Final word on the flag amendment

The flag amendment is toast. Good riddance, although it’s safe to assume it’ll be back. I’m going to guess 2008. I don’t know why, it just feels like it’s on some strange cycle. Anyway, I thought I’d heard every possible stupid remark going into yesterday’s vote, courtesy of Senators Hatch and Specter. Alas, no:

“All rights enshrined in the Constitution have certain limits,” said Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.). “There is no such thing as unlimited rights. Although we treasure and value our right of free speech . . . we protect our national monuments,” including the flag.

“Congress shall make no law” is pretty ambiguous about limits, I admit. It’s just strange that protecting our national monuments isn’t in the Constitution. And if the flag is a national monument, does it need public restrooms to meet any federal regulations.

In other burning news, James Taranto chimed in to make his partisan point, even though he pretended to be on the side of common sense. What I don’t understand, and he presents a perfect example, is why so many people hate the New York Times as if its publishers are Hell’s army unleashed on us all? I concede that its reporting is often smug, self-important, ideological crap. My response is to avoid it. I rarely link to its stories because I find better, less-biased reporting elsewhere. Free speech with free markets is a sufficient combination for me to mentally handle any real or imagined offense to public sensibility by the New York Times. Why this isn’t enough for those on the right, other than needing a bogeyman to whip up the masses, is a mystery to me. Seriously, get over it.

That said, I’m amused that Mr. Taranto works a defense in yesterday’s Best of the Web Today aimed merely at attacking the New York Times for its editorial against the amendment. I imagine the effort necessary to navigate to his point was tremendous. Actually, probably not. Practice makes perfect, right? I digress. Mr. Taranto quotes the New York Times, writing about the flag amendment:

With the Fourth of July fast approaching, Senate Republicans are holding a barbecue. Unfortunately, instead of grilling hot dogs and hamburgers, they are trying to torch a hole in the First Amendment’s free speech guarantee by passing an amendment to the Constitution that would allow federal and state authorities to punish flag-burning.

Some things should be out of bounds even in a competitive election year. Messing with the Constitution is one of them.

Seems reasonable, but it’s the New York Times. They’re just a bunch of dumb liberals who don’t realize that the rest of America is patriotic enough to love the flag. So what is Mr. Taranto’s snappy retort?

But the ability to amend the Constitution is part of the Constitution. “Messing with the Constitution” also ended slavery, gave blacks and women the vote, and repealed Prohibition. (OK, that last one is a wash.)

In fact, if the First Congress had refrained from “messing with the Constitution” by proposing the Bill of Rights, there would be no First Amendment. Forget flag-burning; if the Times were true to its principles, it would be against free speech altogether!

Haha! He’s poking fun at the literal interpretation of “messing with the Constitution.” Funny, and damn if doesn’t catch them in their logic failure. Conservatives 1,239,938,839, New York Times 0.

Except, everyone understands that the editors at the New York Times did not mean the actual process of amending the Constitution. Congress followed the procedure exactly. Big deal. The anti-flag desecration amendment violated Constitutional principles, which Mr. Taranto clearly knows, unless he’s blinded by his disdain. I doubt it.

Best of the Web Today is hack journalism at its finest.