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. Joseph Back

    It would be nice to know what type of crowds he was addressing: black, white, or mixed. Any which way it is the voters of South Carolina who should decide what THEIR flag represents. The point which he makes is a true one.

    January 17, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  2. Jason NYC

    His hypocrisy is amazing. He is completely out of touch with 2008 America. That cowboy "stick a pole" sort of talk only appeals to the lowest of the low brow citizens.

    Please tell me what part of "southern culture" this flag represents that we need to honor by flying the flag. As far as I'm concerned, that flag represents the souths secession and subsequent loss in a war over slavery.

    Are southerners proud of their legacy? Proud of battling over the right to own other human beings? Where does southern pride come from? Is pride all that was left for them after the Civil War?

    Huckabee wants to keep outsiders from taking down objects in the public view, but is in full support of worrying about what individuals do in their private lives.

    January 17, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  3. Jeff

    How is it that an offical government building is allowed to flag a flag of treason?

    I mean serously? What othe rcountry allows a region to flag a flag that was flown by a failed rebel movement to leave the country?

    I'm from the South, Arkanasas in fact (which has a state flag that is composed of the Confederate themes) and I agree that we can't force people not to sport the flag, but having a state capital fly the flag is like a ship's captian that let's the crew fly a mutiny flag, I makes no sense. The flag is a flag of opposition to the union, no two ways about it.

    January 17, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  4. West Palm Beach

    For all wondering about the pole comment, have you ever been to Arkansas? He's right, most people who live in Arkansas would say that – so would you (you already have, in a manner of speaking, by reading these comments. same thing). Watch your stones before you start casting them. And for those questioning his interpretation of the Scriptures, please read them before you comment on them. Scripture is absolute, not based on any organization's creed, his opinion, mine, or yours. If you don't know what the words say, then don't talk about them. That would help.

    January 17, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  5. Frank Chase Jr,

    The man sounds like he's form another century. Send him back the future of George Wallace, he'd be a shoe in for President of the United States of Southern of America. He represents one part of America. He's already disqualified in my book to be president.

    January 17, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  6. Amy

    Well, everybody makes mistakes, and I hope this comment was a mistake. He might have had my vote. I am a Southerner, and a Baptist, but not a 'Southern Baptist', and I very much dislike the confederate flag.

    But more than the flag, I dislike the idea that making a crude remark, out of the mouth of a minister, was a good way to laugh people into a vote. I am sure he must be sorry he said this, if he truly knows Jesus.

    I will keep watching to see if this was a mistake on his or a writers part, or if this is the revelation of an attitude in him I hope isnt there. I am rooting for mistake, which I can forgive!

    January 17, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |

    The good WHITE SOUTHERN BAPTIST SUPREMACIST speaks out yet again from his White Televangelist "Bully Pulpit"...Hickabee....more like HucKKKabee...:( ...wants to run the Mormons out of the South, and then the Jews/Black Baptists/Catholics/Episcopals too? Gen'l Lee's back in da saddle folks!!!! DA SOUTH'L RISE AG'IN he cries!!!! YEEE HAAWW!!!

    GO ROMNEY/THOMPSON (Repubs) and OBAMA in (Dems) in 2008!!! WOOO HOO!!! Get rid of these racist/bigots for once and for all.

    January 17, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  8. Nikki

    If this man becomes our president, its going to take me years to stop vomiting. He is a smug, self-righteous idiot who hides his ignorance about the issues behind lame attempts at humor. I am going to be disappointed if Americans buy into what he's selling.

    January 17, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  9. Amy

    Just another example of how every remark a Christian makes can reflect so poorly on Christ and His followers. It really dissapoints me he would say something like this, and it extremely dissapoints me he supports that flag.

    January 17, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  10. Gobama

    "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." lol

    Fair enough, Makabee reb.

    Now, what should the women of America do when you christian hypocrites want to tell them what to do with SOMETHING EVEN MORE PERSONAL - their private parts?

    And what should the Iraqis do when Americans entered their country UNPROVOKED and seek to dictate their lives. Makes sense that the 'insurgents' would want to shove their 'poles' where the sun doesn't shine, right? lol

    January 17, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  11. David, Oregon City

    I am sorry so many of you never understood what that little war between the state was all about. Missed it in school, did you? Now state rights is no more than a footnote. No state's rights is just what you Dems. are waiting for!

