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.


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.

MAC September 28, 2012 at 06:11 PM
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! Those with common sense will be voting for Romney/Ryan, "America's Comeback Team," so that we can have some REAL "hope" for our futures! 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. His first term economic devastation may become minor 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!!! To understand how Obama is totally FAILING to protect our nation, his most basic responsibility, watch "The Project" documentary on TheBlaze.com/tv. Free 2 wk. trial avail. and you can watch on demand.
Alethiologist September 28, 2012 at 06:20 PM
Sowell says: During the same week when the American ambassador to Libya was murdered and his dead body dragged through the streets by celebrating mobs, the President of the United States found time to go on the David Letterman show to demonstrate his sense of humor and how cool he is. But Barack Obama did not have time to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the leader of a nation repeatedly threatened with annihilation by Iranian leaders, who are working feverishly toward the creation of nuclear bombs. This was an extraordinary thing in itself, something that probably no other President of the United States could have gotten away with, without raising a firestorm of criticisms and denunciations. But much of the media sees no evil, hears no evil and speaks no evil when it comes to Barack Obama -- especially during an election year. Nor was this public rebuff of a publicly requested meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu unique in its expression of disrespect, if not contempt, for both the man and his country. Despite his glowing assertions of his commitment to Israel, especially in speeches to American Jewish groups, Barack Obama has been working against Israel's interests from his first day in the White House. As in many other contexts, Barack Obama 1 speaks but Barack Obama 2 acts -- often in the opposite direction.
Alethiologist September 28, 2012 at 06:22 PM
Sowell continued The vision in which Obama has been steeped is one in which white Western nations have oppressed and exploited non-white, non-Western nations, becoming rich and arrogant at other people's expense. It is a vision that calls out, not for justice, but for payback. When Jeremiah Wright said, "white folks' greed runs a world in need" -- and Obama, by his own account, was moved to tears -- this captured in a few melodramatic words what a whole series of Obama's mentors and allies had been saying for decades. No wonder it resonated with him.
RD September 28, 2012 at 08:10 PM
google obama phone or howard stern interviews obama supporters and it will tell you alll you need to know about the idiots on the obama bandwagon, like ipso.
SLP October 01, 2012 at 03:59 PM
and this is exactly the kind of posting one sees when their candidate (Romney) is flopping around gasping for air when his inadequacies for the office are revealed...
terry October 01, 2012 at 04:34 PM
Apparently SLP and Ipso think some goveling speech full of empty platitudes and the threat to all Christians that they must respect islam in front of the UN where obowma continued to lie about the attacks passes for meeting with world leaders. Oxbow a disgraced as usual this country. He is beneath contempt..... and an epic failure on every level no matter how hard you try to spin it.....as are his apologists like you two who apparently care nothing about our country or it's future.
Amo Probus October 01, 2012 at 05:25 PM
IF ONLY OBAMA SUPPORTERS WOULD JUST READ THE REPORTS AND "CONSIDER THE POSSIBILITY" http://patdollard.com/2012/09/obama-vetting-1979-newspaper-article-by-valerie-jarrett-father-in-law-reveals-start-of-arab-purchase-of-u-s-presidency/
SLP October 01, 2012 at 05:33 PM
oh..cool..I can do that too: http://www.middle-east-online.com/meopictures/big/_23855_Bush_Kuwait.jpg http://www.sadlyno.com/wordpress/uploads/2009/11/bush_holding_hands.jpg man..that 'live in fear' line doesn't work here..thanks for playing though..
Alethiologist October 01, 2012 at 07:15 PM
SLIP I feel sorry for you.
SLP October 01, 2012 at 08:14 PM
Thanks Evilyn, but your pity is neither needed nor asked for. I don't buy scare tactics.
Alethiologist October 01, 2012 at 08:52 PM
.Rest assured, I do not think you are an idiot, you just have bad luck with ideas and words
SLP October 01, 2012 at 09:44 PM
oh SNAP!..I guess you told me..
Cliff Cuming October 01, 2012 at 10:07 PM
