Why is "flip flopping" a bad thing?

As many know, the Bush campaign team has labeled Kerry a flip flopper.

From the above link, the flip flopping seems to be modifying opinions over time. Isn’t that something most intelligent adults do? I know I wasn’t completely anti-war when I thought Saddam had WMDs but now that more information has come to light, I’m anti-war. Imagine a world where Bush actually modified his opinions rather than sticking to his guns.

  1. After his first tax cut in 2001 that saddled the country with huge deficits, Bush reconsiders his second tax cut.

  2. After receiving no UN/international support for the Iraq War, Bush reconsiders going to war.

  3. After initially stonewalling and underfunding investigations into 9/11, Bush decides to do anything to help.

Yeah, flip flopping looks real bad.

It depends, I think, on how it is framed. If flip-flopping means being rudderless and succombing to the whim of whatever interest happens to be pulling your chain at the time, then it is not the best quality of a leader. On the other hand, if it means changing your mind when circumstances demand it or admitting to mistakes and errors, then it is a quality that people can respect in a leader. But sometimes, it’s a fine line, sometimes, it’s a matter of perspective, and sometimes, it’s sheer blind luck. If indeed the intelligence had been accurate, and the US had found WMDs in laboratories along with the rest of it, Bush would be in almost an unbeatable position. So, count your lucky stars.

Poor, poor, innocent and misled Bush.

And the Iraqis that Bush killed should do what, exactly? Are there some unlucky stars for them to count?

One big problem with “flip flopping” is that it can be a betrayal of a politician to his voters. When I vote for a candidate, I am trusting that he means what he says. That is positions on issues are based on his values and not on opinion polls.

If I vote for Bush because of his positions on gun rights, he owes it to me (and all those who voted for him) to continue his work in defending gun rights. If he were to do a 180 degree turn and become anti-gun, this would be a dishonest betrayal.

By painting Kerry as a flip flopper (a description that fits, IMO) Bush is labelling him as someone who cares more about opinion polls than doing what he believes is right. This is a huge turn-off for most voters, and is an effective campaign strategy for Bush.

You have a point.

When Kerry said things like:

“I will restore honor and integrity to the White House”

“I’m a compassionate conservative”

“Leave no child behind”

“I’m a uniter, not a divider”

“President of all the people, not just those who voted for me”

“A reformer with results”

it was such a disappointment when Kerry didn’t live up to expectations.

two reasons i can think of:

  1. he comes across as indecisive. i don’t have a cite, but a recent poll showed most americans view bush as more decisive. i’m not saying that it is a good thing, but there ya go.

  2. it makes kerry look like he is trying to please as many voters as possible without making any hardcore promises, which is something that no other politician has ever done :rolleyes:

I don’t think Bush was either innocent or misled and never said otherwise. The intelligence was inaccurate, but the responsibility was his to question it and to demand corroboration of it. The reason I said we should count our lucky starts — and I believe that it was obvious — is that he is not unbeatable. Perhaps it is best for all concerned if you do not bring your petty vendettas outside the Pit.

It isn’t, of course, a bad thing. Seeing how precious little else the Republicans have to pin on John Kerry, they have to hang their hat on something. Bush was for the AWB, then against it. He fought tooth and nail against creating the 9/11 commission, then did it. He initially resisted implementing the commission’s findings, now is coming around. I don’t hold it against him, changing your mind as better information becomes available or you become convinced you were mistaken is a good thing.

Your post was actually pretty meaningless babble. I inferred what I did based on your past posting history.

Poor, poor, innocent Liberal. :rolleyes:

So do you have something to say to the dead Iraqis? Or the dead US soldiers? Please tell us all about their luck.

Actually, it was pretty much the same thing BobLibDem said:

Um, no, it was actually meaningless babble. See, although it contained the sentence you quoted, which was similar to BobLibDem’s, it contained other sentences which weren’t similar, and which contradicted the single sentence you did quote. Hence: meaningless babble. :rolleyes:

And I’m still waiting for your answer to the dead Iraqis and the dead US soldiers. Tell us about their sheer blind luck.

Actually, my reference was to AmericanMaid’s lucky stars. Since you made up the other stuff, it’s your garbage to deal with.

