April 16, 2007
One Honorable Republican

Digby has a long post about the new coach of the University of South Carolina Gamecocks football team, Steve Spurrier, who has just come out and endorsed removing the Confederate Flag from the grounds of the South Carolina State House.

While the Republican Presidential candidates get ready to hem and haw on this issue while politicking in South Carolina, let us take time to honor a man who deserves recognition for spurning the conventional wisdom of his party to do the right thing.

David Beasley was an honorable man. Keep an eye out for who isn’t.

In November 1996, less than two years into his first term as governor of South Carolina, David Beasley, a conservative Republican, went on statewide television and asked the legislature to remove the Confederate battle flag from the state house dome, where it had flown beneath the American flag and the state flag since 1962.

Although Beasley had begun his term promising not to move the Confederate flag from atop the dome, a spate of racially motivated violence compelled him to reconsider the politics and symbolism of the Confederate flag, and he concluded it should be moved. Contending that the flag had become a means to stir up hateful politics, Beasley suggested that it be moved to a place of honor at a Civil War memorial on state house grounds.

His reversal on the flag stunned fellow Republicans and generated an angry backlash among his conservative political base. Bumper stickers soon sprouted around the state, blaring, “Keep the flag, dump Beasley!” The South Carolina legislature rejected his proposal.

Political observers believe bitterness over the Confederate flag was one factor that shrank turnout, particularly among the conservative Republicans who had been the mainstay of Beasley’s political base, when he ran unsuccessfully for re-election in 1998.

In 2000, the South Carolina legislature agreed to move the Confederate flag from the dome to the Confederate Soldier Memorial on state house grounds, just as Beasley had proposed four years earlier. But although it no longer flies above the dome, the flag’s place on state grounds today remains a subject of debate.


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Posted by Buck Batard at April 16, 2007 02:17 PM
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I like Steve. I don't have an opinion on what South Carolinians should do about their state flag, though. Up to them, in my mind. I think it symbolizes what the observer sees within himself. For me, it means the loss of the Articles Of Confederation our Forefathers left us to deal with intolerable centralized government. For others, they see Hollywood style slavery scenes of horror and turmoil. Clearly, slavery was wrong. And also clearly, Roots was a fantasy production.

I do not believe the Civil War was waged over slavery. Hence the vast majority of non-slave owning Confederate soldiers.

But Steve tells it like he sees it, and I like him for that. Straightshooter.

Got a kick out of a certain Sports Illustrated reporter that penned an article about Steve, how it was good he was back coaching in college, because he "knew nothing" about how to use QB's in the NFL.

That prompted a letter from your's truly, who pointed out that once upon a time, your's truly was a young'un in San Francisco. That he had a QB on our 9er's named John Brodie, Stanford grad and great NFL QB.

Got hurt early one season. Had a smallish rookie QB step in. Led us to the postseason. Name of Steve Spurrier. Heisman Trophy winner.

I alluded to the feeling that Steve knew more about QBing an NFL team then a certain reporter did about researching his material.

Got no response, letter wasn't printed in comments. I wonder why?

Posted by: farang on April 16, 2007 7:41 PM

Democratic Senator Ford, a member of the South Carolina Legislative Black Caucus, doesn’t like the timing of Steve Spurrier’s announcement. Senator Ford might be right. Steve Spurrier has a delivered contract and has nothing to lose.

Politics in South Carolina is grotesquely bizarre.

Posted by: Buck on April 16, 2007 9:26 PM
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