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South Carolina

Capital Confederacy Confusion in Charleston


In the wake of the Charleston shootings, the imagery of the Confederate flag has stirred passions because of its alleged influence on the motives of the shooter. Of particular interest for some rabble rousers is the Confederate flag that flies on the grounds of the SC State House. I have been perplexed as to how something that has been flying at the state capital since 1962 (when the flag was first raised at the behest of the Democrat governor and his allies in the legislature) would come to be associated with the Charleston shooting. What does a shooting in Charleston have to do with a flag flying 120 miles away in Columbia (the city, not the country – confusing, I know)?

This is Charleston. Where the shooting happened.

This is Charleston. Where the shooting happened.

But then it dawned on me! The reason people are so upset about the flag at the State House and believe that it had some influence on the shooter is because they think the State House is in Charleston. Of course, anyone even vaguely familiar with the history and geography of South Carolina knows that the state capital is in Columbia and that Charleston hasn’t been the capital since colonial times (1786 to be exact). So, I would posit that the reason everyone is all in a hullabaloo about the Confederate flag is because they think that it’s flying over the State House, which they erroneously assume to be in Charleston. It’s a simple case of mistaken identity.

It’s understandable how such confusion could arise. After all, I suppose Albany frequently experiences the same problem. Between Charleston and Columbia, Charleston is the better known city, with all the fancy restaurants and beaches that everyone’s heard of, the cool history sites, etc. Columbia has more of a diamond-in-the-rough quality to it. Though, as a certified former Columbia resident, I can attest to the quality of the Columbia food scene.

This is Columbia. Where the evil Confederate Flag is.

This is Columbia. Where the evil Confederate Flag is.

But this confusion is really the only logical explanation for the recent uproar. Because it’s simply ridiculous to suggest that a flag 120 miles away from the scene of the shooting (and that doesn’t sit atop the actual building or even the Confederate memorial itself – it actually stands next to it) would have anything to do with that shooting. Sure, maybe some people find it offensive. But such a display is hardly unique, nor is it likely to be even the most offensive thing sitting on the grounds of the State House. I would think that the memorials to Strom Thurmond or John C. Calhoun would provoke more ire from these people then a dinky little flag that is (literally) overshadowed by a giant memorial to the Confederate dead.

Though, given leading politicians’ apparent inclination to appease the mob, perhaps it’s best, lest anyone be offended, to simply bulldoze all of the monuments at the state house (including the memorial to Black South Carolinians, since that was clearly intended to be ironic) and rename all the streets in Columbia. Even the palmetto should go, because, you know. Slaves.

This is the memorial to Black South Carolinians. Which you literally have to walk by every time you enter the State House.

This is the memorial to Black South Carolinians. Which you literally have to walk by every time you enter the State House.

Then we can have a giant flag burning on the grounds of the state house, genuflect before the likes of William Barber, and maybe write a big check (courtesy of the local taxpayers of course) to the liberal grievance group of your choice. Of course that strategy will only work until the great, unwashed masses decide to get offended again. So, perhaps it’s better from a long-run perspective to simply ignore them and let them burn themselves out. Because these people will never be appeased, they will never be happy, and they will continue to look for ways to embarrass and humiliate you. So, don’t engage with them. Pretty simple.

But in the meantime, please try to remember that the state capital is in Columbia, not Charleston.

Stupid is as Stupid Does

Given the beating the GOP took in the last election, you’d think the party would have learned a few things, namely that running damaged candidates for Congress doesn’t usually work out so well (looking at you, Todd Aiken). However, the lesson doesn’t appear to have sunk in and, South Carolina Republicans appear ready to nominate someone (to fill Tim Scott’s old seat) with so much baggage that he gets nailed with those excess luggage fees every time he hops on a plane down to Argentina. I am, of course, referring to disgraced former governor, Mark Sanford, whose most distinguishing act in office was inspiring a state-wide game of Where’s Waldo for a week while he engaged in some foreign relations in Argentina. The only redeeming feature of a Sanford candidacy is that he’s already on-board with the GOP’s new Hispanic outreach plan, that is if the GOP’s idea of outreach is abandoning your wife and children to go have a sexual romp on the other side of the world. forrest-gump_40570

However, despite Sanford’s questionable moral and ethical choices, he appears ready to coast to an easy primary victory. For reference, in November 2012, Tim Scott won his election with 62% of the vote. Recent polling suggests that Sanford will defeat Curtis Bostic in the April 2 primary 53-40. However, in a hypothetical match-up, Sanford is currently losing to the Democrat’s nominee, Elizabeth Colbert-Busch (yes, that Colbert) 47-45, while Bostic ties Colbert 43-43. Meanwhile 58% of the district’s voters have an unfavorable view of Sanford. So, in much the same way that the GOP nominated perhaps the only candidate who could lose to Barack Obama (i.e. Romney), they appear ready to nominate the only candidate who could quite possibly lose a solidly red district in solidly red South Carolina. Why? Because the same base voters (Evangelicals and other Social Conservatives) who are currently fueling Bostic’s campaign will simply stay home on Election Day if Sanford wins, the same factor (if you’ll recall) that cost ol’ Mittens the election. Their options will be between a typical, toe-the-line Democrat and a (possibly insane) scandal-plagued former governor who cheated on his wife. So, they’ll just opt to sit this one out. And you can hardly blame them.

I think what’s really amusing about this whole situation is that the Democrats don’t really have to do anything to win elections anymore. They just have to wait for the Republicans to nominate the least inspiring candidates they can find, and otherwise unwinnable elections for the Democrats suddenly become wide-open. There are a lot of Republicans in South Carolina. Is Mark Sanford really the best person the party can put forward? Forget all this minority outreach baloney. The party needs its base to turnout in order to win elections. And the longer the GOP thumbs its nose at the base by nominating buffons like Mark Sanford for Congress, the faster it will slide into irrelevance.