Tuesday Reads: The Republican Party’s Mess


Good Morning!!

I’m sure you’ll recognize the image at the top of this post. The photo was taken at a Tea Party rally in Washington, DC, a couple of years ago. I’ve included other similar photos in this post. Don’t tell me the people holding these flags don’t understand that it is a symbol of racial hatred.

Since Barack Obama was elected President of the United States, we have seen shocking overt racism on display by right wing Republicans, and so called “mainstream” Republican elected officials have done nothing to stop it. The simple truth is that the Tea Party is a racist hate group that was formed in reaction to the election of a black president.

As a consequence of Republican officials’ refusal to call the Tea Party what it is, we have seen extreme right wing candidates like Ted Cruz elected to high office and stupid and hateful people like Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann treated seriously by the media. It’s a national disgrace, and we should begin to hold Republicans responsible for it.


Nikki Haley was elected governor of South Carolina in 2010 as a Tea Party candidate, although she has since fallen out of favor with the group. Yesterday Haley made a cowardly, mealy-mouthed public statement calling for removal of the Confederate flag from the state house grounds, and yet today she is being celebrated in the media for her “courage.” Here’s part of it:

For many people in our state the flag stands for traditions that are noble. Traditions of history, of heritage and of ancestry.

The hate-filled murderer who massacred our brothers and sisters in Charleston has a sick and twisted view of the flag. In no way does he reflect the people of our state who respect, and in many ways, revere it.

Those South Carolinians view the flag as a symbol of respect, integrity and duty. They also see it as a memorial. A way to honor ancestors who came to the service of their state during time of conflict. That is not hate, nor is it racism.

At the same time, for many others in South Carolina, the flag is a deeply offensive symbol of a brutally oppressive past. As a state, we can survive and indeed we can thrive as we have done whilst still being home to both of those viewpoints. We do not need to declare a winner and a loser here.

We respect freedom of expression. And that for those who wish to show their respect for the flag on their private property, no one will stand in your way.

But the statehouse is different. And the events of this past week call upon us to look at this in a different way….

One hundred and fifty years after the end of the Civil War, the time has come. There will be some in our state who see this as a sad moment. I respect that. But know this, for good and for bad, whether it is on the statehouse grounds or in a museum the flag will always be a part of the soil in South Carolina. But this is a moment in which we can say that that flag, while an integral part of our past, does not represent the future of our great state.

It is South Carolina’s historic moment, and this will be South Carolina’s decision. To those outside of our state, the flag may be nothing more than a symbol of the worst of America’s past. That is not what it is to many South Carolinians. The state house belongs to all of us. Their voices will be heard, and their role in this debate will be respected….

But we are not going to allow this symbol to divide us any longer. The fact that people are choosing to use it as a sign of hate is something that we cannot stand. The fact that it causes pain to so many is enough to move it from the capitol grounds.


Why couldn’t Haley just admit that the flag on the her state house grounds is a symbol of resistance to integration and to legal recognition that African Americans should have equal rights; and that decades after the changes brought about by Civil Rights Movement they are still not treated equally by many, including police officers? By the way, maybe she should also consider opposing the efforts of Republicans in South Carolina to prevent African Americans from voting.

Last night I watch Rachel Maddow’s show for the first time in months, and I’m very glad I did. Maddow presented a detailed history of the Council of Conservative Citizens, the group whose website inspired Dylann Roof to murder nine African Americans at a prayer group meeting at the Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC last week. The Council of Conservative Citizens grew directly out of the White Citizens Councils  that fought to maintain racial segregation in Southern cities in the 1950s and 1960s. From Wikipedia:

The Citizens’ Councils (also referred to as White Citizens’ Councils) were an associated network of white supremacist organizations in the United States, concentrated in the South. The first was formed on July 11, 1954 After 1956, it was known as the Citizens’ Councils of America. With about 60,000 members across the United States, mostly in the South, the groups were founded primarily to oppose racial integration of schools, but they also supported segregation of public facilities during the 1950s and 1960s. Members used severe intimidation tactics including economic boycotts, firing people from jobs, propaganda, and occasionally violence against civil-rights activists.

