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. Aaron, Columbus, Ohio

    Say what you will about slavery, etc. The flag of the Confederacy was and remains a symbol of treason, pure and simple.

    January 17, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  2. FV, Tampa, FL

    "If you're a white trash moron racist, clap your hands...."
    "If you're a white trash moron racist clap your hands..."
    If you're dumb as redneck spit and a bigot hypocrite....
    and your bass playing sounds like Sxxt, clap your hands"

    Come on everybody.... Sing along!

    January 17, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  3. Tom, Bellevue, Wa

    So..Huckabee, an outsider to Carolina, is telling the governor, who's born and governs Carolina, that outsiders shouldn't have anything to do with the State Flag.

    What?!??! Huck Finn ain't makin' sense. Can't wait til he's president and makes even less sense.

    January 17, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  4. Rodney

    I thought Gov. Huckabee was supposed to be a nice guy. This is some mean rhetoric here. Huck was my second choice after Obama, but I don't know after this. The flag should represent every memeber of the state. I am sure 50% of the SC voting public (Black South Carolinians) see that flag as a representation of oppression and treason.

    January 17, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  5. John G, New York, NY

    To Robert –

    First, thanks for the spelling lesson...it was kinda bugging me too that people weren't spelling "hypocrite" correctly.

    On the other hand, what is more disturbing is that you would attempt to sidestep South Carolina's legacy of slavery (and subsequent racism today) by claiming that the Civil War was about multiple issues. In fact, the Civil War was fought (and won, mind you) to ensure the following:

    1) That no state (even precious South Carolina) has the authority to nullify the will of the nation or the words of the Constitution just because they don't happen to agree with them.
    2) That civil liberties of individuals apply everywhere, not just where individual states have chosen to acknowledge them,
    3) That every generation will know that the bloodiest war in our history was fought and won to preserve the U.S.

    So, regardless of how much you might hate gay people or defend symbols of racism – never forget that the Civil War was fought , first and foremost, to preserve the country you call home.

    January 17, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  6. Courtney S.

    He must feel the same way about Slavery...I mean how dare the Yankee's want the slaves to be free?

    This man is a NUT JOB! He wants to change the constitution to make it match GOD's Word....

    I hope he is the nominee, that would ensure the Dem's to WIN!

    Go Huckabee....you freakin nut!

    January 17, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  7. Howard, NY

    Robert – "If you think that homosexuality is natural, I challenge you to conceive a child."

    Way to bring logic into the discussion! So the only thing that defines an activity or urge as "natural" is the ability to conceive a child? I guess it wouldn't be "natural" for me to eat dinner tonight, cause I don't think it will result in a pregnancy.

    January 17, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  8. steve

    Where else can you lose a war and still fly your battlel flag?

    January 17, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  9. Ken

    Absolute political gold. What to do with the pole!!!!!!!

    January 17, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  10. LR in TX

    Some here think that Huckabee's comment was crude (I don't agree), but the comments listed on this board are beyond the pale.

    I continue to be amazed by those concerned about a flag that represents a part of the South's history have no qualms about the murder of unborn children or pairing up men to men and women to women in a marriage contract. No wonder this country is going down the sewer.

    January 17, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  11. Heather

    I'm from PA, and I've been in NC for fours years. I married a southern boy. I tried taking up the confederate flag debate in the past with him and his family. You can't argue the point. It's pointless to try. They mean no ill-will to anyone, but it's an argument of passion, not an intellectual one. Mike is right. If that flag means that much to that many people, how can a "yankee" like me or anyone else strip it from their communities? Should we really engage in such a battle? Let them keep it. And after living here for a while, I have come to understand some of its importance in regard to heritage, but I can't ever understand it from a southerner's perspective. That's seems to be what Mike is saying, but he was more passionate about it as a southerner himself.

    January 17, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  12. Siobhan

    Is he insane? Is this even close to being an important issue to the vast majority of people in South Carolina?

    The level of pandering this man does is mindnumbing.

    January 17, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  13. Mike

    There is NO difference between the Confederate Flag and the Flag Hitler flew...They are both DEFEATED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    It is things like these that will start the new Civil War in America We Americans are being divided more and more.
    America the Great Dictator......How SAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 17, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  14. Busick

    It was just a comment saying a state should deal with it's own issues and let outside people deal with there issue.

    Huckabee 08

    January 17, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  15. Max Power, Hollywood, CA

    I love the idiocy of people who want to fly a symbol of slavery and treason...the same sort who demand allegiance to Bush and preach nationalism and family values, yet support people from Larry Craig to Mark Foley to Rudy 9ui11iani.

