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. Lou

    SUSAN-IS THAT YOUR moral values or Huckawanabee?

    Whatever happened to live and let live?

    why don't you move to IRAN or somewhere similar along with HUCKEE boy were they might have the "moral values" you are so craving for....

    for GOD sakes read a little bit of history on how your “Christianity” oppressed so many people, so many lives for so many years…

    Keep your religion and “morals” to yourself and stop please stop telling me how to live MY life. A majority of Americans feel the same way. I believe in GOD and I pray everyday to keep people like MIKE away from our way of life and what makes USA a great country. HUCKAWANABEE IS A NUT CASE PERIOD!!!

    January 17, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  2. Roun

    The pole comment was hardly necessary.

    I'd like to see the entirety of his views. As a southerner by birth and culture, I've been torn regarding this symbol. Many progressive, southern whites grew up attached to it without attaching themselves to hatred or bigotry. When I got old enough to truly balance my cultural ties against societal values, I though a lot about the flag.

    The problem here is that Huckabee (who I still like) is using it as a wedge issue. I don't doubt that Huckabee cares about african-americans. His education reforms in Arkansas did more for blacks than the Clintons ever did during their stay in Little Rock. His has, however, made a calculated decision to win over the people for whom the confederate flag is an issue of great importance. The majority of those people, I predict, are not...progressive on civil rights issues.

    That being said, the State of South Carolina's CURRENT use of the battle flag is, I think, appropriate. Almost a hundred years ago, the state constructed a Civil War Memorial on the State Capitol Grounds. The flag has rightfully been removed from the top of the capitol building and flies over the memorial. There it is, truly, a historical (and not a political) symbol. As a political symbol, it is not conducive to national unity. As a historical symbol, it has public importance.

    January 17, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  3. Ken, Suitland MD

    All you republicans who continue to vote for your favorite right-wing idiot, like Mr. I'm-your-Huckleberry, will be wearing poles just as Huckleberry envisions, after the general election. The name Edwards, or Obama, or Clinton will be on it, and I'll shove it a little deeper for you, for all the grief this country has had to put up with for the last 7 years due to the ignorance and stupidity you showed in your last two presidential votes.

    Love and Peace.

    January 17, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  4. Howard, NY

    Way to go Huck! Keep fighting battles that ended 140 years ago!

    January 17, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  5. sharon walker

    Dear Friends:
    Hope the earth quake does not happen as Roosevelt, Washington, Hamilton, Jefferson, Reagan, Kennedy,
    Lincoln are turning over in their graves. Huckabee
    seperation of religion and government a fine line.
    creationism and evolution are they to be taught together apply these to stem cell reseach happenings in the news.

    Stem cell two males well well well water clean, Go forth and do not procreat for the future of man is in a chosen society? Males two maybe body parts or drones!
    Who's ancester are you from man, the ape, the frog, the fish, duck the internet is flying and throwing things and it may hit you? Out or hanging over the bridge a cliff hanger!!! Ram Romney in the knee for he hurt me!!!!! Bam Bam Obama for the message and injuries your group left me on the window of my automobile.
    Run Run Run See Dick Run!!!!!!
    Foreign nationals are more than we and they are trying to run the show endorsement for the invasian of illegal criminal artists cons, organized crime.
    It's in the photo Romney nanotech you use throughout the world and your people sinister to infiltrate the government. Not in the USA!!!!1
    Mortgage loss and down turn Bill is increasing and due to the jobs being lost.
    Unemployement is rising and trust and heretage disappearing.
    Stem the part of the whole plant those seeds for Liberty and freedom of religion and speech. MSN does not print items of conroversy they do not believe in freedom of speech, run by the Latinos that are here illegally in your head or bed they are the invaders of this time. Science is changing and we will and are paying

    Who you put in the presidency impacts all of these and impacts who is put in the Supreme Court. What is the cost of the illegals today and what is it meaning to your children and children, seeding out the caucasians of America who are becoming a mionority.

