January 17th, 2008
06:15 PM ET
14 years ago

Huckabee: Outsiders not welcome in Confederate flag decisions

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/01/17/art.huckabee0117.ap.jpg caption="Huckabee told South Carolina voters they were the only ones who should make decisions on the flag."]
MYRTLE BEACH, South Carolina (CNN) - Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee told South Carolina voters Thursday that the government had no business making decisions over the Confederate flag.

"You don't like people from outside the state coming in and telling you what to do with your flag," Huckabee said at a Myrtle Beach campaign event. "In fact, if somebody came to Arkansas and told us what to do with our flag, we'd tell them what to do with the pole, that's what we'd do."

Later, in Florence, he repeated the remarks. "I know what would happen if somebody comes to my state in Arkansas and tells us what to do, it doesn't matter what it is, tell us how to run our schools, tell us how to raise our kids, tell us what to do with our flag - you want to come tell us what to do with the flag, we'd tell them what to do with the pole."

The Confederate flag has long been the third rail of South Carolina presidential politics - offensive to some, a symbol of Southern heritage to others. The flag is currently displayed on state capitol grounds.

Huckabee is currently barnstorming South Carolina with former Gov. David Beasley, who has called for the flag’s removal.

–CNN Senior Producer Eric Fiegel

Filed under: Mike Huckabee • South Carolina
soundoff (374 Responses)
  1. Bob

    Hey Ron Paul Supporter, what the heck does this have to do with religion? It is a state decision that needs to be decided by the people of the state. The flag symbolizes many different things, but always remember that 258,000 American soldiers died on the battlefield under that flag. Many of the 750,000 to 1.2 million confederate soldiers' families are US citizens; the flage does not just have negative ties to it. Remember, the Confederate States of America did not secede from the Union because of slavery, the seceded because they felt that they were not getting fair representation or support from the federal government as compared to the northern states. Lets just all get along and vote for Huckabee in 08!!

    January 17, 2008 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  2. Pete

    What's the biblical quote, a pole for a pole, or was it an eye for an eye?

    January 17, 2008 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  3. KP

    It is amazing how ignorant most people are of history. Slavery was wrong. There is no debate about this. However, the war of northern aggression was not primarily about slavery. In South Carolina, the most ardent Confederate state, only 4% of Confederate forces actually owned slaves. Many Southerners hold dear to the Confederate flags because we know if the South had available the same amount of financial resources as the north, the stars and bars would be flying over all your heads today. Slavery still would have ended eventually as many southern leaders were already working toward that end. And there would be a central government that was far more respectful of states' rights and far less intrusive into the lives of its citizens. Who isn't for that?

    January 17, 2008 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  4. Corey, Maryland

    I hear that SATAN likes to fly the Confederate flag to. That is, when he takes a break from flying the Nazi flag....

    January 17, 2008 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  5. alan

    No government building anywhere in the Union should ever display the confederate flag. EVER. It is a symbol of rebellion and insurrection against the Union by TRAITORS to the Constitution. Free expression by private citizens, is of course Constitutionally PROTECTED.

    January 17, 2008 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  6. Larry Buchas, New Britain, CT

    Mike Huckabee now has the Confederate flag as his symbol. I'm sure God is proud of him now.

    I've heard of preaching to the flock but this is taking it to a different level.

    January 17, 2008 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  7. Tom J

    I haven't noticed any of the Original 13 states insisting on flying the British flag over their state capitols – even though that was a much bigger part of their history than the Confederacy ever was. Any thoughts on just why that might be? Perhaps you could then connect a few dots....

    January 17, 2008 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  8. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    "his is one example of why the Ron Paul "federalist" approach simply doesn't work. 1) Full faith and credit is essential for us to operate as a nation, 2) Nullification (the right for states to veto federal law that they don't like) was struck down in the 18th century and…well….3) we fought (and won) a Civil War to demonstrate that the union is more important than the individual states."

    Re "Full faith and credit is essential for us to operate as a nation."

    That's not clear. It's a big country encompassing a wide range of cultures, but your extreme interpretation of the clause more or less demands an enforced uniformity that ignores the very real differences in those cultures.

    Re "Nullification (the right for states to veto federal law that they don't like) was struck down in the 18th century."

