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Flip flopping-- Good or bad


Burgold

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Mostly when he talk about flip flops it is to ridicule a politician or political candidate... unless we're talking about fashionable hippy wear. But what I wonder is whether or not it really is a bad thing for a politician to change their mind. Do we really expect or believe people should hold to every statement or philosophical position over four, six, 30 years?

So, whether we're talking Obama on gay marriage, John McCain on torture, or Mitt Romney and John Kerry on every single question depending on the day and the audience. Is flip flopping really a problem? Is it a sin?

My feeling is this. There are certain issues everyone needs to hold firm on. They can't back down because they are too integral to who they are as an individual. Now, that issue is different for everyone. For some it may be Freedom of Speech, for some it may be , for others it may be Keynesian economics, while for others it might be littering, but everyone has an issue or idea that is central to their being and that issue should not be compromised.

However, there are a lot of issues that as new information arises, as our experiences change, or just as time goes on we come to realize that our point of view has changed or that you recognize that it is a point that is crucial to others while not very important one way or another to you. In those cases, compromise or outright flip flopping makes sense and is actually a sign of growth. In some cases, flip flopping is the best choice. After all, every so often we're wrong and it's good to acknowledge it.

Okay, I've blathered on long enough... so, tell me have you flip flopped on flip flopping or are you still adament in your position?

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if people show inconsistency in decision making, it makes it difficult for me as a voter to try to predict how they'll react to certain things (crisis, social issues, etc..). At some point, I'd rather vote for the guy who is decisive even if I didn't agree with him just b/c at least I know where he stands.

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I don't think its always a bad thing. It could show that the person has done research and has reached a better understanding. And it could be a bad thing because it could mean they are easily persuaded by others.

Interesting. You have flip flopped all within the scope of one response. You learn quickly :D

(I agree by the way)

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if people show inconsistency in decision making, it makes it difficult for me as a voter to try to predict how they'll react to certain things (crisis, social issues, etc..). At some point, I'd rather vote for the guy who is decisive even if I didn't agree with him just b/c at least I know where he stands.

Yeah but would you want that person to stick with a stance even if they don't believe in it anymore? But they stick with it so they aren't labeled a flip flopper.

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Yeah but would you want that person to stick with a stance even if they don't believe in it anymore? But they stick with it so they aren't labeled a flip flopper.

There's a difference between changing your mind on an issue, and changing your principles that you operate on as a person. Another situation could be like the "Obama for gay marriage" thread. Some people are giving him crap for taking a stance now, when he really didn't have one before (I think it's fair, even though i really don't agree). When it comes to politicians, I think someone could always label you a flip flopper.

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It depends. :D

I picked option #2 because I'd rather somebody stick to what they said unless they can logically explain why. It seems to me like the choice of "Would you rather have an honest idiot or a smart liar in office?" People want the honest guy, but not a moron. And the combination is a killer in politics.

For example, FDR can campaign on "We won't go to war" in 1938, and that's a promise he can hold until Dec 7, 1941. Then he can flip to "Well, I know I said I'd keep us out of war, but I really don't have a choice" and be completely justified. The situation has changed drastically and if you don't change your mind then you're an idiot. But with other issue, it's a little harder to swallow. The big knock on Romney was that he was only pro-choice when running in Mass to get elected, or he was only pro-life in '08 to get the presidential nomination. It's a big issue that not too many people switch on, so it's hard to understand without significant justification. Or Kerry's "I voted for the funding before I voted against it" which was mocked because of how short of a time frame the switch occurred in.

So yes, in the right context, it's perfectly fine. And sometimes it's required.

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I have no problem with a politician changing his or her mind on an issue, even a majory. In fact, it should happen more often than it does now. We learn new information and we gain insight, and we should be willing to change.

I DO have a problem with a politician changing his stance on multiple major issues in an obvious effort to pander to whatever audience he currently is trying to appeal to. Mitt Romney, for example, has changed his position 180 degrees on the following issues: abortion, healthcare reform, stem cell research, gun control, capital gains tax, campaign finance reform, cap and trade on carbon emissions, the need for TARP, unfunded federal mandates, minimum wage, don't ask-don't tell, privatising social security, and more.

