His “apology” yesterday was not only weird and oddly insincere-sounding, it also was patently dishonest. Anyone who watched the CNN debate on Tuesday night — as recounted in yesterday’s G-File knows that Dean wasn’t trying to “start a discussion.” He was trying to defend his position and he did it badly. Once he conceded that the confederate flag is a “racist symbol,” he no longer had any defense. Mainstream defenders of the confederate flag don’t say “damn straight, it’s racist.” They say the flag stands for heritage and tradition etc. Dean wanted it both ways, he wanted to say the flag is a badge of bigotry while at the same he wanted those who wear that badge to vote for him. This allowed Sharpton to — rightly — condemn him for wanting racists in his column and Edwards to — rightly — condemn him for claiming that Southerners are nothing but a bung of ignorant redneck bigots. Dean can claim this was an attempt at starting a “discussion.” But that’s all nonsense. He messed up and now he’s trying to spin it away.