Let’s take Obama. In his most recent flip flop, Obama today changed his position on gay marriage, stating previously that he opposed gay marriage and that the issue of gay marriage should be left up to each state. He has now announced his opposition to a California ballot measure that would ban same-sex marriages.
In a letter to the LGBT Democratic Club Obama stated that he supports extending “fully equal rights and benefits to same-sex couples under both state and federal law. . . . And that is why I oppose the divisive and discriminatory efforts to amend the California Constitution, and similar efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution or those of other states.”
As far as I know, Obama has not yet been asked about this most recent change in position so we will have to wait and see how he contorts himself to avoid admitting that he has changed positions.
Obama has also changed positions on the war in Iraq. During the Democratic primary, Obama insisted that he would withdraw troops within 60 days. He now suggests that the withdrawal would take place over 16 months and that he would maintain “a residual presence for clearly defined missions.” These would include military training, and “preparedness to go back in if there are specific acts of genocidal violence. . . .” So what does that mean?
Obama’s changed his position on Iran too. First, Iran was not a threat, then a grave threat. He was going to meet without preconditions, now it is with “preparations.”
As I have said before, Obama flip flopped on public financing. He said he would take it until he figured out that he would likely earn double or triple the money through private donations. HIs justification — the public financing system is broken and that the Republicans receive contributions from Washington lobbyists and special interest PACs. As I said in my last blog entry, it could not possibly have broken between November and now. I just can’t understand why he doesn’t simply say that he has changed his mind. Instead he has to point fingers.
Or, in the case of his changed position on the D.C. gun ban, he has argued that he really didn’t change his mind. Last November, Obama’s campaign stated in the Chicago Tribune: “The campaign of Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama said that he ‘ . . . believes that we can recognize and respect the rights of law-abiding gun owners and the right of local communities to enact common sense laws to combat violence and save lives. Obama believes the D.C. handgun law is constitutional.'” There is nothing equivocal about that statement. Yet, Obama has now decided to distance himself from this statement, calling it “inartful.” He had over 6 months to correct that statement but chose not to until the day of the Supreme Court’s decision upholding the individual right to bear arms. Interesting timing.
Next up, Obama’s views on Isreal. In a speech he made to AIPAC (the American Isreal Public Affairs Committee), Obama stated: “Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.” The very next day, Obama’s campaign backed off of this statement, saying “Jerusalem is a final status issue, which means it has to be negotiated between the two parties” as part of “an agreement that they both can live with.” He refused, however, to rule out other configurations, such as the city also serving as the capital of a Palestinian state or Palestinian sovereignty over Arab neighborhoods. There is no doubt that audience members and Jews in general took his original statements about Jerusalem to mean that the holy city must remain unified under Israeli rule — not as the capital of a Palestinian state.
Obama has also flip-flopped on welfare reform. He now argues that welfare reform has led to a slash in welfare rolls by 80%. But what he doesn’t mention is that he came out against the 1996 welfare reform when he was in the Illinois legislature. And now he is dodging the questions about his support of welfare reform instead of simply coming clean about his change in position.
“To some observers, Obama’s transformation from upstart candidate to presumptive nominee has made him begin to look dangerously like the typical Washington politicians he so often rails against. Worried about his patriotism? He now wears a flag pin daily. Worried about his church? He left it. Think he’s inexperienced? Don’t fret; he’s got lots of renowned advisers. Too liberal? Well, just look at his recent policy statements on defending Israel and protecting warrantless wiretapping.”
I think this has to be one of my favorite quotes about Obama’s flip-flopping (from Red State): “May I suggest that Senator Obama start putting a ‘Freshest if used by’ date on all his speeches? It’d be a help, really.”
Now on to McCain who, arguably has flip-flopped on immigration, tax cuts and oil drilling. Previously, McCain co-sponsored a bill (with Ted Kennedy) that would have provided illegal immigrants with a “pathway to citizenship.” The measure died mainly because of stiff opposition from conservatives. He now states that he wants to secure our border first because the American public did not like his comprehensive immigration reform bill. To me, there is nothing objectionable about that. The same goes for his tax cuts. He was opposing to the Bush tax cuts because they did not coincide with decreased spending. Now he sees that they have worked so he will support them. Same argument for oil drilling — the policy in place when oil was $1.50 a gallon is not feasible at $4.50 a gallon. Makes sense to me.
If Obama would come clean about his flip-flops, not flip-flop in the same week and had not promised this country that he was a different kind of politician, maybe I wouldn’t have as much of a problem. Until he can do that, he is just the same old thing in a nice, articulate package.