The St. Petersburg Times editorial writers also have it exactly right.
Hillary’s pathetic ploy
A Times EditorialPublished December 12, 2005
Sen. Hillary Clinton’s decision to co-sponsor a bill to make it a crime to burn the American flag amounts to political pandering of the worst kind. She was against outlawing flag-burning before she was for it.
The New York Democrat says she opposes a constitutional amendment to ban flag-burning but has signed on to a bill that would ostensibly accomplish the same thing by federal statute. Her position is unprincipled. Clinton may think this is a middle-ground position with broad political appeal, but most people will see it for what it is.
Voters who approve of making flag-burning a crime are seeking a constitutional amendment, not a statute that is likely to be struck down by the federal courts as unconstitutional. And those voters who understand that this country’s cherished freedom of speech is undermined by limits on offensive messages, including flag-burning, don’t want any legal proscriptions. There is no middle ground.