Begala: Yeah, Hillary has to answer for the Confederate flag, too

Yes, in fact she does, but longtime Clinton strategist Paul Begala does his best to provide one for Hillary Clinton. The Clintons, or at least their political allies, had no problem using Confederate symbology such as these during their campaigns, and Bill Clinton signed legislation honoring the Confederate flag, The Blaze pointed out. The Huffington Post even raises the question today:











CNN’s Chris Cuomo pushed Begala on this point, and Begala managed to avoid addressing any of this while claiming that the Clintons had tried to end Confederate symbology — and got their rear ends handed to them as a result. Oh, and isn’t it great that we’ve changed so much in 20 years? Michael Warren catches the moment:

CUOMO: Does she have to answer for her time as first lady in Arkansas with Bill standing by the Arkansas flag proudly when it, too, is said to borrow from the Confederate symbology?

BEGALA: Well, sure, absolutely. Times change, and circumstances change. … Twenty-two years ago, Zell Miller tried to take that off [the Georgia state flag], with by the way the support of his friend Bill Clinton. And we failed. The people of Georgia kicked our butt, and Zell Miller was as good a politician as I’ve ever known.

Er, nice try. Clinton served three terms as governor in Arkansas, and not only did he not take on Confederate symbology in his own state, he signed legislation that provided a government endorsement of it. All this anecdote proves is that Clinton’s own political courage pales in comparison to Miller’s.

Clinton seems to have had no trouble using the same symbology for his presidential campaign on which Begala himself worked. Clinton and Al Gore tried very hard to soothe Southern white voters with a “one of us” campaign that used that symbology to underscore that message. HuffPo and the Washington Post note that the Clintons haven’t responded to requests about whether these buttons came from the campaign itself or its allies, but the silence speaks volumes — and anyway, they certainly weren’t condemning that message in 1992.

So yes, times change, but apparently not the candidates or the apologists, at least on one side of the aisle. I notice that we haven’t changed enough to have someone other than the same Clinton family at the top of the Democratic ticket almost a quarter-century later. Isn’t it great to have Republican leaders like Nikki Haley succeeding at being agents of change?

Update: There’s also this from the Hillary Clinton campaign of 2008:

This one’s not from the campaign itself, as Joel notes … but there’s not much of a record of Hillary rebuking the Arkansas Travelers, or repudiating their symbology or support, either.