Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Of Elephants and Donkeys....Part Two

Four years later, I'm still aggravated over what the Republicans did to John Kerry. Or maybe, I should say that eight years later, I'm still angry over what the Republicans did to Al Gore. The flip-flop strategy works, even if it's not true. In two presidential elections in a row, it has been used to make the eventual losing candidate look foolish.

Naturally, it shouldn't really be this way. Do we really want a leader who is so fixed in his views that he (or she) ignores the facts and refuses to alter course, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary? Actually, a case could be made that we already have one of those running the country, and look where it has gotten us. The U.S. is a mess. Thanks, George.

The Republicans have been trying to get something, anything to stick and break Barack Obama's momentum. They've tried the flip-flop strategy, but it hasn't worked. This mostly has been because Obama has been consistent or has, at least, framed his views well enough that he can't be portrayed as a flip-flopper, when all he is doing is clarifying or refining his position, mostly by shifting the emphasis of his words rather than his overall point of view.

The same cannot be said for John McCain. Since losing the primary in 2000, McCain has lost his mind and my respect. Is anyone sure what he stands for anymore? Here are some examples:

McCain opposed Bush's mammoth tax cuts. He leveled the same accusations at them as the Democrats did. Bush's tax cuts have favored the wealthy, quite heavily too. All of sudden, though, McCain now wants to extend them by making them permanent. Hmm, talk about a flip-flop. McCain claims that it will help the economy, but no highly respected economist agrees with him. America needs a tax cut, but it's the 90% of people who would be unaffected by McCain's plan that need it most.

There also was a time when McCain opposed off-shore drilling. He was never anywhere close to being a champion of the environment, but he did at least believe that the benefits of allowing off-shore drilling were far less than the devastation that the practice would wreak. Now, he's all for off-shore drilling, and it has become one of the cornerstones of his campaign. Sure, it sounds great to say that it would relieve the pressure of America's dependence on foreign oil. Everyone is for that. However, the amount of domestic production that would result from off-shore drilling (as well as drilling in ANWR, for that matter) is so minimal (and so far off in the future) that McCain would be best advised to drop the plan and focus instead upon alternative energy sources.

These are but two examples of how McCain has flip-flopped his positions on important issues. Admittedly, flip-flopping isn't as bad as it usually is made out to be, provided that there is a solid foundation for doing so, one that emanates from sound facts and logic. In these cases, however, McCain has dramatically altered his positions to ones that don't even make sense.

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