Senator John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts and a former presidential nominee, voted for the measure, which closely resembled past efforts to pre-empt an amendment to the Constitution. Democrats who voted for the measure in effect bought themselves the right to claim that they had voted against flag desecration, potentially inoculating themselves against possible charges of lacking patriotism in a general election campaign. The broader measure to amend the Constitution failed by a single vote, 66 to 34.
Ms. Huffington was not mollified.
"It seems in line with her stance on so many issues — trying to strike right in the middle and triangulate, by not supporting the amendment because that would upset the base too much and at the same time supporting a legislative proposal that will appeal to the center," she said of Mrs. Clinton. "It's a truly tragic way of leading."