Friday, September 12, 2008

McCain throws down the gauntlet, and gets caught

What's wrong with folks changing their minds about an issue? Not a day passes that we don't receive some new information that affects how we view a variety of subjects. So what is wrong with changing positions? Just don't lie about it and expect it to go away.

In the political world it's called FLOP-FLOPPING and it is made out to be a sign of wavering or weakness, or relativism, and its used as a bludgeon on one's opponents. But again, it's not "bad" in itself. What's bad is not the change of mind, but the "pandering" behind the change of mind. When a position is changed strictly because it is politically profitable, and it is calculated to "win" votes, then it becomes intellectually questionable.

Throughout the primary season this year, both Republicans and Democrats were accused, and accused each other, of the dreaded FLIP-FLOP. And on both sides of the isle, some did and some didn't. It was just politics.

What folks, and particularly politicians, seem to have forgotten is that we live in an age of high technology, of recorded audio and video, and phone cameras, and of the internet and uTube. When words are spoken, they are immediately placed in the public domain, and widely shared. We haven't quite reached the 1984 stage where facts and information can be changed at will or simply made to disappear. When a public figure takes a position or makes a statement, it's going to be out there somewhere, and savvy people are going to find it.

John McCain has gone on TV, and stated "Nobody can name an issue I have flip-flopped on". Here's the story:

"On ABC’s The View today, host Joy Behar complained to John McCain that “you used to be more of the Maverick, then you sort of turned.” “In what way?” McCain asked. “You became much more lockstep, I think, with your party, with George Bush’s policies,” Behar answered, adding, “I don’t see the old John McCain. … I understand why — you want to get elected.” McCain issued this challenge in his defense: I’ve been through this litany before, where I say, “ok, what specific area have I quote changed?” Nobody can name it. … I am the same person and I have the same principles. Click here: Think Progress » McCain Issues A Challenge: ‘Nobody Can Name’ An Issue I Have Flip-Flopped On

Now that's just throwing down the proverbial gauntlet. It's as dumb as when Gary Hart, amid carousing allegations, challenged the press to "catch me if you can", which they promptly did. And that's exactly what reporters have done to John McCain. Here is the compiled list of purported FLIP-FLOPS by John McCain:

McCain’s 42 Flip-Flops - all documented

FOREIGN POLICY* Attacking Terrorists In Pakistan* Defense Spending* Detention Of Detainees* Divestment And Sanctions* Donald Rumsfeld* Henry Kissinger* Illegal Wiretapping* Law Of The Sea Convention* Long-Term Troop Presence In Iraq* Negotiations With Hamas* Negotiations With Syria* Normalization Of Relations With Cuba* Nuclear Reactors* Nuclear Waste Storage At Yucca Mountain* Rogue State Rollback* Torture* 21st Century GI Bill
ENVIRONMENT/ENERGY* Ethanol* Everglades Restoration* Offshore Drilling
ETHICS* Criticizing The Media* Katrina Investigations* Lobbyists* The Wyly Brothers
Check'em out.
ECONOMY* Americans Live Better Under Bush* Balancing The Budget* Bush Tax Cuts* Earmarks For Arizona* Fairness Of The Estate Tax* Job Losses In Michigan* Social Security Privatization* Tobacco Industry Regulations* Windfall Profits Tax
IMMIGRATION* The Dream Act
RADICAL RIGHT* The Confederate Flag* Jerry Falwell And The Religious Right* The NRA* Teaching Intelligent Design
CIVIL RIGHTS* Gay Marriage Amendment
HEALTH CARE* Abortion Exceptions* Repealing Roe v. Wade* Taxpayer Funding For Contraception In Africa

Check'em out for yourself. There may well be some that are a bit equivocal, and you might think it really wasn't a FLIP-FLOP at all. It may well have simply been a 'change of mind' based on new information, and that's alright. But more likely, each was just the same ole political pandering, and saying what was calculated to appease whatever audience he was addressing.

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