Written by Vincent Gioia
July 13, 2008
by Vincent Gioia
I don't like the term "flip-flop" to describe politicians changing political positions in an election campaign; it reminds me of those hard-to-wear thong-type foot sandals. A better and more accurate description of such political behavior is "deceitful."
It is often said that a politician seeking a party's presidential nomination tacks left or right during the primaries and then veers to the center in the run for the office. This is accepted nuance by the news media and perhaps even expected by the electorate, but no matter how you slice it, the practice is simply dishonest and used merely to hoodwink as many as possible to support and elect that candidate. Why it has become acceptable without scorn and criticism is beyond me.
However as bad as switching campaign styles in the race for nominee selection is, it is unquestionably something that should disqualify a candidate for dishonesty and lack of morality when done during the presidential campaign itself. Some might say that changing political views is a sign of "maturity" and "learning by experience", but someone who is to lead the United States should have learned what is needed to be learned well before seeking to lead our country. I don't think we should want someone in that office who is treating it as a learning experience; we want a leader who knows the world and has convictions to stand by. The best example of this is Ronald Reagan.
John McCain has changed his mind about a few things, like oil drilling off shore and perhaps border control, but by and large he still maintains his unreasonable views of global warming, amnesty for illegal immigrants and campaign finance laws. I disagree with John McCain a lot but he keeps to his views on these issues despite huge disagreement by those whose votes he needs to win the election; is this a good thing or not? I could argue not a good thing from the political issue standpoint but at least he is consistent.
The same cannot be said for his opponent, Barack Obama.
For a long time Obama has preached the Democrat mantra about gun control. Now however Obama would like the voters to believe he is a gun- rights advocate. He applauded the Supreme Court's overturning of a Washington, D.C., ordinance banning the possession of handguns.
Even on the hot-button issue of abortion Obama is now deviating on the liberal position of absolute free choice by saying he thinks "mental distress" should not justify late-term abortion.
Suddenly Obama has religion, and I don't mean the Reverend Wright kind; which he has had for twenty years. Obama now favors expanding Bush's controversial faith-based initiative program of involving churches in government anti-poverty programs. The Democrat Party has criticized this program as involving religion in public affairs.
After accepting the idea of limits on campaign funds as have all presidential candidates before him, Obama now decides to forego public funds in place of seeking large contributions from left-leaning supporters in Hollywood and that icon of anti-Americanism - George Soros - thereby rejecting the idea of campaign-finance reform.
In fact, Obama is the largest raiser of private cash in American political history, and no longer disdains accepting "special interest money." Even wealthy Republicans seem to like the Obama "kool-aid" and heap lots of money onto their view of the likely November winner.
Who can forget Obama joining with Hillary Clinton to decry NAFTA? During the campaign run he now has no interest in changing the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Probably the most exotic demonstration of Obama's scruples or lack thereof, concerns the Iraq war and other foreign policy issues. First he was the messiah of troop withdrawal from Iraq. He promised a strict and rapid timetable for withdrawing our troops. But now that Bush's surge and General David Petraeus' change in tactics have seen success, Obama is saying he won't withdraw troops unconditionally and that withdrawals will be "based on the conditions on the ground in Iraq." Isn't this the same thing Bush has said? How different is this new Obama stance from the present plan to send troops home in increments as conditions on the ground improve?
Obama once criticized the proposal to give telecommunication companies exemption from lawsuits over tapping private phone calls at government request. Now Obama voted for the bill.
Those attending the AIPAC convention in Washington, D.C. recently were pleasantly surprised to hear what appeared to be sentiments from Obama supporting Israel after many previous comments in support of Palestinians. Now Obama says that Jerusalem must be "Israel's eternal and undivided capital." However he also says Palestinians should have a contiguous state of their own but to do that Israel must cede territory between Gaza and the West Bank. What would this do to Israel's efforts to defend itself against terrorists and in the next Mid East war?
It wasn't long ago that Obama minimized the threat from Iran. Do you recall when he said the danger from Iran was exaggerated because Iran didn't "pose any serious threat?" Lately though he agrees with the president that Iran now in fact is a "grave threat" and wants to meet directly with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad "without preconditions." (Does he expect to charm the little tyrant without a teleprompter?)
Although many seem to believe Obama is sincere in his many changes of heart; I don't. Obama has not become a convert to Republican beliefs; he has the same liberal ideology he has always had. Obama is merely showing us that he will do and say anything to be elected but once in office he will push our country headlong into socialism and reduce our ability to defend ourselves from the threat of Islam.
His "flip-flops" are empty shoes just as he is an empty suit.