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.

Juscelino M. Acevedo September 25, 2012 at 06:19 PM
Are you serious? What you are basically stating is that people should simply settle and vote for liars who are willing to say whatever the public wants to hear. I don't care if they flip-flop, however, an explanation would be greatly appreciated. How does Obama deserve credit for not closing Guantanamo Bay when we have no idea whether the reason is legitimate or not? How can you "Bravo" Romney when is does not give a single hint as to how he will attempt to fix anything? I understand that being the President of the United States of America is a complicating jobs, but you have to at least have a plan; not just state that everything will be a bipartisan effort. Have you ever noticed how Republicans (except for Ron Paul) and Democrats can never have a straight forward answer? Have you ever considered writing an article about Gary Johnson? Probably not, because God forbid we go against the mainstream...
MAC September 28, 2012 at 06:26 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. p.s. a vote for Johnson is one for Obama.
Juscelino M. Acevedo October 14, 2012 at 03:07 PM
I am tired of hearing that a vote for [insert name here] is a vote for Obama. You guys are so brainwashed that you don't understand how similar Obama and Romney are. Can anyone tell me how any of these candidates are actually going to fix anything? I guarantee you that you cannot. Let's be honest. At this point it is a black versus white thing. The blacks and hispanics want Obama, and everyone else wants Romney, but noone really knows why. And if "a vote for Johnson is one for Obama", then be it. Why? Because I don't see the difference. By the way, Romney has also taken our liberties by voting for the NDAA, and it's not a secret that Obamacare is based on Romneycare. So if those are your main concerns, tell me the difference. How about we take it upon ourselves to make a difference? How about we all say let's NOT vote for Obama or Romney?


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