    An act that utterly repudiated the compromise to which anti-Federalist delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1787 agreed. Yes, the Federal Government agreed with itself in the 18th century to ignore the individual interests of the States, but that in no sense implies that the act was in any sense consonant with the intent of the signatories of the Constitution.

    Re "We fought (and won) a Civil War to demonstrate that the union is more important than the individual states."

    You, John G of New York, NY, may think of the outcome of that war as a "win;" I, a Southerner, think of it as a loss. And, no, it didn't "demonstrate that the union is more important than the individual states," it demonstrated that a bigger country successfully invaded, conquered, and subsequently occupied a smaller one.

    Nothing in the Constitution either states or implies that the individual states were or are committed in perpetuity to association with the United States. The so-called "Civil War"–it was nothing of the sort in any sense of that word–was morally indistinguishable from, for example, Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990 or Germany's invasion and occupation of Poland and France in 1939 and '40.

    January 17, 2008 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  9. Lysander


    Your history on the War Between the States is correct. I don't know what Ron Paul Supporter said, but you should know that Ron Paul defends the right of secession. Not because he is a closet racist or to get votes, but on principle. Huckabee is a big government conservative trying to get votes by trying to wrap himself in the Confederate Flag. Ask him if he supports the right to secede. Then you'll find out where he really stands.

    January 17, 2008 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  10. Anna, State College, PA

    Give. Me. A. Break.

    January 17, 2008 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  11. Mark Monforti

    Wow this is real evil here. He just lost my vote. On a issue that really is only pandering to his audience. The movie Zelig comes to mind.

    Will he turn it a Jew at a Temple like Zelig did?

    January 17, 2008 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  12. Lysander


    As a Christian, Huckabee is a disgrace. However, don't let his shameless pandering diminish a serious issue like secession. Are you aware of the Hartford Convention? Here is a link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hartford_Convention.

    January 17, 2008 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  13. Jen Cedar Falls, IA

    I've been telling you people since Huckabee was in Iowa for so long that this guy is a fraud of a Christian and a joke of a politician. I saw right through him, clear as day.

    Mikes actions and words while here in Iowa were not genuine Christian actions and words at all. He used jokes constantly to fill in the gap of his lack of knowledge about issues. His temper flared often toward Mitt Romney and Mike DID attack Mitt several times with faith-stabbing comments. Mitt never ONCE attacked Mike on anything but his political record. Not once!

    I believe Mike's in over his head, he does NOT have the Intelligence nor the Integrity to be the President of the USA. After these flag/pole comments, I have a hard time believing his faith is authentic either and that's his platform!!!

    Huckabee is the kind of sad Christian that has given themselves a bad reputation throughout recent years with their Megalo-Churches where they think bigger and louder has got to be better. I'm tired of it, it's unfortunate that Jesus has such hypocrites representing Him and His teachings. I personally think He deserves much better.

    Really, if you're a true Christ follower, you would ask yourself What Would Jesus Do? Certainly NOT what Mike Huckabee has been doing the last several months throughout his campaign.

    January 17, 2008 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  14. Jimmy, Des Moines

    How many of you are ok with having Black History month? How about celebrating the latino heritage? This is about people having pride in where they come from more than it is about racism. The Confederate States tried to be independent from the United States because they believed in the states rights to govern their people over a large central government saying what everybody should go (the true reason for the succession from the union). What I'm always amazed by is the hatred this brings out in those who oppose the flying of that flag and the right a state (as part of their state flag) or individual should have to do that. I'm willing to believe these same people that are opposed to the Stars and Bars are not opposed to the numorous Native American tribes flying a flag symbolizing their tribe and I'm sure the majority of these people had no problem with the illegal alient marches flying the Mexican or other central american flag. So why this? And please, do not try to associate this with Nazism.

    January 17, 2008 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  15. Margaret H

    I disagree with comments that Huckabee is hypocritical. He clearly doesn't see this as a moral or ethical issue, so supporting SC's "right" to fly their flag does not go against his Christian value system. You may feel that this IS a moral/ethical issue and so disagree with him, but you can't call him a hypocrite.

    January 17, 2008 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  16. mark

    You commentars need to find God. You will be condemned in the end. If God wants him to be a President then it will happen.

    January 18, 2008 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  17. jake

    Way to go Huck! You got my vote!!!

    January 18, 2008 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  18. MAM

    I guess Mr. Huckabee believes strongly in the 11th commandment...do as I say and not what I do.