By the 1970s, following passage of federal civil rights legislation in the mid-1960s and enforcement of constitutional rights by the federal government, the influence of the Councils had waned considerably. The successor organization to the White Citizens’ Councils is the Council of Conservative Citizens, founded in 1985.


Maddow pointed out that in 2010, Haley Barbour was quickly eliminated from the race for the GOP nomination when he publicly praised the White Citizen Council in his home city of Yazoo, Mississippi. Maddow also interviewed SC Rep. James Clyburn about the history of the Confederate flag that still flies on the SC state house grounds. He explained that that flag was a Virginia flag flown by Robert E. Lee and that it has nothing to do with South Carolina history. It was put up over the SC state house in 1962 as a direct response to the battle for civil rights for African Americans.

Why couldn’t Nikki Haley simply admit that in her statement? Frankly, the Republican Party has allowed itself to become the party of racism and hatred; and it’s time for decent Republicans to face up to that and and deal with it honestly.

Here’s what Melissa McEwan wrote about Haley’s statement:

She couldn’t even be bothered to say that the thing is a racist symbol. Which has nonetheless not stopped members of her party from celebrating her courage.

The thing is, it’s not really “brave” to take down a flag that never should have been flying in the first place.

I see what Haley is doing as approximately as “brave” as when I clean up cat vomit. You’re supposed to clean up gross messes in your home….

let’s not pretend that it’s a Great Leadership moment, when it took 150 years of fluttering insult, and nine deaths in the last week at the hands of one of the many white people to embrace that contemptible symbol of white supremacy, to pull it off the flagpole.


I completely agree. As I wrote in a comment yesterday, the Confederate flag is a symbol of hate and fear that should be in the same category as the Nazi swastika and the “n” word. Why should people be allowed to fly it on their own property? Why should more intelligent and sensitive neighbors or even people driving by have to see it?

It’s way past time for Republicans to stop beating around the bush and clean up the disgusting mess in their party, and it’s time for all Americans to recognize that racism in any form is evil.

Here’s a more serious discussion of the meaning of the Confederate flag by Ta-Nehisi Coates at The Atlantic:

What This Cruel War Was Over. The meaning of the Confederate flag is best discerned in the words of those who bore it.

This afternoon, in announcing her support for removing the Confederate flag from the capitol grounds, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley asserted that killer Dylann Roof had a “a sick and twisted view of the flag” which did not reflect “the  people in our state who respect and in many ways revere it.” If the governor meant that very few of the flag’s supporters believe in mass murder, she is surely right. But on the question of whose view of the Confederate Flag is more twisted, she is almost certainly wrong.

Roof’s belief that black life had no purpose beyond subjugation is “sick and twisted” in the exact same manner as the beliefs of those who created the Confederate flag were “sick and twisted.” The Confederate flag is directly tied to the Confederate cause, and the Confederate cause was white supremacy. This claim is not the result of revisionism. It does not require reading between the lines. It is the plain meaning of the words of those who bore the Confederate flag across history. These words must never be forgotten. Over the next few months the word “heritage” will be repeatedly invoked. It would be derelict to not examine the exact contents of that heritage.

This examination should begin in South Carolina, the site of our present and past catastrophe. South Carolina was the first state to secede, two months after the election of Abraham Lincoln. It was in South Carolina that the Civil War began, when the Confederacy fired on Fort Sumter. The state’s casus belli was neither vague nor hard to comprehend:

…A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. He is to be entrusted with the administration of the common Government, because he has declared that that “Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free,” and that the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction. This sectional combination for the submersion of the Constitution, has been aided in some of the States by elevating to citizenship, persons who, by the supreme law of the land, are incapable of becoming citizens; and their votes have been used to inaugurate a new policy, hostile to the South, and destructive of its beliefs and safety.

In citing slavery, South Carolina was less an outlier than a leader, setting the tone for other states, including Mississippi

Please go read the whole thing at the link.

Republicans are now arguing that Democrats are responsible for the confederate flag symbolism and for the South’s history of racism. It’s true that Dixiecrats fought to maintain segregation, but most of those old guys switched to the Republican Party back in the Civil Rights era. The Republicans own the mess now, and they need to get busy cleaning it up.

