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In Defense of the Flip-Flopper and Compromise

Does changing your mind — like Mitt Romney and other politicians have done — mean you lack the courage of your convictions?

 

Romney on abortion. Obama on same sex marriage. George W. Bush on taxes. And right here at home: Lieberman on health care, and Dodd on AIG bonuses. 

All together, now: Flip-floppers!

But I am here to advance the notion that there are two kinds of flip-flopping. The first — the worst sort — is pandering and is the worst form of power-grabbing.

The second is not only better; it’s preferable to a lifetime of unyielding, dogmatic stubbornness. And when a turn from dogma means compromise and progress for all, then I say, flip-flop away.

And while every politician would have the voting public believe that every flip-flop is the result of a newly-formed principled stand, we know better, don’t we? Do you really believe that Mitt Romney is pro-life, or do you think he changed his tune to appeal to a large and vocal social conservative faction to secure the presidential nomination?

And did President Obama not conveniently change his views on marriage in a timely fashion (thanks, Vice President Biden!), thus securing the vocal support of the social liberals who really have no choice but to support his candidacy anyway?

Yet there are undoubtedly principled flip-flops. One must certainly suspect that Obama, who promised to close the Guantanamo prison camp after taking office, discovered exactly why he couldn’t once he did. Funny how Guantanamo as an issue all but disappeared once February 2009 rolled around.

But we must applaud that decision, no? Clearly Obama discovered why shutting Guantanamo would be a huge mistake. For that, he deserves credit.

Imagine a world in which no one ever changed their mind or admitted they were wrong. Do you hold the same views today as you did 20 years ago, or even 10 years ago? Is not acknowledging that the other side maybe, just maybe, has a point the lifeblood of compromise? And do we not, as a nation, need bipartisan compromise desperately?

This past Sunday evening, I watched with interest as Mitt Romney spoke with Scott Pelley on 60 Minutes. Romney appeared relaxed, confident and quite presidential (although a bit orange, truth be told, but perhaps that was just my television) as he described his policy plans should he win in November.  

Pelley pressed him on his economic policies, repeating the oft-heard criticism that Romney had not offered any specifics on how he planned to achieve sustainable economic growth. The devil’s in the details, said he.

Romney smiled and noted the country’s need, not just a desire, for a workable bipartisan plan. I paraphrase here, but the gist is that he would not approach Democrats with a preordained list of must-haves; instead, he would develop his policy together with the Democrats so that everyone can leave the deal table feeling like they contributed.

Real leadership-and ultimately, progress-means working together, he finished.

Bravo!

As I imagine what the next four years under President Obama would look like if he wins the election, I can’t help but shudder. Gridlock, higher taxes, stubborn rhetoric from both sides and, ultimately, little accomplished.

Governor Romney observed that while he led Massachusetts he worked with a vast Democratic majority (87 percent!) in an overwhelmingly liberal state. Yet under his leadership, the Massachusetts economy improved, largely as a result of increased revenues (fees, not taxes) and reduced state aid.

All together, now: Compromise.

Ken September 26, 2012 at 12:13 PM
I think one of the reasons Romney had a good track record in MA was that he was putting forth moderate or even somewhat liberal policy...health care for example...having moved as far right as he has, I don't think he could get elected in MA anymore...
MAC September 27, 2012 at 08:52 PM
The narcissist Obama, unrestrained by another election, would double down on his disastrous and FAILED "leadership" of our once great nation, turning it into a DYSTOPIA which we will not recognize as anything resembling the FREE nation we grew up in! Lisa, I agree with most of your assessment: "As I imagine what the next four years under President Obama would look like if he wins the election, I can’t help but shudder. Gridlock, higher taxes, stubborn rhetoric from both sides and, ultimately, little accomplished." Unfortunately, Obama has no respect for the Constitution, the "Separation of Powers" etc., and instead is totally committed to his misguided zero-sum ideology of DIMINISHING U.S. prosperity because he believes America must become poorer in order for people in third world nations to do better. "Little accomplished" would be a good thing compared to the havoc and "Dystopia" an unrestrained Obama will wreak through his un-Constitutional Executive Orders and the bureaucratic "Regulations" with which he ^^steals our Liberties^^, such as in the "HealthCare Mandate" imposed by K. Sebelius. And all that could be dwarfed by the takeover from within, by Muslim Brotherhood and other Muslim Terrorists who Obama has welcomed into the WH, while he will not allow our military and Nat'l Security agencies to even name these THREATS as what they are!!! Tonight 8 p.m. Pt 2 "The Project" documentary on TheBlaze.com/tv. Free 2 wk. trial avail. (or Dish Network 212)
Ron Loves Oxford September 27, 2012 at 09:01 PM
The headline is a Joke. The President is so out of touch. The administration doesn't know what a terrorist attack is, changes stories every hour and Obama is not to be found, except on The View. His teleprompter must be broken.
Norman September 27, 2012 at 10:00 PM
My favorite flip-flop hypocrisy is the story of the replacement referees in the NFL: even Governor Scott Walker has cried "foul" and lent his support to the unionized refs - too bad he didn't feel as righteous when it came to teachers' collective bargaining rights! The do-nothing congress reminds me of children who, having been found guilty of murdering their parents now throw themselves at the mercy of the court because "they are orphans" -- blocking President Obama at every turn has been their number one priority (not the business of the nation). Even the vets have been abandoned by the partisan whack-jobs on the right. We don't need a new president (and certainly not Romney) we need a new congress that will work with the White House... deny if you will but be prepared to explain the 241 filibusters in the Senate since Barack Obama took office!
Lisa Bigelow September 28, 2012 at 12:43 PM
Thanks to all for reading and commenting. Will, I appreciate your thoughtful response, but I can't see numbers 3 and 4 ever happening. And Ken, I think you're absolutely right. Lisa B.

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