    January 18, 2008 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  19. Anonymous, Upstate, NY

    Casey with the money quote:

    """I'm switching to the Democratic party…they may not all agree but they are somewhat united for the better of the country."""

    Welcome aboard Casey. That is the kind of positivity this country clearly needs, not this "tell you where to stick it" baloney. I encourage more Conservatives to rethink their ideology and join the Democrats in November.

    A government Of, By, and FOR the people. Let's not forget it, ever again.

    January 18, 2008 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  20. james

    if huckabee wins south carolina, it will be the greatest thing that could happen to the GOP ! why you say ? well, i will tell you why !!! romney wins in nevada, huckabee wins in S.C.>>>>> romney steals delegates in nevada because no other GOPer is campaigning there!! huckabee, although winning S.C. has absolutely no chance to win FLORIDA ! mccain after spending all of his money in S.C. and losing will absolutely lose all momentum and he will get walloped in Florida..AND, in the process, mccains votes (that he took from rudy), will flip-flop back to rudy and the votes that thompson would have(he will drop out after S.C.) will go to romney !!! wow, whew, thank goodness !!!! from the florida primary on, it will be romney versus rudy !!!! thank the high heavens !!! huckabee has zilch chance on tsunami tuesday to compete with those two guys... at least the REPUBLICRAT (Mccain) will be nixed and the theocracy will be quashed !!! IF, and i say IF rudy wins florida, he wins the nomination !!! because the only person that took voters from rudy was mccain so rudy will get them back !! frankly, if its rudy versus romney, it will at least stop me from convulsing while worrying about a theocracy or a REPUBLICRAT in the white house... is it mcgold-feincain,oops its mccain-feingold or what about the mccainnedy bill, o wait, how about amnesty for 12 million ILlegal immigrants......i must say, if you are an absolute republican, then mcainmesty shouldnt be even in your subliminal, much less your concious...

    January 18, 2008 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  21. openslather

    As a Huckabee supporter, this is slightly troubling. Then again, if he pulls this off, he will have won two of the three contests you NEED to win in order to win the nomination, historically. I like his other stances, though, is the attachment to this candidate, for me, is not about policy. It's about the fact that he knows what it's like to stand in line at Wal-Mart, and he's talking to the guys like me making $35k that like the idea of getting rid of the payroll tax. And even though it's very unlikely the Democrats will ever let him abolish the IRS, at least he could probably get through something just as good: unlimited IRAs. You can't dispute that he improved Arkansas's schools, roads, lowered taxes.

    So this is not enough to make him lose my vote.

    January 18, 2008 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  22. Ben

    Huckabee is a complete turkey, confederate flags have no buisness in the United States. They are a symbol of rascism and intollerance, in fact you could say the same about Huckabee.

    January 18, 2008 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  23. BP, Columbia SC

    I propose a new approach to the national debate on the Confederate flag:

    Let us all, henceforth, agree to never again argue that the flag does/does not represent slavery and racism. Yes, we can still discuss that it represents certain constituency that wanted to preserve the institution of slavery (and thus, we can reasonably argue, was probably inherently racist), but let's dispense with the notion that the flag directly is a symbol of this. I think it should be clear at this point that one side is content to say (and with honest conviction, I believe) that the flag to them does not represent slavery - that it perhaps represents southern heritage, or something else a little more innocuous.

    So, let us instead frame the discussion as one of national allegiance (and its compliment, treason).

    I think we can all agree that the Confederate States of America did indeed choose, of their own collective free will, to secede from and thus enter into war with the United States. At that point they became the enemy of the United States. The Confederate flag was, undeniably, the symbol of the C.S.A.

    Earlier posters have already started pointing this out.

    I think a strong argument can be made that the Confederate flag is, most immediately, the symbol of an enemy of the United States - one who sought first to break up the United States and then to defeat them militarily.

    January 18, 2008 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  24. C Martin

    Wow...as a black christian I am offended that Huckabee would say such a thing and then say vote for me.....he must be trying to get the black vote....lol

    January 18, 2008 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  25. Christian, Tampa FL

    Mike Huckabee would cement a Democratic win in 2008. The Dems could put up a real donkey against him and win big.

    I hope he's the GOP nominee.

    January 18, 2008 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
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