As always, this is an open thread. Please post your thoughts and links on any topic in the comments below.

69 Comments on “Tuesday Reads: The Republican Party’s Mess”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    A couple of days ago Lindsey Graham defended the Confederate flag flying on the grounds of the South Carolina state house. Now he’s suddenly changed his tune.

    Politico: Lindsey Graham shifts on Confederate flag.

  2. Pat Johnson says:

    I am so sick of these racists bigots – and that includes the current crop of GOP candidates – tippy toeing around this issue by hiding behind “states rights”. So sick to death of them.

    Anyone championing “states rights” is actually defending segregation and fostering an atmosphere of hate whether to choose to admit it or not. Anyone defending cops shooting unarmed black men is doing the same. Racism is alive and well and thriving – more so since Obama has been sworn into office – since these bigots were basically given permission to step out of the closet and cover themselves in the idea of “freedom” and demanding that their purpose was to “take our country back” as if they had sole ownership of what it means to be a US citizen.

    Demanding birth certificates, laughing at cartoons depicting a president picking watermelons, calling the First Lady a “monkey”, referring to Obama as “boy”, calling him a “liar” from the floor of the Capital, labeling him a terrorist, Muslim loving, hidden agenda agent of some cause they could barely articulate, then scrambllng to the side letting elected officials plead their case under the guise of the First Amendment.

    Nothing gets done in DC because of the underlying issue of race. Hate Obama and you find a constituency who will fill your coffers. Stand in opposition to every Obama proposal and see your face on the news as a “spokesman” for the party. Excuse every stupid statement made by ignoramuses on the oft chance you may garner a few votes out of that subculture and pretend to be “shocked” when some moron marches into a church and murders old ladies because “you have to”. Then turn into Fox News who will collectively spew “we may never know what led him to do this”.

    The Right has become more and more irrelevant in their wishful thinking but there are still enough assholes out there who strongly hold to these beliefs. Enough who will continue to do the damage to others because they feel it is their right. Whether they be law enforcement, legislators, the guy next door, they are a stain on this nation who refuse to open their eyes and see that hate offers nothing but more hate.

    I can barely articulate what I feel since the very thought of where these people are leading us. Nowhere good that’s for sure.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Thank you Pat. You speak for me too.

    • dakinikat says:

      3 words: Nixon’s Southern Strategy

    • gregoryp says:

      I don’t think that can be stated any better. Thank you.

    • RalphB says:

      Thank you Pat. My sentiments exactly!

    • Fannie says:

      For sure Pat. All of a sudden when Obama became president, things became worst for this country according to the Republicans. It couldn’t have been any worst with George W. Bush lying us into never ending wars. They refused to say he inherited this mess, not there message until this very day is that he hasn’t fixed any of it. That is where there story begins and ends.

      They have called him out as President Food Stamp. Called him out for huge cost of Medcaid in this country, that he is nothing more than an entitlement president, and that is why he got elected a second time. That really burns there asses. They’ve tried everything to impeach him, to remove him for the Affordable Care Act, for signing executive orders, from giving women and gay people equal rights, and saying that he has created more national debt and big government than ever before. All lies. I really hate that they the churches have turned into what it was back in 1865. There maybe some hope seeing the Emanuel Church.

      You are absolutely right, they have been dragging down this country, and never engages in a working relationship with him or any democrats, there solution has been to shut down the government, and do nothing in congress. Not to mention how disgraceful they have treated our veterans.

      I remember trying to explain and help people enroll in Obamacare, and I remember one republican who told me that since I support him, I ought to suck his black dick. I’ll never forget the day, that he was made the clown at the rodeo, and I went head to head over the phone with the event organizer. I had never experienced that kind of hate, I couldn’t cut through it. There are so many instances that I have felt the flames of hate, fear, and racism from the Republican Party, many who are in my family, and that I have now been made to keep my distance.

      Thank God I can come hear and feel positive, and can applaud our President, and our country.

    • babama says:

      Sadly they are not irrelevant yet. They control too many State legislatures and gerrymandered districts for that. They own too many guns and are too much a presence within law enforcement to be “irrelevant”. But, perhaps we are at a tipping point where their hate and lies are exposed for what they are beyond what the white “silent majority” can further countenance. That’s progress. I’ll take it. Let the backlash begin.

