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.

Frances September 25, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Bush had a Democrat controlled House and Senate for his last 2 years. He tried fixes but was stopped by the uncooperative Dems. Mitt Romney is Capable, Has a History of Business accomplishments. Bill CLinton called Obama an "Amature" and Romney a "Businessman with a STELLAR" Business Record. That is very telling. Obama has put us in the Toilet with a Democrat House and Senate for 2 1/2 years, and converting us to a Communist Nation. Obama covered up, by Executive Priviledge, Fast and Furious and the death of Border Agent Terry. Obama was warned on 9/8 about the upcoming terriorist attacks on the Libyan Embassy. Ambassador Stevens ASKED for extra security days before the attack. Obama hid the information fearing it would interfere with his campaigning and shared with the Muslim Brothered the lie about the video. Obama has bankrupted our country and is hurting everyone of us with his failed policies. If it wasn't for the media, Obama would be toast. Obama has done more to divide our country with his Chicago hate and smear. Obama has MISSED over 50% of the daily Intelligence briefings, almost a year of Jobs council meetings. Obama is NOT doing his job and he is getting a pass. He didn't perform in 4 years and he wants another 4 years. WHY? To completely destroy our country. He said he would Stand with the Muslims. He celebrated Ramadan in the WH but ignored the National Day of Prayer. He will pass Sharia law when possible. He'll promise ANYTHING to get elected.
sebastian dangerfield September 25, 2012 at 08:46 PM
Thanks DUDE--you might want to read these. haha...i know how to google, and i know how to read... Here are a couple of excerpts--written in 2009 so the liberal press who spewed this, cant spin what our messiah has chosen to do . So here is thing, Mitt---if Bush caused the collapse, but these 'mistakes' that you list, then what in God's name is your guy doing? "But Bush's tax cuts and spending increases — and clear disdain for the pay-as-you-go approach that had brought deficits down in the 1990s — brought a return to permanent deficits. So Obama with tax cuts and spending increases in a recession? Was it a mistake by Bush? Then its a mistake by Obama. Energy policy--- Bush entered office with declining oil prices and no real pressing need. So they blame Bush energy policy for part of the collapse ( stretching it but fine) Obama's energy policy, when it is more of a 'crisis?" ---Ummm nada. The only major piece of regulatory legislation enacted during the Bush years was the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which dramatically increased regulation of corporate financial disclosures. The really big regulatory changes being pointed to now as possible culprits for the crisis date back to Bush's predecessors: Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, even Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford. So the popular Democratic refrain that "Bush-era deregulation" is to blame for our troubles is a little hard to square with the evidence. Tks- mitt-been saying the same for a while.
sebastian dangerfield September 26, 2012 at 06:17 AM
Mitt D Myth Where did you go? You posted a 2009 article on bush mistakes, and the funny thing is they point out that many of the items people point to , are in fact not attributable to bush. And that the policies that they say were mistakes, Obama has done the exact same thing. So if Bush was bad, then you must think obama is bad?? Most likely, though, you didnt even read the article you posted. The thing I do, is read, and get informed...I dont listen to the extreme right or left---i find out the truth. Bush policies did not cause the financial collapse. Most of those policies were made during the Clinton years. Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act--the law that discriminates against gay couples. Is this really the hero? He oppresses gays and degulated the financial industry... caused much of this mess---and you still like the lying, cheating, corrupt Clinton?
MAC September 28, 2012 at 06:32 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.
Veritas vos liberabit September 28, 2012 at 08:03 PM
Racist, unrestrained by reality, would double down on returning to the splendid days of the george w. bush regime.


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