Deja vu all over again: Georgia flaggers on the move in South Carolina

Friday, January 18, 2008
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

An Atlanta-based group has jumped into the GOP presidential primary in South Carolina, putting up radio ads that attack John McCain and Mitt Romney for their comments about the Confederate battle flag.

The same ads endorse Mike Huckabee for his declaration that flying the battle emblem on the grounds of its capitol was South Carolina’s business — and no one else’s.

The group, a 527, has the redundant name of Americans for the Preservation of American Culture. The president of APAC is Mike Crane of Fannin County, who first came to our attention during the fight over removing the battle emblem from the Georgia state flag back in 2001.

Here’s the link to both ads.

Ron Wilson, a South Carolinian who was involved in raising money for the ads, as saying they will be run today through Saturday’s primary on every radio station in the state that carries the radio shows of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity or Bill O’Reilly.

“We believe we’re hitting about 60 to 65 percent of the voters in tomorrow’s primary,” Wilson said.

The Federal Election Commission lists APAC’s locale as Columbia, Tenn., but its operations were shifted to Atlanta last year, Crane said. Recent activities have included this summer’s 10th District congressional race. APAC sided with the winner, Republican Paul Broun of Athens.

Why should you care? Because when we asked Crane, a member of the Southern Party, if similar ads might run in Georgia leading up to Feb. 5, he didn’t say no. “That’s yet to be determined,” he said.

Said Wilson in South Carolina: “I’d don’t know how much further it goes.” Republicans in Mississippi might be more receptive to yet another debate over the flag than Georgia, Wilson added. Gov. Sonny Perdue might agree.

Here’s the text of the anti-McCain ad:

“Mitt Romney’s trying, but when it comes to bashing the Confederate flag, he can’t hold a candle to John McCain.

“McCain’s been doing it — calling the flag a racist symbol — for years, and he’s still at it, full-steam ahead.

“After McCain,

[former] Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee’s stand is a breath of fresh air. Governor Huckabee understands that all the average guy with a Confederate flag on his pick-up truck is saying is, he’s proud to be a Southerner.

“Mike Huckabee understands we value our heritage, and why. He says its up to us to decide how. Senator McCain may have decided that his ancestors, as he puts it, were on the wrong side of history when they wore gray.

“But in South Carolina, we’re proud to be Southerners.”

The anti-Romney ad is similar, but has starts this way:

“Waving a Confederate battle flag in front of [former] Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney turns out to be like waving a red flag in front of a bull. He charges.

“Romney let fly in the CNN debate, saying ‘That flag shouldn’t be shown.’ And ‘that’s not a flag I recognize.’ Then South Carolinians for Mitt Romney attacked the Sons of Confederate Veterans on its web site.”

Copyright© 2008 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

On The Web: