South Carolina House Votes To Remove Confederate Battle Flag From State House Grounds
In a huge but expected victory for the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, the South Carolina House voted late last night to remove the Confederate Battle Flag from the State House grounds in Columbia:
“The Confederate flag flying on South Carolina’s statehouse grounds is set to come down after the House voted 94 to 20 to remove it. The bill, passed early Thursday, now heads to Republican Gov. Nikki Haley’s desk, and she is expected to sign it.
After more than 13 hours of debate — which became increasingly contentious as the night wore on — House Republicans and Democrats agreed not to amend the legislation with a proposal that threatened to make final passage more difficult.
Just before 1:00 a.m., the lawmakers approved the legislation 93 to 27 in a critical second-reading vote. Minutes later, the bill easily cleared the two-thirds threshold needed for it to officially pass the chamber, a hurdle the state Senate cleared earlier this week. …”
The C of CC has documented how three recent public opinion polls have shown that even nationwide attitudes toward the Confederate Battle Flag have remained essentially unchanged from 15 years ago. In fact, a Gallup poll released yesterday shows that self-identified Republicans are slightly more supportive of the Confederate Battle Flag in 2015 than 1992.
At the end of the day, the South Carolina Republican Party showed its true colors as the handmaiden of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, and threw its lot in with the CEOs and corporate interests who opportunistically seized on Dylann Roof’s heinous massacre in Charleston to accomplish a long held policy goal of removing the Confederate Battle Flag. Gov. Nimrata Randhawa Haley’s actions come as no surprise to us given her rise through the Orangeburg County Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors in 1998 to the Lexington Chamber of Commerce in 2003 to become the president of the National Association of Women’s Business Owners in 2004.
During Haley’s reelection campaign last October, the issue of the Confederate Battle Flag came up and she told her Democratic opponent Vincent Sheheen in the gubernatorial debate, “What I can tell you is over the last three and a half years, I spent a lot of my days on the phones with CEOs and recruiting jobs to this state. I can honestly say I have not had one conversation with a single CEO about the Confederate flag.” It was an interesting turn of events in that the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce had endorsed Sheheen for governor in 2010, but threw its support behind Haley’s reelection in 2014.
Last month, the CEOs called Nimrata Randhawa Haley at the governor’s mansion and the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce unanimously told her that the Confederate Battle Flag had to come down, and at that precise moment her position on the issue suddenly flipped 180 degrees to what Vincent Sheheen’s position had been last October.
This morning Gov. Haley released a statement announcing that “it is a new day in South Carolina, a day we can all be proud of …” But just what is this new day? It’s a new day in South Carolina for unbridled corporate power and rewarding huge, out-of-state corporations with favorable tax breaks at the expense of small business and South Carolina’s cultural heritage.
Note: Sen. Lindsey Graham chimed in this morning to tell CNN that the “flag had to come down. And thank God that it has.”