Is "Flip-Flopping" Ever OK?

@anniepa (27280)
United States
November 21, 2007 5:55pm CST
We're always hearing about politicians flip-flopping or waffling; John Kerry left himself wide open when he said "I voted for it before I voted against it" and I'll admit that as one who voted for him and would do it again. (Two or three times if I could get away with it...lol). Now the heat is on Hillary Clinton for her "multiple positions" on driver's licensed for illegal immigrants. Every word a politician says is examined again and again so they'd better be careful what they say or the accusation of flip-flopping will be cast at them. Ironically, many of the same people who criticize Clinton or Kerry for their waffles on positions will say not a word if a high-ranking Republican pulls a comparable flip-flop; and, of course the same can be said of the other side, I know it works both ways. But do you think it's ever acceptible to flip-flop? Don't we want our leaders, or potential leaders to be open-minded and flexible and to admit it if they've been wrong about something? I have no problem with a candidate saying "I once believed "X" on this issue but I've given it some deep thought and now I believe "Y"." It's when he or she tells one group one thing then the very next day - or week, or month - tells another group the exact opposite without acknowledging or explaining his or her change of position. I think it's very foolish to hold something against someone that they stood for decades ago. What do you think? Is there any scenario in which you'd vote for a flip-flopper? Annie
2 people like this
4 responses
• United States
22 Nov 07
Humans are allowed to change their minds,but not politicians.It seems like these days you have to say the right things and do the right things or you will be out.You are not allowed to be open- minded or flexible.Everything has to be scripted.The last open-minded, free to say what he believed,and wasn't tied to special interest groups was Kennedy. And you know how his term ended.
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@anniepa (27280)
• United States
22 Nov 07
How true. And I know it's unpopular to say anything in defense of politicians but I actually feel sorry for some of them sometimes. Haven't we all mis-spoken or simply put something the wrong way from time to time? If a politician does it no matter what his or her past actions have been and no matter what he or she does to try to apologize or explain, it just gets them into more and more trouble. Every word, every expression or inflection, every gesture is examined under a microscope to find something to trash them on. Often they deserve some of what they get, but aren't there times when someone just deserves the benefit of the doubt? To get a bit more on the current topic, an example of what some may call flip-flopping is those who have changed their position on the Iraq war. Now, this isn't really about whether anyone here agrees or disagrees with the policies it's about accepting someone's word at face value. I give those who have said they voted for the war in the beginning but realize now they were wrong. They don't all have the same exact reasons for their original vote or their current position but I respect them for telling the truth about how they felt then and how they feel now. The important thing is what someone thinks NOW and what they want to do or not do about something TODAY, not what they said or wrote or voted 4 years or 20 years ago or how they behave when they were in college or any of that garbage. Who among us would really like to be judged by everything we did and said when we were in our twenties? Annie
2 people like this
• United States
22 Nov 07
I agree. Anyone above the age of 2 has something that they did in the past they regret.I wonder why our politicians have to seem perfect with spotless records.And since they have to seem perfect, they have to lie. They have to lie so much to get elected, that you can't accept their word at face value.
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@worldwise1 (14887)
• United States
22 Nov 07
You brought out all of the positive things about flip-flopping, anniepa. I believe that a person has a right to change their mind about something also. I'm also reasonably sure that most all politicians have been guilty of it at one time or another. Like you said, it depends on who's doing the flip-flopping. I wouldn't hold it against a candidate if they changed their views on an issue. I would rather they be honest than deceptive.
@MntlWard (880)
• United States
22 Nov 07
People who hate Kerry like to trot out that statement as "proof" of flip-flopping, but he meant that the bill he was shown before the vote provided a means to pay for that $87 billion, so he said he would vote for it. The bill that actually was presented in Congress for a vote provided no means to pay for the $87 billion, so he voted against that one. He didn't flip-flop, because essentially they were two different bills. Kerry's statement was a mistake in that it was so exploitable by the Republicans. To answer your question: Changing an opinion as you become more informed isn't a character flaw. Admitting that details may prompt different decisions among similar matters isn't flip-flopping. Hillary hasn't really been flip-flopping as I understand it. She's been giving indeterminate answers to some questions in order to avoid picking a side.
1 person likes this
@anniepa (27280)
• United States
22 Nov 07
I know what he meant and all those that used it against him knew it to but that's the nature of the beast, I guess. It's really a shame! Like his joke about ending up in Iraq; it was a kind of flubbed joke but he was criticizing Bush, not our troops, and once again those who attacked him knew that too. And when Joe Biden referred to Obama as "clean and articulate" and they tried to imply that he was making racist remarks...once again, they knew they were wrong but they had to keep hammering away. I'm no genius but I don't consider myself an idiot and I've said some things in my life that have come out totally wrong and maybe one word was put in the wrong place or used in the wrong way but luckily what I've said wasn't recorded or printed. Anyway, thanks for a great post. Annie
1 person likes this
@Latrivia (2889)
• United States
24 Nov 07
You know, I realize some people want a leader with a firm stance on everything, and that stays on their side of the fence once they make a decision, but I've never but too terribly much weight on that quality. Sure, I want a leader that can make solid decisions and stick with them, but at the same time, I want to know that my future human is open to admitting their position could be wrong. I don't believe in the term 'flip-flopper'. I believe that, as humans, we are sometimes guilty of changing our minds. While I would never vote for a person who was always switching back and forth on something, I wouldn't want to vote for a person who makes up their mind and doesn't care to ever change it, even if they are wrong. So, I'd prefer someone who is capable of admitting, "I once believed this, but now that I've learned more about the issue, I've decided that I was wrong and my new position is better".
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