I’ve heard a lot of the attacks between the McCain camp and the Obama camp, as well as allegations by the media, center around the idea that the candidate in question loses some credibility as a politician because he or she “flip-flopped,” which is the buzz word that means that they keep changing their mind on a topic. First of all, this word has to go. It’s just stupid. Hearing media pundits and politicians ramble on about flip-flopping just makes them sound silly. Can’t we just be adults about this and say that they altered their position or can’t make up their mind or say that they don’t stand for anything? Let’s stop acting like children and making up buzz words to mask the true meaning of what we’re trying to say.
I don’t really have a problem with a lot of these allegations that are being levied. I understand that there are many times where a politician will change their view because it is politically prudent for them to do so. A perfect example is Sarah Palin’s support for the “Bridge to Nowhere” before she then changed her mind and opposed it because it became a political symbol for pork barrel spending. (For those that don’t know, the “Bridge to Nowhere” was an attempt by Alaska politicians to have the federal government pay millions of dollars for a bridge that would have connected mainland Alaska to an island of about 50 people) Sarah Palin obviously changed her mind because she didn’t want to associate herself with this ridiculed project. She spoke at the convention saying that she didn’t support it because it was wasteful spending and most people will leave it at that and move on. This “flip-flopping” helped her image in the end. This is why it’s important to get past the rhetoric and do some research on your own (I commend you for reading my writing as a part of your research. Keep it up!)
The problem that I have is that by constantly labeling a politician with this dirty word and the association of being unsure or underhanded in changing your positions, it doesn’t allow a politician to look at new information that comes out and alter their position to better suit the new situation. For example, most politicians in 2003 voted to support the war in Iraq. They were operating under the information that there were verified weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and that it was in the interest of our national security to go in there and get rid of them. One we went in and found out that this was untrue, many of these politicians changed their position and no longer supported the war. Political opponents paint the picture that these politicians are unqualified to serve because they supported a war and then changed their mind. They’re obviously not decisive and they’re just following the changing political winds.
In reality, this is the kind of person that I want representing me. They don’t just stick to talking points and platform politics. There’s a real sense that there’s something going on in that brain of theirs. They saw that the situation was changed and that, maybe, a new position was necessary to go along with this new information.
It’s our job as voters to figure out which of these stance changes are strictly political and which are because they’re really, truly well-informed and thoughtful politicians that deserve our vote.