Digby on Dean
Digby at Hullabaloo gives his take on the issue, which is similar to mine, but a bit more irate:
I’m more pragmatic than I’ve ever been about presidential politics, and I know that he wasn’t actually endorsing the confederate flag, but antipathy to this symbol is embedded in the DNA of African Americans since the civil war (and liberals everywhere at least since the civil rights movement) so I can’t quite figure out why he would think it was ok to use it. Appealing to racist sympathy, which is what the confederate flag symbol is really all about, cannot coexist with the Democratic party of 2004. It’s not the same as supporting the NRA or being for free trade or once voting Republican. The issue of civil rights is the moral center of our party. It’s not negotiable.
Sure, we must try to boost our appeal in the South, but we must be very, very careful never to do it that way. It’s not only wrong, it wouldn’t work anyway. For every yahoo who wudda, cudda, shudda voted Democratic if we accept the symbol of their (racist) “heritage,” there will be 5 southern African Americans who will just stay home[emphasis mine].
There’s a lot more, read the whole thing (Digby also got a lot of action in the comments, on both sides of the issue but on balance tilting critical of Dean).
Digby also points to this CNN story containing Dean’s clarification:
“I want people with Confederate flags on their trucks to put down those flags and vote Democratic.”
Let’s hope that that’s the end of it. Dean essentially repudiated the appeal to the Confederate flag and should now return to appealing to both minorities and rural whites — and everyone else — on policy issues: progressive taxes, education, health care, and jobs. Coming soon: evidence that race still matters in American life.