Political Theory (Loosely Interpreted): January 2007 Archives

When Is Flip-Flopping OK?

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I very much enjoyed Saturday Night Live's spoof of Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) being interviewed by MSNBC's Chris Matthews. Most of it was terribly unfair to her (and probably to several others too), but there's a grain of truth behind enough of it for it to be funny. I'm not posting this just because I liked it, though. I found one particular segment of it to be especially interesting, and I wanted to comment on it:

CM: What about those Democratic primary voters who are still upset about your initial vote for the war?
HC: Chris, I think most Democrats know me. They understand that my support for the war was always insincere. Of course, knowing what we know now, that you could vote against the war and still be elected president, I would never have pretended to support it.
CM: Uh-huh.
HC: I mean, for heaven's sake, look at my record. I don't even support necessary wars.
CM: Well, a lot of Democrats like the fact that Obama was always against the war.
HC: Chris, let me say something about Senator Obama, for whom I have the greatest respect. He seems to take positions based on studying an issue and then following his convictions, which is perfectly alright, bt suppose he were to go to Iraq and conclude that the war was necessary after all. He might decide to support it. Do you really trust someone like that?
CM: I never looked at it that way.
HC: Whereas, with me, the Democratic base knows that I am not going to reverse my stance on the war a second time, unless of course they want me to.

I have two thoughts from different parts of this, one brief one and one that requires a little more reflection.

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