      I’ve been waiting for Tea Party Nation to have their ‘Altamont’ moment for a long time now. There’s been a hate fest going on in this country which too many have encouraged, tolerated, and turned a blind eye to. Now the results of that moral failure is on full display for all the world to see. Here’s hoping we all learn from it.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts Pat.

  3. janicen says:

    When you ask why Nikki Haley couldn’t admit the true history of the Stars and Bars, I think it’s because she doesn’t know it. Some of them know it for the symbol of hatred and racism that it is, but I think some of them believe the heritage bullshit because it’s easier than learning about and admitting the truth. It is SC after all. A right minded person couldn’t get elected gov there.

    While I never thought I’d live to see the day when that symbol of hatred was take down in SC, I also believe it’s a distraction. The murders in Charleston were so heinous and so obviously racial hatred that it brought us to a tipping point where some action would have to be taken. I’m glad the flag might come down, but I suspect it’s being done to distract us from expecting any meaningful gun control legislation to come out of this horrible crime. I hope the media doesn’t lose sight of the fact that the people in Charleston were murdered by a gun that was too easy for a disturbed mass murderer to acquire.

    Thank you for the great post, bb. Let’s keep holding their feet to the fire.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Thanks, Janice. I agree that it’s a distraction to some extent, but it will mean a great deal to many people if it is taken down. They are talking about changing the Mississippi state flag also. It’s a good thing if this happens, whatever the motives; but to praise Nikki Haley as courageous for doing it is ridiculous and insulting, IMO.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        I listened to Nikki Haley’s speech yesterday, she equivocated far to much. There should be no equivocation. This isn’t about heritage, which is how she tried to frame those who favor the stars & bars. If you honor your dead ancestors fight in the Confederacy, then that’s your business, but don’t make it my business by glorifying the flag as a symbol of honorable State history. It is not a symbol of honor, it is a symbol of racism and has been used as a flag of choice by White Supremacists Organizations all of my life, which is considerable. These folks are also anti-jew, anti-gay and if you listen closely, anti-woman in many respects. Had Haley called it what it IS, a symbol of hatred, that would have been courage. What I watched wasn’t courage, it was a non-to-convinced person doing what she was forced by circumstances to do.

    • RalphB says:

      A gentle reminder: Flags don’t kill people, guns do.

      Though the flag should definitely be trashed.

    • babama says:

      I prefer to think of divesting the flag(s) as an act of reconstruction and don’t consider that a distraction at all. Equal citizenship and human rights issues are never distractions. Symbols, and how we think (and re think) about our history, are at the heart of how we go about creating a culture and political climate where we can actually achieve meaningful gun control. We’re not there yet. I desperately want us to get there.

      • janicen says:

        Thank you for pointing that out. I agree with you about the symbols. I’ve recently read a book about the placement of Christian symbols throughout our culture since the early 1950’s which has even resulted in legal and legislative decisions calling our nation a Christian nation but what I have learned from that book is that there really is a conspiracy be it “vast right wing” or corporate which has steered our thinking and I suspect that the corporate interests of the gun industrial complex are concerned enough about possible legislation that they are willing to toss us a few symbols in order to appease us. We are closer to real reform than we have ever been before, even including the slaughter of children and educators in Newtown and I’d hate to see this moment lost.

        • bostonboomer says:


          Will you please post the name of that book again? I thought I had put it in my Amazon cart, but it’s not there. Maybe I got a Kindle free sample…..

          • janicen says:

            That’s exactly what happened to me. I thought I bought it and was reading along and suddenly I got a “how did you enjoy this sample?” message. The book is “One Nation Under God, How Corporate America Invented Christian America”. The author is Kevin M. Kruse

          • janicen says:

            I thought I had replied, bb, but it hasn’t shown up so apologies if I’m replying twice. The book is “One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America” and the author is Kevin M. Kruse. It’s really interesting.

  4. Silent Kate says:

    I love John Oliver’s take on all of this….The confederate flag is the way the rest of us can identify the worse people in the world! Isn’t that the truth? The minute I see someone with that flag makes me know exactly what kind of person they probably are. Of course, they use it to find each other as well.

