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Strange New Respect

By Matthew Yglesias

"Strange New Respect"

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Via Ezra Klein, Jamie Kirchick has Rudy Giuliani dead to rights on the former New York mayor’s apologias for the Stars and Bars. I think one both can and should have an appropriate sympathy for the perspective of authentic white southerners who don’t necessarily understand the semiotics of the Confederate battle flag in the way that the American mainstream understands it. Such people deserve a serious effort to explain why, to us, granting official recognition to such a symbol is so deeply problematic. Someone like Giuliani — born and raised in Brooklyn, New York — deserves no such sympathy.

He knows perfectly well what’s going on, and just doesn’t care. Or, rather, he does care and, I think, is specifically hoping that his repuation for poor relations with African-Americans can help him build bridges to culturally conservative voters likely to be alienated by his record on abortion, gun control, immigration, etc. It’s profoundly cynical and offensive to everyone involved.

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