Politics: June 2008 Archives

Senator John McCain opposed the Federal Marriage Amendment during President Bush's first term on the grounds that such decisions should be left to states (meaning state legislatures or voter initiatives, not state judiciaries). To be consistent with that position, he will probably now support a similar but not identical amendment to prevent state judiciaries or the federal judiciary from interfering with the process that he originally favored. So this position that I'm predicting will be entirely consistent with his original one, even though in one instance he opposed an amendment to the Constitution and in the other he would be favoring one. How much do you want to bet that this is going to be played very heavily as a flip-flop?

Update: I thought it might also be worth a reminder that people have previously taken McCain's consistent view on gay marriage to be a flip-flop simply because he decided to distinguish between two different things people might mean by 'gay marriage'.

This hadn't occurred to me until now, but Wickle makes a good point. People who like Bill Clinton and hate the current president tend to distrust Dick Morris but are now loving Scott McClellan and saying he's a hero for turning on Bush. People who support the president and hate the Clintons tend to love Dick Morris for speaking the truth about the Clinton Administration but think Scott McClellan is a liar and a traitor.

Isn't there some kind of inconsistency going on here? The situations seem reasonably parallel. The presumption should be to distrust both or to accept both (probably the former more than the latter, since it's generally a good idea to be more charitable to people being criticized than to those doing the criticizing). You need an argument, then, for why you should treat one as a hero for speaking the truth and the other as a liar and a traitor to all that's good. There may well be some considerations for doing that in either direction, but are there any that are so compelling to justify such a stark difference in treatment? I suspect not.

All administrations have their flaws, and all people have their negatives. There's probably something to what both men have said, and they've probably both exaggerated and taken events out of context. Perhaps there are outright lies involved. This isn't about the particulars of what they've said. It's about how people have treated them. I can't explain the disparity of treatment by either side unless it's based it on partisan assumptions that one political party is always on the side of righteousness while the other is always motivated only by the purest evil, and thus anyone who turns on one is a hero while anyone who turns on the other is the enemy.

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