  5. roofingbird says:

    To reiterate, this was never the national Confederate flag:


    It’s a battle flag, and/or a canton on the Confederate flag.

    • janicen says:

      That’s true. I saw a video with an historian who said the Confederate Flag was flying from the dome originally but it became an embarrassment during the 2000 election so they switched it to the square battle flag and took it off the dome and moved it to a different place.

    • ANonOMouse says:


      “The third national Confederate flag (above right) was unveiled in March of 1865, only weeks before Lee’s surrender. This design simply called for a vertical red bar to be added to the outer end of the “Stainless Banner.” The new flag was dubbed the “Bloodstained Banner,” and served as the national Confederate flag until the Confederacy was dissolved.”

      Here is the last flag flown by the Confederacy

      And Mississippi still flies a flag very similar to the final Confederate Flag.

      Mississippi State Flag

      • Fannie says:

        I don’t what it will take, but Ms. will the last the last state to take down the flag. They think if they take it down, what else will they make us do, they are saying they aren’t going to crawl in a hole over this, are gay marriage. They are on the same damn old road.

        • ANonOMouse says:

          They surely are on the same damn old road, that’s why MS remains one of the most backward States in the country. They have the highest poverty level of any State. They rank 47th in job growth. Who wants to move to MS? What do they have to offer? Maybe their State motto should be “MISSISSIPPI, WHERE THE BATTLE FLAG OF THE CONFEDERACY STILL FLIES, BUT NOTHING ELSE DOES”

  6. ANonOMouse says:

    “The Republicans own the mess now, and they need to get busy cleaning it up”

    Right on!!! And thank you for the great post today.

    I’ve lived in this SOUTH, my entire life. The hatred that inspired the crime committed in SC wasn’t an anomaly, it is an underlying bigotry that permeates much of Southern society.

    Seeing a Confederate Flag on a bumper, on a car window, on a license plate, on a t-shirt, on a beach towel or flying in someone’s yard is not extraordinary here. It’s not as common as it once was, since the haters are not as comfortable in showing their hand as they used to be, but it’s too common for comfort.

    When you drive into Nashville from the South via I-65, here is the image that greets you. And it is a huge exhibit of Civil War era flags.

    The statue is a crude depiction of Nathan Bedford Forrest, Lt. General in the Confederate Army, founder and first Grand Wizard of the KKK.

    The exhibit is on private property and for years the State has refused to do anything to block the view of this monstrosity. Still, many of us, myself included, have been calling publicly for the State to block the view of this exhibit by erecting a wall. Since the massacre in Charleston there are many more voices in Nashville calling for this trash to be blocked from public view. I’m just broken hearted that it took 9 innocent lives to make people notice that these exhibitions of hatred must be walled off and removed from public view forever.

    FYI: This isn’t the only private monument to the Confederacy in TN or the other Southern States, there are many of them, facing highways and interstates. It’s time for States to act to block these exhibits from view or to make laws that prohibit these exhibits within so many miles/feet of public highways.

  7. bostonboomer says:

    Charles Pierce:

    Profiles in the Obvious: Nikki Haley Speaks Softly Against Treason.In which an obvious move to remove the Confederate flag is made courageous.

    Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina, not very long ago at all, watched quietly as her state legislature flirted with the idea of nullification in connection with the Affordable Care Act. So, I am willing to give her one cheer for what she said today about the banner of treason that waves over the state capitol.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Nikki Haley and the Confederate Flag of Treason, Day 2In which the self-congratulation continues.

      It was the Day Of Jubilee on Squint And The Meat Puppet Tuesday morning. Everybody was congratulating Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina, and Senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, and Renowned World Leader Mitt Romney, for their bold stance against the flag of treason — revived in 1962 as the emblem of “massive resistance” — 150 years after the seditious cause for which it waved was crushed, Squint was particularly bumfuzzled, reminiscing vaguely about how he used to put up the flag in his dorm room just to be an asshole to the “Yankees, as we called them.” But they all agreed that the Day Of Jubilee had arrived.

      • Pat Johnson says:

        Joe Scaborough is one of the biggest morons on the planet.

        • Silent Kate says:

          Where is the “like” button for this statement?

