SOUTHERN SOLDIERS FIRING VOLLEYS IN “FIRST IN THE SOUTH” PRIMARY
Of call the candidates running for president of the United States, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas was by far the most friendly to supporters of the Confederate Flag.
Or was he?
Cruz’s response to the flag flap – which reached a furor last spring – was masterful, in our estimation.
First, he showed genuine compassion for the victims of the “Holy City Massacre,” the racially motivated mass murder that precipitated the flag’s removal from the grounds of the S.C. State House. Then he reinforced his Christian faith by praising the families who forgave the murderer – 21-year-old white supremacist Dylann Storm Roof.
Next he praised the leadership of S.C. governor Nikki Haley and U.S. Senator Tim Scott – both of whom called f0r the flag to come down (Haley for less noble reasons, obviously).
Having covered his bases, Cruz then delivered the money quote to supporters of the controversial banner …
“It’s wrong, for a bunch of people who aren’t from the given state to parachute into South Carolina and dictate what they should do,” he told Fox News’ Bret Baier.
By contrast, former Florida governor Jeb Bush occupied the opposite end of the “heritage” spectrum. He referred to the flag as a “racist” symbol during a June 2015 visit to West Columbia, S.C.
“If you’re trying to lean forward rather than live in the past, you want to eliminate the barriers that create disagreements,” Bush said during a tour of Nephron Pharmaceuticals, the site of one of Haley’s most infamous crony capitalist failures.
That quote has led to many Confederate flag sympathizers calling Bush a “traitor to Southern Heritage.”
Yet while Cruz was supposed to garner support from flag backers (and Bush was supposed to lose any chance he had at winning their votes), that’s not exactly what has happened.
One War Between the States expert – Leonard M. Scruggs, author of the book The Un-Civil War: Shattering The Historical Myths – has taken a dim view of Cruz’s response.
“If you listen to his elaboration, it is pretty clear he has no genuine sympathy for Southern Heritage,” Scruggs wrote in an email that has been making the rounds among Palmetto State flag supporters. “He is absolutely clueless about why many Southerners, especially conservatives, have strong loyalties to their culture and heritage and thus strong affection and identity with Confederate flags and symbols. He is probably equally clueless about the causes and conduct of the war.”
Scruggs added that Cruz’s two South Carolina co-chairs – ardent flag backers S.C. Senator Lee Bright and State Rep. Bill Chumley – “had better help him with his homework, or he is going to fall far short of his potential in South Carolina and other Southern states.”
Meanwhile Bush – who was supposed to reap the whirlwind of Southern scorn – has actually been benefiting from some serious institutional neo-Confederate support. In fact we’re told he has received the private backing of Richard Hines, the flag’s most notorious (and well-financed) South Carolina neo-Confederate.
“Publicly Hines waffles,” an Upstate flag supporter told us, “but follow the money – he is supporting him under the table.”
The source added that Hines – an influential member of the U.S. military-industrial complex – was loyal to the Bush family because he had profited from its warmongering during the administration of Bush’s brother, former president George W. Bush.
“He makes money off war – and the Bushes want to give him more of it,” the flag supporter said.
So … where will the “Heritage vote” in South Carolina ultimately go?
We asked a grassroots backer familiar with the rank-and-file of the movement, who gave us a one word answer – which wasn’t “Cruz” or “Bush.”
“Trump,” they said.
“Because he hates the Muslims and the Mexicans,” the grassroots backer told us. “And so do we.”