Thursday, July 17, 2008

When are flip-flops okay?

This posting is not for or against any particular candidate or party. It is just a general observation about the way each side of nearly every electoral battle abuse the waffler argument.

You've heard it every day and from every direction; "Candidate X sways with the wind, first he was for Z and now he's against it. This proves you can never trust candidate X." And, often times, they're right.

But they're also often wrong.

Are politicians never allowed to change their minds? Are they never allowed to reconsider an issue or to grow intellectually? Are they never allowed to admit that they were wrong in a previous decision?

To me, a change in position could be a sign of maturity. But even when a candidate does come to a change of position over the course of time and through deep introspection, they've been trained to try to hide that fact. "Well, this is really how I always felt, you just misunderstood my previous position." So much for maturity.

I guess what I'm saying is that if a candidate makes a gradual shift from one position to another, I'm willing to accept that it might not just be swaying in the wind. I will hold off on accusations of being a waffler for a unidirectional shift that doesn't appear too sudden.

But a shift that occurs over the course of a single news cycle, and shifts back depending on the make-up of the audience being addressed, is a problem.

In other words; it's not the flip that concerns me - it's the flip-flop. And especially the flip-flop-flip.

So, let's all be mature, and allow candidates to grow and change their minds, and appreciate that. But watch out for people with no anchor at all.

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