        • ANonOMouse says:


        • RalphB says:

          Scarborough is worse than a moron, he’s a pure unadulterated asshat!

        • Fannie says:

          Earlier in the week, Joe was doing a job on Obama’s race talk. The panel was Harold Ford, Howard Dean, and the Dick (Mark Halperin). Harold said it was tacky for the President to use the n word, and Howard Dean didn’t think so. The Dick, said, look at the age of shooter, he’s so young, and you know there are a lot of young people who aren’t caught up in this stuff.

          The Dick is so wrong. I am beside myself that everyone seems to have forgotten about James Craig Anderson, in Jackson, Ms. He was hunted, he was beaten, he was run over and left to die in the streets, and it was caught on a security camera. You know how many young people were a part of that killing. Eight young men, and two young girls were found guilty. And there as the Dick preaching that a lot of young people aren’t concerned about race.

          You know I think people believe him. The problem is in the homes of those young people, in the stores, in the parks, everywhere they go those young people see that flag, and are raging with hate.

  8. ANonOMouse says:

    Here we go! Blaming Obama for the Charleston massacre.


    This woman is also a Fox News Contributor.

  9. RalphB says:

    While Republican candidates stumble and stammer, Hillary steps up and assumes leadership. It may be 17 months out but I’ve never seen poll numbers this good before.

    First Read: The Most Important Number in NBC/WSJ Poll

    How Hillary outperforms a generic Democratic presidential candidate

    Here’s another important dynamic to understand: Hillary Clinton outperforms a generic Democratic presidential candidate. While she leads Bush/Rubio/Walker between 8-14 points, a generic Democratic presidential candidate barely beats a GOP generic candidate, 39%-36%. And the difference comes from the key Democratic-leaning demographic groups. A generic Democrat has a 16-point lead among those 18-34 (46%-30%), but Hillary’s average lead over Jeb and Rubio here is 29 points (58%-29%). A generic Democrat has a 62-point lead among African Americans (69%-7%), but Hillary’s lead against Bush/Rubio here is 87 points (91%-4%). And a generic Democratic candidate holds a 9-point lead among Latinos (40%-31%), but Hillary’s average here against Jeb/Rubio is 42 points (65%-23%).

    Bernie’s Bounce

    Last week, we were careful to explain that “Bernie-mentum” said more about his standing compared with Martin O’Malley/Jim Webb/Lincoln Chafee than with Hillary Clinton. And here’s the reason why: Hillary holds a whopping 60-point lead (!!!) over Sanders in the NBC/WSJ poll, 75%-15%. Nevertheless, the survey shows that Bernie has had a nice bounce since getting into the Democratic race. Back in March, the poll found 21% of Democratic primary voters saying they could support him, versus an equal 21% who said they couldn’t. Now? It’s 40% support, 32% not support. Maybe more importantly for Sanders (as well as O’Malley/Webb/Chafee), he easily tops the Democratic field when it comes to 2nd choice.

  10. bostonboomer says:

    Rachel Maddow just did a lengthy report on the statue in Nashville that Mouse has been telling us about. You have to watch it.

    Someone actually interviewed the owner on the radio and Rachel played what he said. OMG! She also said there’s another statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest on the Tennesee state house grounds!

    • bostonboomer says:

      Democrats in Congress are going to submit a fix for the Voting Rights Act. States with a history of denying votes to African Americans will have to get Federal permission to make any changes in their voting laws. So will states who have instituted practices that are known to limit voting rights like voter ID laws.

      Two of the problem states are NY and CA, so they are not all southern states. But TX is one of the worst, apparently.

      Republicans won’t vote for it and then they will have to answer to voters for being against voting rights.


    • ANonOMouse says:

      I forgot to mention that statue of Forrest in the State Capitol Rotunda. There have been Tennesseans calling for that Statue to be removed for as long as I can remember. Governor Haslam agrees that the statue needs to be moved to another place, likely the civil war museum that’s in downtown Nashville, just a few blocks from the Capitol. The Mayor of Nashville is also calling for the Statue to be removed from the Capitol Rotunda. From what I’ve read the decision comes from a historical committee, not from the legislature, so it just may happen.