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Flip-flopping is good … No, bad for America …Yes, it’s good

In the world of politics, few things ever remain certain.

But there is the certainty any one politician’s positions are subject to change at anytime for any reason, especially around presidential election season.

While politicians vie for their party’s nomination, their views usually change from what they truly believe to what will get them the most votes.

In the past, it might have been easy to get away with such an act.

However, in today’s world of bloggers and 24-hour news networks eager for dirt, a change in position on an issue quickly turns into a death blow.

Flip-flopping helped to do in John Kerry in during the 2004 presidential election, including his infamous change of heart on the war in Iraq.

The 2008 presidential election promises to be one where such changes in position are going to be under much scrutiny. In fact, the criticism has already begun.

Recently under the target was former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who declared his candidacy for president.

The topic under fire is Romney’s stance on abortion. In clips from two debates that were shown on ABC News, Romney’s stance on abortion is clearly in support of a woman’s right to choose.

The latter of the two debates occurred in 2002 during the race for Massachusetts governorship.

However, in a March 2005 Boston Globe opinion column, Romney said the following: “Once cloning occurs, a human life is set in motion. Calling this process ‘somatic cell nuclear transfer,’ or conveniently dismissing the embryo as a mere ‘clump of cells,’ cannot disguise the reality of what occurs.” Furthermore, Romney has maintained he has always been anti-abortion.

Sen. John McCain, a presidential candidate in both 2000 and 2008, also is being accused of flip-flopping on several issues.

McCain, who once ran as a “maverick” candidate for president against George W. Bush, is changing some of his positions to reflect with right-wing Evangelical Christian opinions. One of those, in fact, is his opinion on Evangelicals.

According to an April 2006 story on, McCain told “Meet the Press” host Tim Russert that he didn’t consider the Rev. Jerry Fallwell an “agent of intolerance.”

This is in direct contrast with what McCain had said during the 2000 presidential primaries, where he failed to win the Republican nomination over Bush.

Later that year, McCain even spoke at Falwell’s Liberty University, which perhaps shocked many of McCain’s moderate supporters from his 2000 campaign, including myself.

But it’s not just Republicans that are changing their positions. Sen. Hillary Clinton, the current favorite to win the Democratic nomination, has made several noticeable turnabouts in her platform.

Clinton’s biggest change of heart seems to be over the Iraq War, which she voted for and supported until recently, it seems.

In October 2005, with the war becoming unpopular, Clinton told the Village Voice: “I don’t believe it’s smart to set a date for withdrawal . . . I don’t think it’s the right time to withdraw.” This comment matched many of Clinton’s past statements, all of which had supported the U.S. offensive in Iraq.

By the end of January 2007, though, Clinton’s tuned had changed. In a campaign stop in Iowa, she demanded that the president “extricate our country from this before he leaves office.”

Since then, Clinton has not answered any questions on Iraq, including at her most recent campaign stop in New Hampshire, according to CNN.

I could list many other examples for many other candidates, but the problem is clear. Politicians, especially those running for president in 2008, are selling their beliefs out to try and be the most popular.

Is it a good strategic move? Maybe. But for Americans, this loss of individuality means that we are only left with two real choices: the generic liberal set of ideas, and the generic conservative set of ideas.

Flip-flopping makes for good dirt for the media, but it doesn’t benefit us at all.

That’s why I’m asking all of the 2008 presidential candidates, both current and future ones, to avoid getting sucked into changing their beliefs just because they want to win.

If that were to happen in 2008, it would give us the most diverse field of candidates for president in U.S. history and encourage real debate and discussion among both the public and the candidates.

Stopping the flip-flopping in election politics will do more than just the candidates good.

It might just be what the American people need in order to find solutions to the problems of the future and elect a competent and strong leader.

And after this president’s second term expires, that’s the one thing we really need the most.

Send comments to Brian Szabelski at [email protected].

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