Is Hucakbee pandering to racists?

In Slate, Christopher Hitchens makes a damn good case that, yes, he is.  The heart of the matter:

Gov. Mike Huckabee made the following unambiguously racist and demagogic appeal in Myrtle Beach, S.C., last week:

You
don't like people from outside the state coming in and telling you what
to do with your flag. In fact, if somebody came to Arkansas and told us
what to do with our flag, we'd tell 'em what to do with the pole;
that's what we'd do.

1) The South Carolina flag is a perfectly nice flag, featuring the palmetto plant, about which no “outsider” has ever offered any free advice.

2)
The Confederate battle flag, to which Gov. Huckabee was alluding, was
first flown over the South Carolina state capitol in 1962, as a
deliberately belligerent riposte to the civil rights movement, and is
not now, and never has been, the flag of that great state.

3) By a vote of both South Carolina houses in the year 2000, the Confederate battle flag ceased to be flown over the state capitol and now only waves (as quite possibly it should) over the memorial to fallen Confederate soldiers.

Hitchens also discusses why he thinks the media has given Huckabee a free pass on the story– where I think the essay is on weaker grounds.  As far as making the case that this is racist pandering, though, Hitchens is quite convincing.  I don't think this is quite what God had in mind when he chose Huckabee for when he led him to victory in the Iowa caucus (as Huck has suggested). 

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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