The great flip-flopper

There’s a fine piece in Mother Jones today about a topic I’ve been waiting for the media to address, namely the fact that bush is infinitely more guilty of flip-flopping than John Kerry. And that the Republican mantra of “Kerry is a flip-flopper” was one of the most insidious and successful dirty tricks in recent memory.

This is a partial list of bush flip-flops from the article, along with their presumed motivations. I report, you decide:

• Prescription drugs from Canada: For, then Against (Big campaign contributions from pharmaceutical corporations)

• Assault weapons in our streets: Against, then For (Pandering to the NRA and gun manufacturers)

• The creation of a home land security agency: Against, then For (Public outcry and political expediency)

• McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform: Against, then For (Unprincipled opportunism)

• Nation-building: Against, then For (A double somersault to justify neocon invasion plans)

• Steel tariffs: Against, then For, then Against (A free-trader becomes a protectionist to win votes in Pennsylvania and Ohio)

• Arsenic in water: For, then Against (Public outcry…those darned scientists)

• Mandatory caps on carbon dioxide: For, then Against (The power of the coal and power companies)

• Outside investigation into WMD: Against, then For (Public outcry and world opinion)

• WMD: We found them and then we didn’t find them (Confusion, convenience and “flexibility”)

• Gay Marriage: First it’s an issue for the states and then a federal issue (An opportunistic, red-meat, divisive wedge issue)

• Osama bin Laden: In 2001 he was our No. 1 public enemy; in 2002, “I truly am not that concerned about him” (Failure to prosecute the real war against terror)

• North Korea’s nuclear threat: First it was extremely important; now it’s not much of a threat (A parry to divert attention from misplaced priorities)

• Cutting troops in Europe: Against, then For (Bad planning for the number of troops needed in Iraq and Afghanistan)

• Immigration reform: For liberalization, then Against (A conflict between wooing the Hispanic vote and angering his nativist base)

• AmeriCorps funding: For, then Against (A favorite target of congressional reactionaries)

• Patriot Act II: For, then Against (The need to appear more moderate in the middle of an election; even angered Republican civil libertarians)

• The 9/11 commission: Six flip-flops, Against and then For: 1) The creation of the commission; 2) the composition of the commission; 3) the extension to allow it to complete its work; 4) his testifying; 5) the testimony of his national security advisor; and finally 6) the implementation of the findings (Public outcry, particularly from the families of 9/11 victims and then commision members — Republicans and Democrats)

• The war in Iraq: At least nine different rationales as to why the U.S. invaded, and still counting (Reality catching up with fantasy)

• The war in Iraq: “It will be a cakewalk,” then, “It will be long and difficult.” (Talking out of both sides of the mouth; depending upon audience)

Kerry’s change of stance on Iraq, like my own, was not a result of flip-flopping but of facing cold reality:

If Kerry can be faulted, it is because he believed and trusted Mr. Bush — as did most Americans — when he voted for giving the president the latitude he needed to pursue all the necessay and viable diplomatic avenues before the Iraq invasion. Kerry then became convinced that Bush misled Congress and the American people by confusing the all-important war against terror with Bush’s own separate agenda of invading Iraq. Those were, and still are, two separate issues!

Best of all, the article relates the cackling and the “moral nullity”of bush and his minions over the past 3 1/2 years with this passage from Joseph Conrad’s great Heart of Darkness: “”Their talk was the talk of sordid buccaneers: it was reckless without hardihood, greedy without audacity, and cruel without courage; there was not an atom of foresight … in the whole batch of them, and they did not seem aware these things are wanted for the work of the world.””

Wow. “Read the whole thing.”

The Discussion: 5 Comments

About Kerry going along with bushy, as well as all of Congress, it was just the general feeling after 911. Or, I should say, what we thought we should feel after 911. I remember completely supporting going to war in Afganistan and wondering what the people who were protesting were thinking. As Pres. Clinton said “it takes two to make peace.” But, when talk about Iraq began, I kept thinking, why? I also was puzzeled about the lack of questioning from the Congress, the press and the general public. I am fairly outspoken, but I felt an immediate hostility from most of the people around me if I questioned what we were doing going into Iraq, or if I questioned Bushy’s motives. It seemed as if you dared to question Bush’s motives you were treading on the graves of all the 911 victims. I can understand Republicans or supporters of Bush not remembering this “feeling” during the days after 911, but how about other non-republicans & non Bush supporters? It was not a healthy environment for debate. Why is Kerry singled out as a “flip-flopper.” I think most people can say they flip flopped frequently during that time.

Also, I find the term “flip-flopper” to be mildly amusing. The term is ment to mean “can’t make up his mind.” I perfer to think of the person as flexible. I would hope a person has the ability to change their mind when they get new information (as long as they don’t change their mind every minute.) Or, you can be inflexible and “stay the course” like Bush!

On Bush and Osama bin Laden — talk about changing position! During the debate Bush didn’t even remember his quote “I truly am not that concerned about him.” and I think he added “he doesn’t cross my mind much” or something to that affect.

(pls excuse my spelling errors/it’s late, I’m dsixlitc and I’m being lazy and don’t want to look them up!)

October 26, 2004 @ 8:21 pm | Comment

Don’t worry about typos — you’re right on. I was in China when we decided to invade Iraq, and I was too gullible. I believed that Rumsfeld had to have a buttoned-down plan and that we had to know what we were doing. After all, it was inconceivable for an American president to drag us into a war without planning and taking every scenario into account. Or so I thought. What a lesson. How my trust in America, at least under Republican leadership, has evaporated, as has the world’s. What a tragedy.

October 26, 2004 @ 8:51 pm | Comment


You’ve actualy attacked Bush nine times for listening to public opinion, and you’ve attacked him for moderating his standing a few times as well.

You can’t have it both ways, he made with the times to win support just like a most politicians. You can bet if something Kerry does causes an out cry he will change it just as quickly.

I usually eat noodle for lunch, today my friend said that the Sushi is better so I ate that instead. Hurray, I’ve flipped.

October 27, 2004 @ 2:01 am | Comment

ACB, I am not necessarily attacking bush for his changes in position. It’s okay to change your position sometimes. I am saying he can’t use the flip-flopper mantra when is guilty of doing the same thing as kerry — changing his opinion based on circumstances.

October 27, 2004 @ 7:03 am | Comment

OT, but I can’t resist:

According to the BBC, Li’l George’s operatives have apparently decided that no one outside the U.S. should be allowed to view “”. I tried it just now and got an “Access Denied” message.

Too funny.

October 27, 2004 @ 8:36 am | Comment

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