I don’t think anything contradicted. I think you would hijack a thread as you have done here to jab at me no matter what I had said. You hit the ground rolling with a bizarre misplaced sarcasm about poor, poor Bush. Then you followed up with poor, poor Liberal. You’re calling things I say “meaningless babble” (which truly is a rich irony) when they are practically the same as what someone else posted later. My opinion is that since you were warned about these sorts of childish and off-topic ambushes in the Pit, you’ve decided to take them elsewhere. There is no reason on earth to be so hostile about what I wrote in response to AmericanMaid’s OP.

I didn’t make anything up. I asked you a specific question about your response to AmericanMaid. What’s your answer to the question?

Good gravy guys… Can you please take this to The Pit?

I’ve wrestled with the question several times. When Clinton was in office he was blamed for the same sorta thing. And although I was never a huge fan of Clinton I would often think to myself: “So? Isn’t he supposed to be representing the people? Aren’t we a democracy?” But then I would also think “Then why have a President? Why not just vote on everything?”

I guess my thought is that the President should be both a leader of people and a representative of people.

It is a hard row to hoe. How do you decide when you should be a leader and when you should represent? I confess I don’t know, which is why I’m not ever gonna run for president. But I think it is a fine line between flip-flopping and representing the people. And a fine line between leading and ignoring the will of the people.

Note that I am not commenting on whether or not either Bush or Kerry is/can be both of these things, but am trying to address the original question which is: “Why is Flip/Flopping so bad?”

A few years back here in VT we had a senator (Jim Jeffords) who actually switched parties mid-term. Some folks were very angry with him for ‘filp-flopping’ on a grand scale, and felt betrayed, like they were lied to when they voted for him. Here was a Republican who left his party!

Jeffords, though, didn’t flip-flop on his issues, and continues to vote and think in the same manner as when he was R-VT. Still, many people feel like their representative doesn’t represent them anymore (I, however, am not one of those people).

To expect a person to refuse to change because he or she is in public office is not only an unfair expectation, but something that would be ultimately detrimental to a representative system. A leader who doesn’t change in the face of new information is going to get into trouble sooner rather than later. If I voted for someone who was pro gun-control (whatever that means) and then the guy (or gal) changed his stance, I’d be slightly off-put, yes. But, if he had a good, well thought out argument for why he’d changed his views that involved more deep thinking than “well, I changed my mind because, well, I’ve just learned that guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” then I’d be willing to live with that, because my elected official is using his brain to think. If the issue meant enough to me then I wouldn’t vote for him again the next time he ran for office.

All that being said, someone who changes his mind often without much deep thinking or reasoning is a total tool, and I wouldn’t want to vote for the person anyway, regardless of his party (I voted for Jeffords while he was a Republican not because I agreed with everything he did, but because I felt that he did it with intelligent forethought and consideration). And, I think that soundbites from the opposing party are no way to judge whether or not someone’s ‘flip-flopping’ amounts to pandering to the polls or legitimate decision making.

One might also add, “After Hans Blix expresses his doubts to Rice regarding the existence of WMDs given that the places that the U.S. intelligence has him search just don’t pan out, Bush reconsiders going to war.” (You can hear Blix talk about the evolution of his own opinions regarding the WMDs in an interview on NPR’s Fresh Air. Type in “Blix” under Guests. If I remember correctly, the relevant portion of the interview starts just before the 7 minute mark.)

Of course, much of the claim of flip-flopping by Kerry isn’t even flip-flopping at all. It has to do with the vagueries of voting in the Senate. For example, Kerry apparently opposed the final vote on the $87 billion to Iraq because he felt that it was wrong to vote this without getting the revenues from somewhere (like increasing back up by a small amount the tax rates on the rich). He was particularly upset by the fact that The Misleader had been denying that a large amount of additional money would be needed for Iraq until after the 2003 tax cuts passed…And, after they did is when he submitted the $87 billion request for more money. It takes a certain amount of “chutzpah” to lie and mislead in this way and then try to accuse your opponent of not being honest or consistent or whatever!

Moderator’s Note: Desmostylus, stop it right now. Either talk about the subject of the thread, or get out.