Politics & Policy

Sign of Hypocrisy

A Georgia Democrat uses the Confederate battle flag to get elected.

In December, a judge threw out the results of the November 5 election in Georgia in which a Republican narrowly defeated the Democratic incumbent for a statehouse seat. (The judge cited irregularities that led to voters’ casting ballots in the wrong district.) Facing an uphill three-week repeat campaign, Snow, the Democratic incumbent, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “I may just have to put up signs using poster board, saying ‘Snow in January.’”

His campaign was a little more creative than that, and their added creativity worked: Snow won reelection by 73 votes out of about 8,500 cast.

NRO has obtained a photo of a lawn sign distributed by Mike Snow’s campaign and stuck on lawns all over Walker County and paid for by the Georgia House Democratic Caucus (for all intents and purposes, the money is from the Georgia Democratic party).

The sign, which displays the old Georgia state flag (two-thirds of which is the Confederate battle flag), reads: “Mike Voted To Keep Our Flag … Let’s Vote To Keep Mike!”

Defending the sign in an interview with NRO, Rep. Snow explained, “It had nothing to do with racial connotations or sympathy for whatever . . . basically I was showing my independence from my governor.”

In January 2001, Georgia went through an acrimonious few days during which then-governor Roy Barnes, a Democrat, along with top Georgia legislators, introduced a bill altering the Georgia flag, which since 1956 had featured prominently the Confederate battle flag. The bill passed the house and senate and became law (the new flag is here).

Snow, who has represented Walker County — one of the most-conservative counties in Georgia held by a Democrat — for 17 years, voted against the bill. “If I had voted not to keep the flag it would have ended my career,” admits Snow. “I also thought the people needed the opportunity to vote in a referendum.” He acknowledges that the lawn signs highlighting his support for the old flag cost him black votes.

After Democrats suffered some high-level defeats on November 5 — they lost the governorship, Max Cleland’s U.S. Senate seat, and the house speaker’s seat, among others — they blamed Republicans for being out to get them because of the flag issue. “In fact, no state Republican party funds went toward any campaign literature using the insignia of the old flag or the Confederate battle flag,” says Elizabeth Dewberry, communications director of the Georgia GOP.

So, the DNC’s all-atwitter, and heads are going to roll, right? Wrong.

Here we have a Democratic candidate — a southerner, who understands full well the power of the symbol he used, as we would be told if the context were different, to “stir up” his white constituents — and there’s not a peep from the moral minority that is the Democratic party!

Where’s the DNC brass, calling forcefully for the heads of whoever it was in the Georgia Democratic party who signed off on this expenditure? Where’s Wade Henderson? Where are all the Democrats who jumped on Trent Lott? Where is Katie Couric? When is Mike Snow going to be forced to resign? Where, oh where, is the condemnation?

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