It is ironic that Republicans don’t like Mitt Romney for changing his positions, when they do the same thing about candidates trying to find “Anyone but Mitt”.
I’m often confused about the whole “flip-flopping” deal. Voters want candidates who respect their wishes. When Romney was running in a pro-choice state, he was pro-choice. But when running in the Republican primary, he is pro-life. Isn’t that respecting the wishes of the voters?
We had a president who stuck to his guns and stayed the course, no matter what. He was George W Bush. How did that work out?
Reality is nuanced. Politics seems not to be.
I’ve got to disagree with you on this one.
Voters want a candidate with integrity, which means showing consistency in moral values over time. There are good reasons why your moral values might change – perhaps you have a personal epiphany (e.g. a Dickensian “Ghost of Christmas” moment) or you discover a new fact that undermines your previous position (e.g. if you were against abortion because of the pain it causes to the unborn, but then found out that foetuses under the age of x months can’t feel pain). Maybe you would still be flip-flopping – but you’d be justified in doing so
We would like our leaders to take morality seriously – after all, morality will be a key driver in decision making. If you change your mind on a moral issue without a good reason for doing so, that calls into question the strength of your original belief. In the case of abortion, if you became pro-life based on what would be more likely to get you elected, then it would show that you never took women’s rights seriously in the first place. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have let an immaterial fact like popularity change the value you held.
One’s moral values shouldn’t be contingent upon the popularity of those values.
Steve: So, why is Ron Paul doing so poorly. Why did Dennis Kucinich not get reelected?
I think IK’s post is right on the money. As pogo might have said: I have seen the enemy and it is the American electorate. And, I include Democrats in that pool too: we can’t quite get straight how we feel about Obama.
Steve, I agree with you that voters want someone with moral conviction, and your argument seems to be the driver behind voter behavior (or at least media behavior, which drives voter behavior). My argument is a) voters themselves don’t seem to have the same moral conviction (as the comic points out), and b) Dubya had that kind of moral conviction to the point where he didn’t let reality get in the way of his decisions, and it was a disaster. Maybe this isn’t such a good way to evaluate candidates.
But I will admit that I’m not sure about this one. I’m hoping someone can help enlighten me.
There is something to be said for the journey of change, but in Romney’s case it has always been about what will get him the most votes. At least President Obama has stated his struggle with same gender marriage and admitted to “evolving” in his understanding of its importance. Romney just flips a switch and says the opposite today of what he said yesterday, or last year.
As to W., I remain unconvinced that he had the intellectual heft to recognize that he was fallible.
Actually I am always very surprised how politicians know about every issue and then have a firm opinion on it to begin with.
I mean if I were to ever run for public office, there would be things I may be strongly for and things strongly against as matter of principle. But there would be majority of issues that I would not care about one way or another. And I think I as a candidate would loudly say so, that I would vote as my district/state/constituency wants me to vote, and I would change when they change.
The problem I have with Romney is that he’s not just flip-flopping – he seems to have no convictions whatsoever. Name a position that he has stayed firm on besides “corporations are people”. He’s adopted every side of so many issues I don’t know what he ACTUALLY believes or ACTUALLY will do if elected.
I think you have to get to the rationale behind the change. Is there a rational and logical reason for it, or is it to gain support from whomever you are talking to.
I think your point is key. They can’t know everything, but there seems to be a good reason to pretend to, undoubtedly getting back to the voters seem to expect it.
even the debates encourage this. They are so open ended that candidates need to be prepared for all possible issues. I’ve never liked that personally, a debate, imho, should focus on one aspect of the job. I’d like to see a candidate come to a debate with an iPod, admit he wants advice from his expert team, and get it on the spot. 🙂