A stemwinder from last night’s debate in the South Carolina house, in case you missed it elsewhere. Jenny Horne’s position prevailed, of course; Nikki Haley’s set to sign the bill removing the flag in a formal ceremony sometime this hour.
But the flag drama’s not done yet, my friends. Thanks to the congressional GOP, it’s just getting warmed up:
Republican leaders on Thursday abruptly yanked an environmental spending bill from the House floor before a final vote amid a storm of protest over an amendment that would have allowed Confederate flags at federal cemeteries…
Only the day before, Republicans had assented to Democratic amendments to an appropriations bill that would remove the flag from federal sites and gift shops.
But at the request of several Southern lawmakers, Republicans reversed themselves, and offered an amendment to allow the flag placement. A vote on that amendment had been expected Thursday afternoon. The National Park Service, which has permitted the placement of Confederate flags on graves, had already begun to direct staff to remove them…
“Don’t Republicans understand that the Confederate flag is an insult to 40 million African-Americans and many other fair-minded Americans?” [Democrat G.K. Butterfield] said, directing his remarks to Representative Ken Calvert, Republican of California, the sponsor of the amendment.
GOP Rep. Mick Mulvaney, who supports removing the flag from the South Carolina statehouse, opposed a ban on the flag at federal sites on grounds that it would prevent private citizens from placing the flag on grave sites. Meanwhile, knowing a nice wedge issue when she sees it, Nancy Pelosi’s floating a flag bill of her own to induce a little extra squirming by Republican leaders:
The House voted Thursday to refer legislation banning the Confederate flag image from the Capitol to a committee, effectively punting the issue.
The dramatic vote was forced by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who was eager to put a spotlight on the issue after House GOP leaders pulled a separate bill from the floor after an intra-party fight over the flag.
Pelosi’s resolution would have forced Mississippi’s state flag, which includes the Confederate flag, to be removed from the House side of the Capitol.
Removing the flag of one of the 50 states from the U.S. Capitol because the design doesn’t meet contemporary left-wing standards of acceptability is ridiculous and deeply cynical, but also characteristically shrewd. South Carolina voting to remove the rebel flag is a problem for Democrats because it’s a Republican operation lock, stock, and barrel: Haley’s a Republican, the two houses of the state legislature are controlled by Republicans, the most memorable floor speech of the debate was made by a Republican (Horne) — it’s in direct conflict with the traditional Democratic narrative that the GOP is a thinly veiled reincarnation of the Klan. They needed to get back on offense racially, and the opposition of Mulvaney et al. to the flag amendment in Congress made that easy for them. It was a no-brainer that Pelosi would try to double down with a dumb but effective bill demanding the banishment of Mississippi’s flag. It won’t achieve anything but the GOP opposition on it gives Democrats a reason to tell their base, “See? They haven’t changed at all.”
Anyway, here’s to healing.