Pandering in Vain

Tom Schaller critiques Hillary Clinton’s pander judgment:

I can maybe see it in the immediate aftermath of Texas v. Johnson when such silliness briefly became a salient issue, but at this late date does anyone think that sponsoring Constitution flag-burning legislation is going to convince anyone to vote for her?

Actually, to me here’s the thing about the flag-burning legislation. Clinton sponsored it. I, at some point, wrote a blog post deploring that sort of thing. I promptly received an email from one of Hillaryland’s liberal outreach people explaining that the real reason Clinton had sponsored the legislation was to forestall the drive for a flag-burning amendment. That, to me, is pathetic. If you’re going to pander on a symbolic issue, you’ve got to own the pander, take the punch from the left and stand up, damnit, for the cause of flag preservation. Otherwise, what are you accomplishing.

Somewhat similarly, the most pathetic thing about Barack Obama’s efforts to bow and scrape for AIPAC are that the AIPAC crowd has been suspicious of him from Day One and his pandering doesn’t change the fact that they don’t like him. Why not just accept that he’ll have to live without that small segment of the public and stand up for a more reasonable policy? Instead, he seems determined to pander in vain.