These are the same people complaining about getting romney's tax returns! On his first full day in office, President Barack Obama ordered federal officials to "usher in a new era of open government" and "act promptly" to make information public. Nineteen of 20 cabinet-level agencies disobeyed the law requiring the disclosure of public information: The cost of travel by top officials. In all, just eight of the 57 federal agencies met Bloomberg’s request for those documents within the 20-day window required by the Act. “When it comes to implementation of Obama’s wonderful transparency policy goals, especially FOIA policy in particular, there has been far more ‘talk the talk’ rather than ‘walk the walk,’” said Daniel Metcalfe, director of the Department of Justice’s office monitoring the government’s compliance with FOIA requests from 1981 to 2007. Read more on Bloomberg
RD October 03, 2012 at 01:32 AM
Hope you are a female SLP cause you are really a little bitchy
SLP October 03, 2012 at 01:03 PM
aww look at you RD..jumping to conclusions and making incorrect assumptions..wrong on both points..but thanks for playing though!.. by the way Evelyn..take note..this is how GOP supporters view women. If you're female. You must be bitchy.
Cliff Cuming October 03, 2012 at 04:38 PM
Oh SLIP, now lets be fair! Dems accuse Reps of waging an imaginary war on women for not providing free contraceptives to women...compare to: have you ever heard Reps say Dems are waging a war on men for not providing free condoms....
SLP October 03, 2012 at 05:57 PM
Cliffy I'd give you that one and would be screaming just as loud IF condoms were available by prescription ONLY. Birth Control pills: prescription only. Condoms: Buy just about anywhere.
Cliff Cuming October 03, 2012 at 07:21 PM
The Dem invented medical system required poor women to get a prescription for BC. Does it not cost more to get a prescription ? That's unfair for the poor. Why do the Dems think women can't figure out how to handle BC pills? Is the Dem opinion of women that low? Since the poor get free Obama phones, and probably figured out how to use them should they not also be able to figure out a calendar? geeez stop picking on women
Cliff Cuming October 03, 2012 at 07:21 PM
Do you want more government or less? More spending or less? More regulation or less? More welfare or less? More power for teachers unions or less? More taxes or less? Less oil drilling or more?
MAC October 03, 2012 at 09:07 PM
How can anyone support a FAILED president Obama?, whose actions have: --Threatened the U.S. Constitution --Weakened America's defenses --Encouraged our enemies --Irritated our closest allies --Moved us towards Socialism --Increased our budget deficit --Increased our national debt, by SIX TRILLION $$$!!! --Weakened our economy --Trivialized the War on Terror --Failed to meet his promises Most recently (besides the blatant stirring up of more RACISM, which came out yesterday in the 2007 video where Obama went off the TelePrompTer), we see that Obama's admin. SACRIFICED the lives of Amb. Chris Stevens and 3 other Americans in Libya, by ignoring abundant WARNINGS from TERRORISTS!! There were 16 terrorist attacks upon the Benghazi consulate in Libya in the 6 months leading up to 9/11 this year, and abundant warnings, including on FB--causing Stevens to plead for more security--which the State Dept. DENIED!! They did this because their focus is on helping Obama's election! Then they all LIED about it for 2 weeks, trying to cover up the fact that Obama has NOT defeated Al Quaeda and other Terrorists!!!
SLP October 03, 2012 at 10:07 PM
whooo...look at you all letting your crazy flags fly..
Cliff Cuming October 03, 2012 at 10:27 PM
Seriously SLP, how can you support BHO given MAC's list? ESP the Benghazi debacle...that alone would be enough for me.
SLP October 04, 2012 at 12:53 AM
simply put..I did my research on Romney..
Cliff Cuming October 04, 2012 at 12:57 AM
SLP Do you think BHO properly handled Benghazi?
RD October 04, 2012 at 01:42 AM
obama looks like a man in over his head in this debate, romney clearly the best man
RD October 04, 2012 at 01:43 AM
watching the debate? your boy looks and sounds like an idiot
Sister Sarah October 04, 2012 at 02:56 AM
Mitt looked like Nixon in need of prozac.
SLP October 04, 2012 at 01:20 PM
I saw a scared, nervous petulant man-child attempting to debate The President last night.. It's got to to make you wonder though..if Mittens there was as "solid" of a candidate as people want to believe, then WHY wasn't he the GOP choice back in 08 and was passed over for McCain and Palin?
Cliff Cuming October 05, 2012 at 12:17 AM
wow, slp, just wow.
RD October 05, 2012 at 07:21 PM
mittens over the muslim any day


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