    Lincoln should've let the South go. Without their Southern evangelical base, the bloc vote that Pat Robertson delivers, Bush would've been crushed by both Gore and Kerry.

    That's the real shame. That there are so many good Democrats and Republicans, but 20% of the population is so functionally moronic it distorts the balance of power.

    January 17, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  16. Stephen

    Mk,

    Governor Huckabee isn't telling women what to do–GOD is telling women what to do! The Bible says thou shalt not kill, so that's something that we have to all be held accountable to. Mike Huckabee is just doing his part as a good Christian to try and follow God's commandments.

    January 17, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  17. Don't vote for hate

    Wow. Haven't seen anyone so openly begging for the Klan vote in a long time.

    January 17, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  18. Nate

    It's not about the flag, it's about states rights. An overriding theory of the republican party is that the federal government should leave all decisions possible to a government closer to the people. Note, not all decisions or controls are left at the state level, however. The entire argument that letting a state decide about the use of a flag equates to allowing a state to decide if it will allow slavery is asinine. To make such an accusation is either foolish or stretching to attack someone and make yourself feel better about your unwarranted hate. The theory that our nation is built upon is that the federal government establishes the rights of the citizens of this country. States may then give their citizens more rights then is prescribed by the federal government, but they may never give their citizens less rights than has been declared by the national government. Have any of you ever taken a civics class for Pete's sake? Since the federal government issues the right that all people are free and equal that of course is not a state decision. Since the flag has nothing to do with a citizens rights nor anything else the federal government should have purview over, the federal government has no business in it (and I'm from the North). The reason Mike Huckabee even talked about it in his speeches is because he and his SC staffers were constantly being asked what his stance on the issue was. A politician who addresses the issues that people are asking questions about, imagine that.

    Oh and it isn't about a woman's right to choose it's about a child's right to live. Since we are talking about rights, that is something that needs to happen at the national level.

    January 17, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  19. PLM

    Robert--Yes, while it is true that the Civil War wasn't just about slavery, the Confederate States *did* fight to defend their right to keep other human beings enslaved and subjugated. That is what the Confederate flag represents to many people, even if that's not the only thing the Confederates fought for.

    In a nation of mixed races and ethnicities, where people have the freedom to choose and succeed regardless of color, creed, religion, or ethnicity, is it entirely inappropriate for the Confederate flag to be displaced on public/government property. I would hope that the next President of our nation would feel that way too.
    There is a difference between freedom to make your own choices and live your own lives (i.e. abortions, gay marriage, fill in the blank here) and displaying a symbol that is extremely offensive to a large portion of the nation and runs against what it is supposed to mean to be American. Sometimes "freedoms" are really just injustices.

    January 17, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  20. rick

    First, Mike stated that he didn't "believe" in evolution. (as if it is a matter of belief or not), now he is bringing up the confederate flag and changing the constitution. I am a republican , a true one who believes in less government, lower taxes and that the gov't shouldn't tell us how to live our lives (ie. right to own guns and right to choose an abortion, right to the fruits of your labor(low taxes))...live and let live. For him to suggest to change the constitution is disgusting.....The creators of it run circles around Huckabee. This man is not educationally fit to be president and he is an absolute disgrace to the Republican party. Don't be tricked into thinking that just because someone is a social conservative that it means they are a republican. If you don't like democrats meddling into your lives and taking your money, don't let someone like Huckabee just because he shares your social conservatism....THAT IS JUST NOT WHAT BEING A REPUBLICAN IS ALL ABOUT.

    January 17, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  21. Kevin

    Oh yeah and the federal government coming into california and telling medical marijuana users they can't smoke...thats ok though?

    January 17, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  22. Matt - Florida

    Oh man, that is hilarious. How savvy! How sophisticated! Think of how quickly such tactics could resolve conflict in the Middle East and Africa! Flagpoles all around! Wait, I bet Chuck Norris would be doing some of the flag-polling, that would be superbad! Flagpole numchux!

    Hey Huckabee, it's the UNITED states of America.

    Ahh, too bad this imbecile won't be around for entertainment for too much longer. It has been fun though!

    January 17, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  23. Really?

    "we'd tell them what to do with the pole..."

    Good job Huckleberry, now my kid is asking me what that means. So much for your family values. Real professional!

    January 17, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  24. James

    Please! Please let this nut get the republican nod..
    If he does and gets his butt handed to him
    I may start believing in this god superstition.
    Go Hucklebuck
    For a brighter past!

    January 17, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  25. Dave S.

    WOW, seems like you have an obsession with telling people where to (and where NOT to, or where they can or cannot) put their pole. I think you really want to be the next "Decider"

    January 17, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
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