Hillary Clinton and the Confederate Flag

• June 24, 2015 12:01 pm


Supporters of the Confederacy and its iconic battle flag are suffering one of their worst weeks in well over a century. That’s a good thing, especially in light of the awful racist shooting in Charleston.

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and other top Republicans are doing the right thing by calling for the flag's removal from state grounds. Predictably, this isn’t good enough for some liberals:

[Haley’s] decision to aggressively seek [the flag’s] removal is the right one, but it’s been the right one all along, and it shouldn’t have taken a racist massacre at a black church by a local neoconfederate to awaken her to that conclusion."

Well, sure. But most liberals presumably don't think Hillary Clinton deserves any grief for failing to speak out against Confederate flag merchandise at Walmart during her tenure on the company's board (1986-1992). On the contrary, Clinton is being celebrated for seizing the "leadership opportunity" presented by a gruesome mass murder. Why did she wait until now to lead?

Clinton's decision to aggressively commend Wal-Mart for removing Confederate flag products from its shelves is the right one, obviously, but getting rid of those products has been the right one all along, and it shouldn't have taken a racist massacre at a black church [in an early primary state] to awaken her to that conclusion. Walmart is also major donor to the Clinton Foundation, and yet she remained silent. Although, to be fair, selling Confederate flag merchandise is relatively tame compared to the depraved acts of other donors such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Clinton is not only being praised for having "forcefully initiated a conversation about race." She is also beloved in the media for her courageous support of gay rights. Her campaign released a video Wednesday hailing the "hard-fought, hard-won progress" of gay-marriage advocates, whose side Hillary officially joined just two years ago, having previously opposed gay marriage when she ran for president in 2008, and standing idly by as her husband signed the Defense of Marriage Act and "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" into law.

But most liberals don't think Hillary (or Obama, for that matter) deserves any grief for being a late convert to a position that has been "the right one all along." Because lying about your position is fine if you do it for a good reason, like being a Democrat and advancing your political career. Bill Clinton's record on gay rights is forgiven because he changed his mind—once it was politically convenient to do so. Hillary supported the Iraq War, something many liberals consider to be one of the worst foreign policy disasters in American history, but insisted—as soon as it was politically convenient—that she made a little "oopsie," so that's just water under the bridge.

It all seems a bit strange, until you remember that Republicans have racist hearts and zomg Koch brothers.