The Mix

Echo Chamber: Hillary burning to redefine 'liberal;' Tasini benefits

The old Clinton triangulation tactic of trying to have it both ways -- move to the right, and still try to claim to be liberal, is in play again... with a vengeance.
According to the Associated Press, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is supporting new legislation to criminalize desecration of the United States flag, agreeing to co-sponsor a measure by Republican Sen. Bob Bennett of Utah. Ahh, love the sound of that: New York and Utah in unity... gives new meaning to the notion of purple states.

The pair are writing the legislation in the hope that it survives any constitutional challenge following a 2003 Supreme Court ruling on the subject. But Clinton, on the other hand, says she still opposes a constitutional ban on flag attacks. Get the distinction?

With this new step, Hillary Clinton is giving new meaning to the word liberal, and giving new NY Senate in 2006 challenger Jonathan Tasini yet another issue on which to run against her.

Yes, flag burning is a rather immature form of protest, but protest it is. But what is particularly shocking about the Clinton maneuver is her public statements comparing "the act of flag-burning to burning a cross, which can be considered a violation of federal civil rights law." There's some hullabaloo about all of this in the blogosphere.

Evan's Peek post is on top of it, and Matt Stoller zooms in on this absurdity with cross burning:
"The deeply disturbing piece here is the awful comparison of flag burning to cross burning. Cross burning is well-understood as a sign of terrorism. It was used to suppress blacks organizing themselves in both the South and the North from the post-Civil War era until the late 1960s. It was a sign of intimidation, of terrorism, or impending hate crimes. It was often a death threat. Flag burning has usually been the province of hippies and countercultural movements, and these have been relatively benign. They are certainly not equivalent in any way shape or form to the KKK or the legacy of slavery and segregation that cross burning represents."
Hillary has a lot of New Yorkers scratching their heads....and some are beginning to wonder if the activist Tasini's quixotic run against her in 2006 will increasingly pick up steam, if this is what Hillary is all about.
Don Hazen is the executive editor of AlterNet.
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