The Hiller Instinct: Campaign flip-flops
But each is already accusing the other of dishonesty.
Obama, commenting on McCain and immigration, says that "when he was running for his party's nomination, he walked away from that commitment. He said he wouldn't even support his own legislation if it came up for a vote."
McCain, commenting on Obama and public campaign financing, says "well, if someone reverses on a position like that, then obviously, then the question, then the next thing comes up, can you trust their word?"
The 2008 Presidential race is already a flip flop festival, full of charges Obama is changing his positions on Iraq, wiretapping, NAFTA, gun control, and the death penalty... while McCain is accused of switching his stances on off-shore drilling, abortion, lobbying, tax cuts, and torture.
The aim of all the attacks is to make voters see McCain or Obama as they saw John Kerry in the last election-- as a politician willing to change direction with the winds of popular opinion, and worse-- admitting it.
"I actually did vote for the 87 billion dollars before I voted against it," Kerry said four years ago.
Flip-flopping is now a tradition in Presidential politics.
In 1988, while Mike Dukakis' campaign was tanking, the first George Bush set a standard for speaking out of both sides of a mouth.
"Read my lips: no new taxes," Bush said in 1988.
But after he was elected, Bush signed a budget including $140 billion in new taxes... enraging his supporters, and helping him lose his bid for re-election to Bill Clinton.
Clinton made flip-flopping part of his legacy... amid allegations of an affair with a White House intern.
"I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky," Clinton said in January of 1998.
Ultimately, the truth pushed him into the mother of all flip-flops:
"Indeed, I did have a relationship with Miss Lewinsky that was not appropriate. In fact, it was wrong," Clinton said in August of 1998.
So what's right to think when candidates change their minds, or their positions, or even their votes? Here's my technique: if sometimes they say what they really believe, and sometimes they won't... then I trust them all, until I don't. I'm Andy Hiller, and that's my instinct.
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