been arrived at. The Democratic nominee can try to back away later from some of the positions she endorsed in the primary. (Though the more radical the positions, and the more unambiguous the endorsement, the harder it will be to back away.) But Democrats seem to have actually drunk the Twitter Kool-Aid and convinced themselves taking unpopular progressive positions can’t hurt them. They are not merely arguing against the avoidance of unpopular positions on specific issues, but dismissing it as a consideration altogether.
One could defend embracing an unpopular but meaty policy proposal like Medicare for All by noting that the left truly does believe it would improve many Americans’ lives, even if it’s destined to meet public resistance initially. It’s highly relevant too: The debate that ObamaCare jumpstarted 10 years ago has never really ended, with health care a high enough priority for voters last fall to drive a Democratic takeover of the House. Endorsing an end to private insurance is hugely risky but maybe worth doing for the sake of getting voters to start thinking about it, gradually moving the Overton window towards the progressive position. What’s baffling to me is Dems going all-in on unpopular proposals that are far more marginal. One might defend Kamala Harris’s revival of busing as foolish long-term but crucial to her short-term primary strategy, since it might drive a wedge between Biden and the black voters that Harris covets, but what the hell are Beto and Castro doing ingesting empty calories by objecting to the colonial flag being stitched on sneakers? It’s precisely the sort of small-ball, divisive, yet potent culture-war base pander that lefties are forever knocking Trump for.
I guess we’re all Trumpists now:
Hey, @Nike — we’re just a quick jaunt over the border…
Thank you for doing the right thing. CA is open for business and welcomes those that represent the best of our American values. pic.twitter.com/dLN7EuYBFS
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) July 3, 2019
Two clips for you here, one of Mitch McConnell doing his culture-war duty, the other via the Free Beacon of Kaepernickian pundit Michael Eric Dyson doing his own. Speaking of which, I’m convinced there’s some serious natsec business going down behind the scenes because there have been like eight tweetworthy culture-war controversies in the last 48 hours and the culture-warrior-in-chief has missed all of them. As I write this at 2 p.m. ET, Trump still hasn’t commented about the Nike fracas or the Charlottesville City Council canceling Jefferson’s birthday as a holiday. Is he busy with something important? Or is has he simply immersed himself in the details of tomorrow’s tank pageant, like a kid playing with a new train set?