Too Much Flip Flopping

28Jun08

I’ve got a problem with “flip flopping.” Not with politicians changing their minds, but rather with the practice of labeling anyone who changes their position on something a flip flopper. It’s gotten to the point where politicians are afraid to take a stand on anything for fear of being accused of a different stance later. And when later does come, they usually lie and make up some bad excuse about having never said it or having simply been mistaken rather than talk about reasons and trade offs that weighed in light of present circumstances led them to different conclusions.

Quite frankly, I want a politician who has the ability to think, reason, assess, and change his or her mind through time. I think that’s a valuable skill. Why do we have to brand the leaders that we elect for periods of time in some unchangeable fashion? It’s considered a big scoop in the news: “Oh he says this now, but what he really believed five years ago was a 180. Let’s go to the video…”

Which view is real?

This post prompted my thoughts on this topic. The post criticizes Obama for a 180 on the DC gun ban. I couldn’t see the video he linked to because YouTube pulled it down too fast, but I’m betting Obama, doing the typical politician thing these days, denied ever having said the law was Constitutional, and the video likely pointed out that he had.

This case makes me especially angry, because the Constitutionality of the law in question had yet to be decided. Was it not enough for Obama to simply give his opinion on the Constitutionality of the ban before and note afterword that we cede these decisions to the Supreme Court which saw the issue differently? Do we really need to expect issue perfection at all times from our politicians and lambast them if they ever see that things change?

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