    January 17, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  12. constant

    And what religious verse refers to "what to do with a pole?" Just another religious hypocrite.
    Tell the "little woman" what to do with her body.
    Tell a Gay person you are not capable of loving another person, and we will amend the constitution against you....you sinner!!
    But don't tell him what to do with his "historic bigotted flag"!
    What Bible is any of this in, cuz it's not in mine!! Mine says...thou shalt not judge! Anyone????

    January 17, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  13. Bud

    Now the sincere Huckster is back to a state's rights message even though he was for a federal smoking ban as recently as last year. When are people going to start calling him a flip flopper. Look also at his support of ending the trade embargo with Cuba until he realized that wouldn't sell in Florida.

    January 17, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  14. Samantha

    Tisk, tisk, tisk! Shame on you Hickabee! You're an idiot along with all the people who have and will place their future vote with you.

    January 17, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  15. Bob, Seattle

    It is totally a state of So. Carolina issue. Period. And that is all Huck is saying. The Feds don't need to stick their nose in EVERYTHING. If they do then why even HAVE state government? State government is for the PEOPLE OF THAT STATE and should reflect their views.

    January 17, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  16. Bukky, Balt MD

    The flag represents Two things and Two things only.... TREASON and a deeply ingrained HATE.

    January 17, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  17. jim

    The Confederate Flag is a symbol of Southern Heritage.

    Southern Americans have their own traditions, positive traditions.

    Some people need to stop trying to bulldoze the South.

    January 17, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  18. Bob, Portland OR

    Huckabee, the more you talk, the less I like you. We've already had to put up with eight years of Sunday School. Let people believe what they want, but how dare you try to legislate your beliefs. You don't see me talking about changing the Constitution to better honor Thor and Loki, Mohammed, Shiva, Buddha... and why is that? Because I respect people's rights to believe what they want as long as they don't try to force other people to do the same. Any Presidential candidate that doesn't feel the same way has no business being anywhere NEAR that office.

    January 17, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  19. Lynn

    LOL! The guy has gone totally off his rocker. I used to think he was a charming nut. Now, with all the talk of frying squirrels, changing the Constitution to "God's standards," and this pandering about the Confederate flag, I'm starting to think he's quite crazy. I can't help but wonder what he wants to get out of all this. It's clear he's no longer viably running for President. Maybe he truly does want to garner as much attention as possible so he can retire on the fees he'll get for his speaking engagements once the campaign is over.

    Xavier, your comment made my day. What, indeed, would Jesus do? I don't believe he would advocate shoving a pole up someone's ____. I doubt that's what he meant when he said something about turning the other, um, cheek . . .

    January 17, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  20. Bob

    To Ray: If I take Mr. Huckabee's meaning correctly, you can marry the pole.

    January 17, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  21. Ken, Suitland MD

    Hey Huckleberry, and all you other unreconstructed Rebels out there. Fine, put up your confederate flag, but put up the swastika, the Iraqi flag, the Republican flag and all the flags from present and past loosers. You bubbas are hypocrits who worry about African, Italian, Chinese, etc. Americans setting themselves apart because of their heritage, but atthe same time like to defend your throwing the confederate flag up as a sign of your divisive "heritage".

    Now we'll see how many of the other repubot candidates pile on the issue to see how far up the pole they can raise the confed. flag. Right now they are falling all over each other to see who most supports 'dubya'. How far do think that dog will hunt in the general election?! What a bunch of bubba-pandering morons.

    January 17, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  22. JJ

    Huckabee is sure loyal to a flag that this nation went to war with. The red, white and blue is the flag of our country. That's like flying the Nazi flag in Isreali .
    The Republicans claim to be so Patriotic. I wonder is it to the stars and bars or
    Old Glory?

    January 17, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  23. Marilyn

    The confederate flag symbolizes a very dark time in the history of this country when soldiers took up arms against their fellow country men. The only flag to fly over any state capital in this country is the stars and stripes!

    January 17, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  24. Tom J

    There are actually two issues here which have been conflated.

    Should the Confederate fly OVER the dome of a state capitol?
    Correct answer: No. A flag flying over a state's executive, legislative or judicial buildings implies the government symbolized by that flag is in charge. Therefore, that IS a federal issue to a certain extent. The U.S. and (current) state flags are the only appropriate flags to fly in this position and manner.

    Should the Confederate flag fly elsewhere?
    Correct answer: That's up to each state. If the citizens of that state want a Confederate flag elsewhere on state government grounds, or in history museums, that should be of no overriding interest to the federal government.

    Do you see the difference?

    January 17, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  25. satan

    "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."
    – isn't he a Christian? wow, real christians do not behave that way.

    January 17, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
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