The Satanic Gas Tax Holiday for Flag Burning
Reading some of the key segments of the "liberal" blogosphere and the SCLM today was interesting as always. Maybe some Obama supporters are just slightly nervous about whether Sen. Obama will win in IN and defeat Sen. Clinton by a big margin in NC. I could be wrong of course since I see no reason for them to be nervous - I think he will win in NC for sure and has a decent chance of winning IN. In fact, considering that he has, um, Won The Nomination AlreadyTM (right?), whether or not he win or loses IN or NC or both should make no difference to The MathTM, right? That's why the predictably vile attacks on Sen. Clinton over the gas tax proposal are certainly a sight to behold.
The funny thing is that what she has proposed - moving the tax burden to corporations from low income and middle class Americans - is as liberal a policy as it gets. Now, one can legitimately argue that this policy has only limited benefits (or maybe more) for consumers (as Sen. Obama and some economists argue), but this type of policy long used to be considered a liberal policy position (tax rich corporations rather than less-well off individuals) - i.e., until this primary and until The Precious decided he would oppose it (after enjoying the benefit of supporting it when he was in the IL state senate) - at which point it became the Satanic Gas Tax Holiday. Even more fascinating are the "liberals" fainting on the couch because she proposed something that is "DOA in Congress". Can you just imagine this Horrible Crime?! Obviously none of these people were presumably advocates for impeachment or other such minor trivialities that were "DOA in Congress", so I certainly appreciate their Highly Informed, Creative Class, Liberal "Non Elite" world view.
Anyway, as I was ecstatically gulping down the Great Wisdom that abounds in the (Very) Creative Class blogosphere on this matter, thereby discovering how Sen. Clinton is now More Evil Than Evil Itself and how people, for the zillionth time, have finally had it with her*, I stumbled onto the Daily Howler and realized that Bob Somerby had just discussed another one of those Dastardly Eeevil Clinton policy positions that has re-emerged over the weekend - one that is another Sad Reminder of Her Satanic Nature and has long evoked a paroxysm of hatred or dislike for her amongst the um, Highly Informed Creative Class.TM Somerby starts with the predictable Gail Collins:
We may examine more of the rubble in the next few days, but let’s start with a (familiar) paragraph by the well-scripted noble, Lady Collins. Late in her Saturday column, she warbled the following song, thus expressing a story-line these dullards can recite in their sleep. You can tell that Obama is finer than Clinton because of that flag-burning bill!
COLLINS (5/3/08): All this actually tells us something about the Democratic candidates, which has nothing to do with fuel prices. Obama believes voters want a sensible, less-divisive political dialogue, that the whole process can become more honorable if the right candidate leads the way. Hillary really doesn’t buy that. She has principles, but she doesn’t believe in principled stands. She thinks that if she can get elected, she can do great things. And to get there, she’s prepared to do whatever. That certainly includes endorsing any number of meaningless-to-ridiculous ideas. (See: her bill to make it illegal to desecrate an American flag.)
Barack Obama believes in high principle. Sorry, but Hillary Clinton doesn’t! Indeed, Clinton is willing to do and say anything, much like Vile Candidate Gore before her. To get elected, “she’s prepared to do whatever” Indeed, apparently unlike Obama, Clinton is willing to “endors[e] any number of meaningless-to-ridiculous ideas,” Collins says. Collins’ example? Cue the snoring! “See: her bill to make it illegal to desecrate an American flag.”
You know where this is going, but I promise you more fun than you might expect - below the fold!
Somerby continues and adds Richard Cohen to the mix:
Clinton wanted to make it illegal to burn an American flag! As noted, these life-forms know how to type that one up in any type of weather. As we’ll see, they’ve typed it, and typed it, and typed it again; they know this particular novel so well they could just keep typing it as their owners work on their programming. Indeed, they all seem to know this pleasing tale. Here’s Richard Cohen, two months ago, typing it up for the Post:
COHEN (2/5/08): If [her vote on the Iraq war resolution] were the only example of Clinton's voting suspiciously like a presidential candidate, I would not be troubled. But in 2005, she co-sponsored a bill that would make flag-burning illegal. It just so happened that around that time I heard Justice Antonin Scalia explain why he, a conservative so conservative you cannot be more conservative, considered flag-burning a form of political expression. It was therefore, he said, protected. Precisely so.
I was not alone in suggesting that on the flag issue, Clinton was readying herself for a presidential race and trying to blunt her image as a harridan of the political left. The New York Times reached the same conclusion and accused her of pandering. Again, precisely so.
An anti-harridan had been “pandering” with that flag-burning thing. Cohen knew it; the New York Times knew it–and Collins knew it again this past weekend. And Cohen, just like Lady Collins, knew the rest of this new classic script. You just can’t fool a life-form like Cohen. He drew the invidious distinction about Clinton/Obama just as Collins would:
COHEN (continuing directly): Look, I know what Obama was doing when he refused to confront his minister about the latter's embrace of Louis Farrakhan. He was ducking an issue with no upside for him. He will not get my Profiles in Courage award for this, but the rest of his record overwhelms this one chintzy act.
Not so with Clinton. In the first place, you don't get to pander with the First Amendment. It is just too important, too central, not merely an amendment but a commandment: Thou Shalt Not Abridge Speech. In the second place, this ugly lurch to the political right is not outweighed by a spectacular stand on some other matter of principle.
Cohen will give Obama a pass. But not so with vile Clinton, he says; after all, she supported that flag-burning crap! Like Collins, Cohen could tell: This flag-burning folderol showed the difference between these two candidates’ souls.
And then, one week later: Alas, poor Cohen! Yes, he has had to do this sort of thing in the past–but it’s gruesome every time it happens. Seven days after defining Clinton/Obama, the gentleman typed a minor correction. Good God! He’d done it again! This appeared in his next column:
COHEN (2/12/08): My Feb. 5 column was critical of Hillary Clinton for supporting a bill to make flag burning illegal. I have since learned from a reader that Barack Obama also supported that bill.
That’s right, dumb-ass! Clinton supported the flag-burning bill. And Obama supported it too!
But then, more than half the senate’s Democrats supported that bill, in June 2006. It was brought to the floor by Dick Durbin, Obama’s biggest senate supporter. Everyone understands the politics of these bills–everyone but Cohen and Collins, that is. Because they’re two of the world’s biggest androids, they keep singing the same tired songs.
Not exactly new (all the way down) coming from Richard Cohen, but big portions of the "progressive" blogosphere could not have asked for a better mentor. High Broderism and High Cohenism is now to be found a-plenty in the formerly "liberal" blogosphere.
So, here's a pop quiz. Who wants to predict the first outbreak of Reality Based Blogging on the "left" (or "blogswarm") where the flag burning ban will no longer be considered a measure of Evil Triangulation and Wanna Be Republicanism (since The Precious supported it)?
*P.S. Just exaggerating to make a point.