In case you came in late, it was last Thursday when former presidential candidate Howard Dean chimed in on a tweet about Ann Coulter, asserting simply that hate speech does not enjoy First Amendment protections.

Four days later, we’ve lost track of how many times Dean has attempted (unsuccessfully) to shore up that stunning claim; as we reported earlier, it appeared that he had managed to quadruple-down over the weekend during an appearance on MSNBC.

There doesn’t appear to be any end in sight. The New York Times provided some much-needed backup Monday with an op-ed in defense of campus snowflakes, claiming that “freedom of expression is not an unchanging absolute,” and that freedom of speech in 2017 means “balancing the inherent value of a given view with the obligation to ensure that other members of a given community can participate in discourse as fully recognized members of that community.”

Even Newsweek’s Kurt Eichenwald couldn’t let that rhetorical tire fire stand without comment.

It’s a strange feeling, to be certain, but freedom of speech as defined in the First Amendment should not be this difficult to comprehend. And yet there was Howard Dean, still thrashing about.

Yeah, we know … CHAPLINSKY! But what does any of this have to do with his initial tweet about “hate speech” not being protected?

We’re pretty sure he knows the facts, but he’s been digging this hole for days now.