Update: The interviews were conducted by the Palmetto Patriots with all the candidates and are available on the organization’s website. A wide range of issues were covered. McMaster discusses the flag in Part 2 at 2:55. Bauer comments on the flag in Part 2 at 4:50 after one of the interviewers admits that there is some crossover between the SCV and Palmetto Patriots. Barrett is a member of an SCV camp and in Part 1 at 2:25 pledged to defend the Confederate flag against “cultural genocide.” One of the interviewers also encouraged Barrett to resist calls to remove the statue of Ben Tillman from the statehouse. There is nothing surprising in any of this.
This is a wonderful example of a behind-the scenes-look at the way in which Civil War/Confederate heritage continues to shape politics. I’m not sure Nikki Haley, who recently won the Republican Gubernatorial Primary in South Carolina, knows anything about the American Civil War, but she is clearly being put through the ringer by an unknown group. I suspect that the interviewers are with the Sons of Confederate Veterans, but I can’t be sure. Haley reduces the war to a matter of “tradition vs. change” and is clearly doing her best not to offend. Around the 5 minute mark one of the interviewers demands to know Haley’s position on the ongoing debate about the Confederate flag and reminds her of their work to remove Governor Beasley for proposing to remove the flag from atop the statehouse.
I’m not sure if I am more upset about the complete lack of historical understanding by everyone in this video or that this is an issue that demands serious attention by our candidates for public office.