South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley is having quite a run of success. She has recruited Mercedes Benz, Boeing and Volvo for economic development projects totaling thousands of jobs. She’s been a great fiscal champion fighting for lower taxes and less spending.
The spotlight is on her recently for her courageous call to remove the Confederate Battle Flag from the SC State House grounds following the horrific murders at Mother Emmanuel Church in my home state of Charleston, SC. I applaud her. It wasn’t easy, and I shared some thoughts earlier with The New York Times outstanding Jonathan Martin as to how difficult an issue this is for Republicans.
The flag is a pretty personal issue for me and in my family. In 1998, I lost two elections on one night because of that banner. First, a race I was managing for the US Senate for Bob Inglis, and second SC Governor David Beasley, my brother in law, lost the governorship after calling for the flag to come down off of the Capitol Dome. There is a reason that both men have been awarded the JFK Profile in Courage Award. So it’s a bit of satisfaction to see those electoral sacrifices (Inglis had also courageously called for the flag’s removal) were not made in vain.
Moving the flag was the right thing to do. The symbols of state should bring people together as opposed to tearing them apart. And moving the flag was the conservative thing to do in my view. A limited government should waste no resources debating, flying, lighting and displaying, protecting, or otherwise maintaining a symbol that offends roughly half of the state in such a visceral, personal way. South Carolina’s precious fiscal, intellectual and emotional resources are better invested in creating jobs and improving schools.