Confederate Flags Are Your Massachusetts Senate Issue of the Day

Ed Markey asked a pro-flag donor to stay away from his fundraiser.


The General Lee from the ‘Duke’s of Hazard’ has a Confederate flag on its roof. Image: cliff1066 via Flickr

Winning the award for most random political issue in the campaign today is … the Confederate flag. Ah yes, the old red and blue banner waved its improbable way through our Senate race when Ed Markey learned that a guest at his upcoming fundraiser— none other than Cooter Davenport from the Duke’s of Hazzard (or rather, the television actor turned congressman Ben Jones but we’re gonna go ahead and keep calling him Cooter Davenport)—had once expressed support for the Confederate flag. Specifically, ole’ Cooter took NASCAR to task last year when they said a car from the TV series couldn’t appear in an event because it had a Confederate flag painted on the roof.

The Confederate banner is a hot-button symbol, debate over which flares up now and again. Opponents protest its appearance not so much for what it represented in 1860 as for the way it was co-opted by Dixiecrats through the 1960s as they staunchly opposed Civil Rights. Its supporters suggest it’s a reminder of their heritage not a symbol of support for slavery. (Except, we suppose, the actual neo-Confederates who fly it, but they’re a special bunch.) Wherever you fall, we’d go ahead and say it isn’t a hugely animating issue this far north of the Mason Dixon line. But anyway, Ed Markey is no Confederate, as he made clear when he basically rescinded Cooter D’s invite to his fundraiser. “Ed believes such Confederate relics are highly offensive, and should not be displayed in public settings, period,” a spokesman told the Globe.

This, by the way, makes Cooter just the second former congressman from Georgia to make an unwelcome foray into the Massachusetts Senate election this week. And hey, it’s only Tuesday!