    January 17, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  6. LR in TX

    Pardon me for saying so, but I think there is a HUGE difference between a flag, and unborn child, and marriage. A HUGE difference. A flag means different things to different people. I'm from the South and my state was under the Confederate flag for some time. I don't connect it with slavery, but with Southern Pride. What I don't like to see is the Mexican flag flying higher than the Stars and Stripes. Now THAT really ticks me off!

    January 17, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  7. Ben Hampton

    The Rebel flag is like all the other flags that have flown over this country from its inception back to the Spanish in the 1500's.

    Each flag has it's place in history. I presume you are talking about the batle flag, the one with the cross of St stephen and 13 stars, not the Stars and Bars, which is the Confederate flag. I agree, these flags should not be flown from official bulidings, but, they all do deserve to be honored and respected. The men/women who fought and gave their lives under these banners need to be remembered.

    Yes, the war is over, but heritage not hate should be the by word of all. I agree with Mike H, the government does not have the right to say what can or cannot be displayed as long as it done with honor and respect. I am Southerner by birth and very proud of my Confederate ancestry, but I am also an American and I respect everyone's right to their opinion.

    January 17, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  8. E J Gallagher

    Should his theme be the old Bircher book called None Dare Call it Treason or in his case when this and other remarks are considered that none dare call it reason.

    January 17, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  9. LR in TX

    "... we'd tell them what to do with the pole. " What did he say that was soooooo offensive? You've probably said the same thing a million times about other things – but in a more graphic manner.

    You people wouldn't recognize a joke if it bit you on the tush. (You probably find that offensive, too.)

    January 17, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  10. Robert

    +1 point for taking a state's rights position
    +1 point for decrying obligatory political correctness
    -2 points for failure to choose his battle... the Confederate flag is a polarizing topic, not one to rally around universally.

    This is unfortunately the common blind spot of all candidates running as Christians... they tend to get stuck in a very small box of fundamentalist notions about abortion and sex instead of big universal ideas which are almost forgotten in Christian thinking.

    Then they paint a target on themselves with a flat-out contradiction like this. You can't tell someone to shove a flagpole someplace and then talk about upstanding Christian conduct and loving your enemy etc.

    In some manner it's important to give states these decisions and draw the line concerning this dictatorial political correctness thing. Do it some other way.

    January 17, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  11. Denise, Nebraska

    I am totally, utterly, and completely disgusted by this man...who just a few minutes ago was the front runner for my vote. I am an independent, and I am a Christian woman who loves my church, my state, my country, and ALL my fellow Americans. Accepting diversity and working out differences is the key to uniting; it is the true lesson in all Christianity. Yet this man, who proclaims the word of our Lord, celebrates a symbol of division. The confederate flag was created during one of the bloodiest times in our nations history. At this time, we must bring back together the people of this nation, under one god, under one flag. Even the athiest agree unity of all Americans will again build a healthy nation. Mike Huckabee, you have shamed and insulted me. You have shamed and insulted the red, white, and blue men and women who fight TOGETHER overseas to protect America. I ASK YOU NOW, PLEASE, DO NOT COME TO MY STATE. IF I SEE YOU, I WILL TURN MY BACK AND SAY A PRAYER FOR YOUR MISGUIDED SENSE OF LOYALTY.

    January 17, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  12. An American

    Mk said, "I find so very interesting that Mike Hucabee doesn't want anyone telling HIS state what to do .
    He is certainly not having any problem telling women what to do when it comes to the right to choose. Another hypocrit from the depths."

    Right to choose what, Mk? What kind of dessert you'll have tonight? Or whether or not to kill your baby? If the former, he's not. If the latter, he's absolutely right.

    How can you whine about someone telling you what to do with "your body" (it's not really yours we're speaking of) when you support the "rights" of mothers and doctors to totally destroy someone else's body (an unborn baby's) without their consent?

    Hypocrite is a most appropriate word for your position.

    January 17, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  13. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Make Huckabee president of The Pole in South Carolina and be done with it since this is such an issue to him. I personally don't care what flag they fly because I know old habits don't die.

