And so a long chapter of South Carolina history, which began with Democrat Fritz Hollings ordering the flag to be flown above the capitol, ends to the tune of … “na na hey hey goodbye.” Just like Lincoln would have wanted it, my friends. The only thing missing is “Rock and Roll Part 2” being piped in over the loudspeakers.
Drew McCoy celebrates the true significance of today’s ceremony:
Related: Congratulations to Nikki Haley on securing the GOP Vice Presidential nomination.
— Drew McCoy (@_Drew_McCoy_) July 10, 2015
I doubt that, but she’s certainly moved up the depth chart. She’s young, is in her second term as a state executive, has key diversity credentials, and can point to her leadership on removing the flag as evidence that she’d be good for race relations on the ticket. I’d guess she’s in everyone’s top three VPs by now. The question is, how will the flag removal play with Republican voters in a year? Will they applaud her for it, resent her for it, or not care? More importantly, will this look like a meaningful achievement to most voters once anti-flag fever has cooled down or will it be dismissed in hindsight as a well-meaning but ultimately trivial stunt? Kevin Williamson:
But it is an argument that is literally (literally, Mr. Vice President!) about nothing more than symbolism. The importance of such symbolism is not zero, but it is not very high, either: Some well-meaning and decent people’s feelings are hurt by the reverence shown to the rebel flag, some well-meaning and decent people’s feelings will be hurt by its furling, and a few peckerwood trash racists will run about bawling with their dresses over their heads.
Not one person’s life in South Carolina will be substantially improved by this exercise in cost-free semiotics. This is the sort of controversy that politicians simply adore. There is a whole Divine Comedy’s worth of wailing and condemnation, but nothing real at stake…
The thing about cheap theatrics is, they’re cheap — and they cheapen.
If Haley’s record in the mind of most Republicans gets reduced to “she’s the one who took down that flag,” there won’t be much clamoring to put her one heartbeat away in 2017. Plus, it’s almost impossible for me to believe, especially with Trump lighting fires on immigration, that there won’t be a Latino on the ticket next year. Realistically, that means Haley’s only hope of edging out Rubio or Susana Martinez for number two is if Rubio himself is the nominee. A Rubio/Haley ticket seems highly plausible, especially since Team Marco is banking on South Carolina as his best chance for an early-state victory. If Haley endorses him and that puts him over the top in the primary, that could cinch it.
Update: Whoops, sorry, had a brain fart with the original headline, which claimed that the flag had come down in Charleston. The state capital is Columbia. Sorry about that.