Confederate Flag Adorns Florida’s “Most Important Swing Region”

The Sons of the Confederacy hoisted the world’s largest Rebel flag last week at a intersection of two major interstates in Tampa.  It’s a 30′ x 50′ Stars and Bars that will be lit at night and will stand on private land at the junction of Interstate 75 and Interstate 4.

Interstate 4, as all political demographers know, is the main artery in what one Florida reporter recently described as “the most important swing region in the nation’s biggest swing state.”  The I-4 Corridor, as it’s called, includes 14 counties between the Tampa metro area and Daytona Beach, and is considered a pivotal area in Florida elections.

“Since at least 1980, the combined votes in those 14 counties have almost perfectly reflected the votes of the state as a whole,” wrote Tampa Tribune reporter William Marsh in May on the eve of Barack Obama‘s visit to  Tampa.   It’s the swing region between reliably Republican north and southwestern Florida and staunchly Democratic southeastern Florida.

Marsh also cited USF professor Susan McManus who predicted that Obama might have a tough time winning the I-4 Corridor.  She noted Republicans’ edge in registration, the fact that many voters here are older and value “experience and stability,” and the presence of suburbanites who could be susceptible to allegations about Obama’s patriotism.

But judging by the 1500 square foot Rebel battle flag flying 139 feet over the I-4 Corridor’s largest media market, does Obama have another hurdle to worry about here?

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3 responses to “Confederate Flag Adorns Florida’s “Most Important Swing Region”

  1. Maybe they’re just big James Webb fans?

    Seriously, though, I don’t think we should be confusing people who are proud of their Confederate ancestors with, for example, the Klan.

    I like the way they put it here: “In a complex world, one can simultaneously admire Robert E. Lee’s character, J.E.B. Stuart’s generalship, and the courage of those who charged up Little Round Top while still damning the institution of slavery.”

  2. Patrick Ottenhoff

    Citizen Grim:

    Absolutely — As a Virginian, I’m proud of our heritage of the cradle of great generals such as Lee, Jackson and Stuart. I’ve visited Stratford Hall and the Confederate White House.

    But I think it also takes so gusto to hoist the world’s largest Rebel flag at the junction of two major interstates. And I’m guessing that the folks who did it aren’t great fans of skinny kid from Chicago with a funny name.

  3. Mitchell Bradley

    Some people may be proud of their confederate ancestors; some people may be proud of their Nazi ancestors; some people may be proud of their kamikaze ancestors of World War 2, some people may be proud of their 9/11 ancestors that flew planes into the twin towers; some people may be proud of ancestors that murdered people; if we find apprehension with any of the above groups, as we rationalize the legitimacy of any of the other groups, we practice the same hypocrisy and narrow minded philosophy of the groups that offend us!

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