    January 17, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  14. whatsitToyou

    Game Over for the Huckster, I am sure that comment will not go over well!

    January 17, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  15. G-Love

    Huckabee is a joke. In fact, all he does is make stupid jokes. These are SERIOUS times and call for a President with REAL solutions to SERIOUS problems not another pandering hypocrit politician who tries to invoke Jesus name to win votes. Not even God forces us to live by his commandments so where does he get off thinking he should regulate people's behaviour. What a pompous jerk.

    January 17, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  16. Juan Ebonics

    Bye Bye Huck, we are voting for Mitt here in S.C.

    Go Mitt!!!!

    January 17, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  17. Jr., California

    "we'd tell them what to do with that pole", "you can't stub your toe standin' still", this man is a riot! I'd love to have a beer with him.

    GAME OVER!!!

    January 17, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  18. David

    That's fine. Then don't tell us who we can marry, or what a woman can do with her body.

    January 17, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  19. Jan

    So, Mike, I guess we outsiders (non-Germans) should keep quiet about the swastika too, eh? And northerners shouldn't get upset about the white hoods?

    January 17, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  20. Rob

    WAY TO GO Repuglicons!!! Playing the Confederate Flag issue is tantamount to playing the race card. Although white male leaders have succeeded by doing that for YEARS. Huck does it right before MLK Day. Priceless! Huckabee was my favorite GOP candidate. >>>But as a Christian that panders to a flag that was a banner representing the enslavement and degradation of blacks, he gets NO love. Playing the "Redneck Rebel" role is pathetic. And the "tell them wear to stick the pole" line is worse, coming from a minister. That's what Bush would do. But what would Jesus do? The press will have a great time with this. Here we go...........

    January 17, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  21. Pete

    Huckleberry is such an idiot. I can't imagine this country with him as a leader. Plus, he wants to change the constitution to reflect his beliefs in the bible.

    January 17, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  22. PJ Miami

    You got it all wrong – That was Gov. HICKabee with the flagpole! Praise the Lord and bring me another beer, woman!

    January 17, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  23. Larry Craig, ID

    "— you want to come tell us what to do with the flag, we'd tell them what to do with the pole."

    Actually, I might have a few suggestions there!

    January 17, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  24. Cali Girl

    I was raised a Southern Baptist, in the heart of the bible belt... Atlanta, Georgia. I was always taught to be 'christian' was to be 'republican'... now that I have moved away from the south and can finally think for myself... I have these questions to ask to those who support a man like Huckabee... and to Huckabee himself.

    1) please tell me why I can't have the same rights as a married couple? why I can't love who I love. Please tell me why your opinion is more valued that mine. please tell me why I am afraid to loose my job over who I love. ... your stance on these issues tells me you support bigotry and racism.

    2) please tell me why christians blindly support candidates because they hear them say the words 'God', or 'jesus' or refer to some biblical nonsense for political gain?

    3) please explain to me why you can fly a confederate flag that is a constant reminder to people of the racism and bigotry you support? WHY?



    CLINTON 2008.

    January 17, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  25. Bernie Moore-Knowles

    Huckabee? Goodness! You can't be serious? Do you know what the Confederate flag represents? Many, many, many of my Southern ancestors died in the Civil War. Poor, dirt farmers that could ill afford a replacement for themselves during that conflict. Am I proud of their service? Not particularly – for goodness sakes? They were fighting for states rights and that right included the right to continue with human bondage. But, we do not choose our ancestors and they felt strongly enough or were poor enough to have found themselves in a dying societal community in the South and they paid for it with their lives. Mr. Huckabee? You need to not go there. Seriously. After reading the above posts? I have to agree with many of them. You want the government to intervene on a state's rights when it is agrees with your anti abortion, anti gay marriage, etc – but, not in the name of abolishing the last remanents of slavery representation? Shame on you! Shame on you...........

    Bernie Moore-Knowles
    Papa'aloa, Hawai'i

    January 17, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
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