On every single one of those issues, Romney has changed his position completely around, in only a few years. Why? Because he is pandering to the more conservative voters in the current GOP, of course. On most of these issues, he doesn't even try to explain why he changed his position. To me, this demonstrates a remarkable lack of honesty and conviction, even for a politician.

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I'm with you on Romney. I always get the sleazy used car salesman vibe from him. I just feel he will tell you what you want to hear. I realize a lot of politicians are like that, but like your list suggests, he seems far too flexible.

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You can always find things that look like contradictions. What constitutes an actual flip flop is hard to define. It seems to be more of a political strategy rather than an actual thing.

I am generally okay with people changing their minds...

Politicians are a different story though. It's a tough job and all, unless you are running in a safe area. They have to maneuver for a living. I'd look at it case by case. If the move seems too shameless, I shall repudiate.

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I'm with you on Romney. I always get the sleazy used car salesman vibe from him. I just feel he will tell you what you want to hear. I realize a lot of politicians are like that, but like your list suggests, he seems far too flexible.

No one I can ever remember in my lifetime has a list of total seachanges like the one Romney has. Maybe George Wallace, when he changed from a segregationist to a moderate after he got shot. But even he only changed on a few issues. Romney has changed his stance on virtually every major issue of the day, and in every one of them, it is obvious that he changed to cater to Tea Party-type voters. .

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No one I can ever remember in my lifetime has a list of total seachanges like the one Romney has. Maybe George Wallace, when he changed from a segregationist to a moderate after he got shot. But even he only changed on a few issues. Romney has changed his stance on virtually every major issue of the day, and in every one of them, it is obvious that he changed to cater to Tea Party-type voters. .

I'm not a fan of Romney but I do recognize that being a liberal or conservative politician is relative to the overall population you're serving. In Massachusetts, among that population, Romney was conservative. If he had been any more conservative on the issues, he would have been unelectable. But those same bundle of positions that place Romney in the conservative camp in Massachusetts would make him moderate to liberal in a national election. If he held the exact same positions as President as he did as govenor, he would be moving himself into a different point on the political spectrum relative to the population voting on him.

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I think the rigidity in which we approach problems is part of the problem.

There is no room for compromise anymore. If you do, you're ridiculed as a flip flopper.

I pointed it out this week in some thread,, the right seems to think that lefty's now supporting the war is a bad thing, when they've been trying for ten years to convince them to change their position.

Now that they have, it somehow is wrong.

Politics leaves no room for brains.

~Bang

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I'm not a fan of Romney but I do recognize that being a liberal or conservative politician is relative to the overall population you're serving. In Massachusetts, among that population, Romney was conservative. If he had been any more conservative on the issues, he would have been unelectable. But those same bundle of positions that place Romney in the conservative camp in Massachusetts would make him moderate to liberal in a national election. If he held the exact same positions as President as he did as govenor, he would be moving himself into a different point on the political spectrum relative to the population voting on him.

Of course. Romney in Massachusetts held almost exactly the same positions as Barack Obama does. But Romney changed his views on every issue, at the same time. It makes you doubt that he believes in anything at all, or that he won't change tomorrow based solely on the next Rasmussen poll of Iowa caucus voters or big donation from some lobbyist.

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If you are like Mitt Romney, who flip flops on an issue just to get elected; than it's bad.

If it's a gradual thing, say you were like many Republicans who were Democrats when younger but overtime you became a Republican because you felt they were more aligned with your beliefs.

You general believed something but overtime you changed your opinion or maybe some certain event caused you to change your views.

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Romney in Massachusetts held almost exactly the same positions as Barack Obama does.

Right. And in Massachusetts that makes you conservative.

But Romney changed his views on every issue, at the same time. It makes you doubt that he believes in anything at all, or that he won't change tomorrow based solely on the next Rasmussen poll of Iowa caucus voters or big donation from some lobbyist.

It tells me that Romney is going to stake out a conservative position, relative to the population he's representing. Its not like he flipped in different directions. He staked out a conservative position in MA and he has now taken a conservative position on the issues as a presidential candidate. The only way he could possibly be considered a viable CONSERVATIVE in both those elections was to change his position on the issues.

My guess is that Ronmey will continue to take the most conservative viable position. That means he will compromise his desired position when circumstances dictate. Much like Clinton became more conservative when it became apparent that being liberal wasn't going well.

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