This is getting out of hand.
One way to tell the situation is out of hand is that Republican Congressmen Tom Cole (R-4) and Frank Lucas (R-3) are willing to make a stand:
Two Oklahoma Republican congressmen ripped protesters in their state who greeted President Obama in Oklahoma City by waving Confederate flags, calling their actions “disrespectful,” “embarrassing” and “inappropriate.”
“I was shocked and disappointed by those who showed up to wave Confederate flags soon after President Obama arrived in Oklahoma,” Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole, a senior House Republican, said in a statement to The Hill. “Their actions were not only disappointing but incredibly disrespectful, insensitive and embarrassing to the entire state.
“The unacceptable behavior displayed by these individuals certainly does not reflect the values and views of the vast majority of Oklahomans,” Cole added. “No president should ever be confronted by such behavior, especially when the purpose of the visit was meant to celebrate and recognize some of our state’s greatest achievements.”
Rep. Frank Lucas, another Oklahoma Republican who is close to leadership, said in an interview: “Free speech is an amazing thing. Unfortunately this was an inappropriate use of it.”
Obama traveled to Oklahoma to visit a federal prison, part of his push to overhaul the criminal justice system. He also rolled out a new pilot program aimed at bringing high-speed internet to low-income households.
But when he arrived at his hotel in Oklahoma City Wednesday night, about 10 protesters in the crowd greeted him by waving the Confederate flag. Before Obama’s visit, protesters gathered along an interstate highway near Durant, Oklahoma, and flew the battle flag.
It is easy enough to suggest Messrs. Cole and Lucas have every reason to “move past the flag flap”, as Scott Wong explained for The Hill. After all, the Civil War ended in 1865; Oklahoma was not a state until 1907, nor even a Territory until 1890. Which in turn leads to the strange point that the Confederate flag actually flew over the Capitol grounds in Oklahoma city for over twenty years, until a 1988 renovation of the state house. And while that might make it harder for Gov. Mary Fallin (R) to blame Texas―
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, a Republican who greeted Obama on the airport tarmac, attempted to distance the Sooner State from the flag-waving protesters. Her spokesman suggested many of them drove over the stateline from Texas.
―denouncing this particular demonstration is an easy call for Republicans, and has the added benefit of actually being the right thing to do.
Then again, blaming the protest in Oklahoma City on Texas? This is another sign that the situation is out of hand, and has the added benefit of actually being really, really funny.
Image note: The crowd gathered in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Wednesday, 15 July 2015, hoping to glimpse President Obama as he arrived at his hotel, included protesters waving Confederate flags. (Photo: Getty Images)
Wong, Scott. “Republicans criticize Confederate flags at Obama visit”. The Hill.