Nikki Haley Leaves the Door Open for Democrats’ War on History

Nikki Haley Confederate flag (Joe Raedle / Getty)
Joe Raedle / Getty

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley delivered a moving address on Monday, explaining her decision to seek the removal of the Confederate flag from the state Capitol grounds by the legislature in response to the murder of nine black parishioners at a church in Charleston last week.

She gave voice to the desire of South Carolinians to show their unity in the face of hatred—to defy the perverse fantasy of a “race war” that the murderer had wished to ignite.

The tableau of elected officials behind her was impressive—black and white, Republican and Democrat, united to send a message that there would be no political cost for breaking with the state’s traditional embrace of the Confederate battle standard.

She defended the flag, saying that it was not inherently racist. Yet she also explained that the time had come to remove the flag because it had become a symbol of hatred for some, and a cause for division in general.

There was one particularly puzzling passage, however:

“We respect freedom of expression and for those who wish to show respect for the flag on their private property no one will stand in your way. But the State House is different, and the events of this past week call upon us to look at this in a different way.”

What Gov. Haley did not clarify is whether the flag would be banned from all public property in the state.

Perhaps she left that vague in deference to local governments. Regardless, Haley left a door ajar that the left intends to prop wide open, from now until Election Day and beyond.

Emboldened by South Carolina’s quick shift—on an issue that was tangential to the horrific atrocity in Charleston—the left is eager to mount a continued campaign against the Confederacy and its symbols.

Already, MSNBC has listed several Southern state flags as targets for retaining Confederate references.

There are thousands of monuments, street names, institutions and so forth recognizing the Confederacy and its distinguished military history. These will soon become targets; their very existence will be treated as an affront, a cause for new grievance.

Such is the common pattern of left-wing parties when they run out of ideas for the future: they wage war against the past.

And Hillary Clinton, who embraced the South when she was First Lady of Arkansas, sees a useful way to obscure her—and her party’s—history.