Flexible flip-floppering

· long story short

One of the conservative critiques you’ll be hearing about General Clark is that he’s awfully indecisive for a general, that he’s guilty of muddy thinking, and of course, that he’s flip-flopping.
The Right takes flip-flopping very seriously. Bill Clinton was a draft-dodging, pot-smoking, super-slick flip-flopper. Gore was a big-fibbing, sweat-streaming, sore loser of a flip-flopper. Howard Dean? A far left, nutty-eyed, fringe-freaky flip-flopper.
There’s a pattern here…
Sometimes flip-flopping is a euphemism for lying. Or another word for campaign confusion. But most often, it’s used to describe candidates changing their position over time. Me, I don’t mind that kind of flip-flopping much at all.
Was a time we used to call that “analytical thinking.” Here’s how it worked: instead of having an ideologically pure, add-water-and-stir insta-fix on hand, folks would search of the right solution, not for all problems, but for some particular problem.
A flip-flopper might say: sometimes tax cuts are good, sometimes tax cuts are fiscally unwise. Or: up with American sovereignty! and up with a strong U.N.!
A flip-flopper might say: there’s more than one reasonable way to go here. Let’s find the best way.
Here’s what General Clark said in his announcement speech last week:
“We’re going to seek out the facts, search for the causes, to find the solutions, and in questioning and proposing alternatives, we’re going to reach for the very essence of our democracy.”
You can see where this guy’s in big trouble.