Flip Flops are for Feet

Thongs are another thing entirely.  Though as a kid in Indiana, we called “flip flops” “thongs”.  But that’s another post.

NoPolI was considering today the vilification of the term “flip flop” … the preferred footwear of 4 out of 5 beach bums who use footwear at all.  Flip flops, you see, are for feet.  But more and more, they’ve been used to characterize any change in political position.

And that’s not accurate.

Let me be clear.  I have pretty much no use for a politician who can’t look at a situation and change a long-held position based on new information and a changed situation.  That’s just smart.  To blindly hold on to a position for fear of being called a flip-flopper is just moronic.  One of the definitions on insanity is to continue to do the same thing and expect different results.  So any politician, or any person for that matter, has to have the ability to change their mind without being castigated … as long as they are truly changing based on new, and good, information.

I’d classify John McCain’s switch on offshore drilling in that category.  When the moratorium was imposed, oil was (relatively) abundant and cheap, and drilling technology was far more crude (pardon the pun) than it is today. It made sense to set some areas aside for environmental concerns.  Many oil spills may have been prevented, though it’s impossible to prove a negative.  So be it.

With today’s improved drilling technology, and oil that looks like it’ll be over $100/barrel for the foreseeable future mostly in the hands of foreign countries who only trade with us because we have the money … well why not take a serious look at the facts as they stand today, and see if MAYBE a shift in thinking might be appropriate?  That’s just good policy.

Senator McCains’ switch on his own immigration bill, however, smacks of political expediency.  That change seems to be driven more by Senator McCains’ desire to appeal to the fare right Republican base.

Senator Obama, on the other hand, seems to me to be far more willing change on a whim, and I’ll go back to the drilling example to illustrate.  In just the past few days, he’s reiterated his position against offshore drilling, which he’s apparently held for his short time in the Senate … then said he’d be willing to consider it as part of a broader energy plan, to today saying again he’s opposed to lifting the moratorium.  I think any way you slice it, that’s a double flip, and I’m not sure on what he’s based those changes … if not polls showing more and more Americans are in favor of increased exploration, and then switching back based the howls of the far left Democratic base.

I guess one of my major problems with Senator Obama is that I don’t KNOW of any of his long-held political positions simply because he’s not been around long enough to establish any track record.  So I can’t cite any example of him changing a long-held position based on new information, changes in technology, or other legitimate factors.  For good or bad, that leaves Senator Obama far more open to the appearance of flip-flopping, IMO.  Since there don’t appear to be any long-held beliefs, and little documentation or writings from his life before politics, any change is a recent change.  There’s no way he can help that.

If you can cite such an example … please leave it in the comments … though I’ll warn you that all first comments are moderated, and I’ll disallow anything that smacks of being just regurgitated talking points from either side.  Please have an original thought or two, or at least be able to back up your arguments.

I heard on NPR this morning, and I think it was said by Juan Williams, that Senator McCain can’t win on the issues.  I don’t happen to agree with that statement.  I think either candidate could win on the issues if they’d just talk about them.   But as always seems to happen, the discourse has already devolved into who has changed their mind more often, who’s a lightweight rock star, who’s a racist, blah BLAH — blah BLAH — blah BLAH.

I’m disappointed that Senator Obama has backed away from a McCain proposal for a series of 10 town-hall style joint appearances, after he said he’d consider it.  I understand why … it’s not his forte.  So we’ll wind up with the same, boring three pre-packaged joint news conferences that pass for debates these days, each side will proclaim its self the winner, and we’ll learn nothing new.  The questions will be the same old thing, the candidates will barf up their talking points, a few pre-rehearsed jabs will be thrown in so we in the media can talk about ‘heated exchanges” or “scoring a knockout” or “hitting one out of the park” … spin room staples all.  Meanwhile not one voter will be the wiser … nor likely have their mind changed.

Still, and back to my original point, I don’t trust any politician who’s so rigid in their beliefs that they can’t admit that maybe somethings’ changed and maybe they need to take another look at what ever it is and MAYBE they need to re-think their position.  Nor to I trust any politician or pundit or blogger or blog commenter for that matter, who’s got their head shoved so far up the backside of their party line that they’re blind to any idea that doesn’t completely mesh with their own.  We’ll never learn anything that way, and damn little will be accomplished.

Let’s have a comprehensive energy policy that includes increased oil exploration as well as renewable alternatives and nuclear.  Let’s have an economic policy that recognizes that some people will always need help, and that it’s no crime to be rich in America.  Let’s have a public safety policy that admits that some criminals need to be locked away, but also that it’s often less expensive to prevent a crime than it is to punish it.  I’ve said before … this shouldn’t be rocket science.  And yet nothing seems to be more difficult, particularly in even-numbered-years-divisible-by-four.



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Filed under Energy Policy, Fuel Costs, Politics, Polling, Thoughts

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