Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Not Exactly a Burning Issue

THE US SENATE failed once again to pass an Constitutional amendment banning flag burning. But from the sound of things, most Senators -- even on the GOP side -- aren't too smoked about it. 'I don't think anyone would say it's the most important [issue],' said Trent Lott (R-Miss). Do other Senators think it's one of the most important issues facing the country right now?

'No, no, not even close,' said amendment co-sponsor John Ensign (R-Nev).

'Ha, ha, ha,' replied fellow co-sponsor Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-Tex).

'It's not a burning issue,' was the clever response from Gordon Smith (R-Ore)

In the end, the measure came one vote short of the 67 needed for it to pass. But that won't bother too many in the Senate because the floor debate and the ensuing vote wasn't designed to actually get the amendment passed. Instead, it was an attempt to get Senators on record one way or another in order to use the issue in the upcoming elections -- and you can bet the Republicans will push the rhetoric to new levels.

I can see the Rove-inspired TV spot now: 'John Kerry voted against an amendment to ban flag burning. No wonder the insurgents in Iraq are gaining so much power.'

Of course, no one is talking about the fact that the Supreme Court upheld the right to burn flags as an expression of free speech in TWO separate decisions in the 1980s.


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