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While Defending Confederate Flag, Coulter Claimed, “The Majority Of Military Bases In This Country Are Named After Confederate Officers (Such As) Eisenhower, Nimitz”

Reported by Ellen - January 20, 2008 -

Just when you think FOX News couldn’t be any more blatantly bigoted, they pull another doozy. On Friday night’s (1/18/08) Hannity & Colmes, the producers chose an all-white panel that included a tipsy-looking Ann Coulter to discuss the use of the Confederate flag in South Carolina. “Boombox” Coulter enunciated her words clearly enough to understand but she spouted a ridiculous set of whoppers, including a claim that General Dwight D. Eisenhower and Admiral Chester Nimitz, each of whom was born after the Civil War ended, were Confederate officers with military bases named after them. With video. UPDATED with possible clarification as to what Coulter really meant.

The discussion was the second out of three in the show regarding the Confederate flag in South Carolina, recently an issue in the Republican primary there. The first discussion was with Mike Huckabee. A later discussion included the only African American, Joseph Lowery and that segment was really more about Barack Obama (video and post coming soon).

I find Coulter asinine and tiresome to the point of pathetic, but she is bright and usually has an alert, albeit hyper look about her. However, on Friday night’s show, Coulter’s eyes and affect were sluggish and dull looking. At several points in the discussion, her words were slurred. However, unlike her “Boombox” segment, she at least gave the appearance of making sense. But a cursory examination of the substance of her words indicated otherwise.

Coulter ignored the racial component of the dispute over the flag (which is kind of like ignoring the slavery component of the Civil War) and claimed that, “This really isn’t a liberal/conservative thing tonight. It’s a northern/southern thing.” She giggled… at what, it was hard to figure.

The other guest was “former Democratic pollster” Pat Caddell who, according to Wikipedia, was born in South Carolina but I could find no current connection between him and the state. Caddell seemed to be against the use of the flag but he was so inarticulate about his position, I could not be sure. “It doesn’t belong up there,” Caddell said. “But the point is, is that uh, is that it shouldn’t be an issue in this campaign.”

White supremacist sympathizer Sean Hannity used the occasion, as he usually does when the topic is race, as an excuse to attack an African American, in this case Al Sharpton. “Is (Sharpton) saying that anybody that disagrees with him on the flag issue – in other words, there might be some people that use the flag because they have a racist view that they want to reinforce. I do not believe in any way, shape, matter or form believe that that is the majority of people’s views.” Rather than ask pollster Caddell, Hannity addressed Coulter.

Coulter hardly seems like someone in a position to explain Al Sharpton to the FOX News audience but that didn’t stop her from doing it anyway. “No, I think, I think what you’re telling me Al Sharpton is saying is that he’s accusing someone else of playing the race card.” She grinned slyly at the camera, impressed as always with her own wit.

The only person in the group who even tried to understand and communicate the African American perspective was Alan Colmes. Colmes read a statement by an African American named Kevin Alexander Gray, former head of the ACLU in South Carolina, saying the Confederate flag represents “slavery, racial oppression and a deep-seated belief in the rightness of the Confederacy.”

“That’s preposterous,” Coulter slurred. How would she know? Because her recent purchase of a home in Palm Beach, Florida now makes her a southerner? Maybe some of her best friends are black Confederates.

Colmes, noting that many people share Gray’s view, asked, “If so many people find (the Confederate flag) to be so offensive, why hold that up and wave it in the face of people who are so offended by what that represents to them?”

Coulter, the new expert in north/south and race relations, insisted “Because that ISN’T what it stands for.”

“That’s what it does stand for, not to you, Ann, but to many other people, that’s exactly what it stands for,” Colmes said.

In a condescending (and somewhat slurry) tone, she said, “OK, but it’s historically preposterous. It is ridiculous. The majority of military bases in this country are named after Confederate officers, Eisenhower, Nimitz. Ummmmm, the list of southerners in our military is legion. That is what it stands for.”

Now THAT is historically preposterous and ridiculous. The Civil War took place from 1861-1865. Dwight Eisenhower was born in 1890. Chester Nimitz was born in 1885. I could find no military bases named after either of them.

NOTE: I'm no fan of Dick Morris but for once I thought he said a great thing. In another segment of the show, he made a point of saying that the Confederate flag is to African Americans what the swastika is to Jews and that just as the Germans don't put a swastika on their buildings to celebrate their history, the south should not use the Confederate flag.

UPDATE: Thanks to reader Jim who noted that his interpretation was that Coulter was not naming Eisenhower and Nimitz as Confederate soldiers but as southern military members. That is not the way she said it, as my transcript, above indicates. But I will agree it would make slightly more sense that way. You can watch and listen to the video and make up your own minds. Nevertheless, to equate Eisenhower's and Nimitz' military service with an endorsement of Confederate values or flying the Confederate flag is quite nearly as ludicrous.