Flip flop – the why is more important than the flip

Shrinkwrapped gets into the basis for resistance the change in Lessons from History and Neuroscience. While a sudden change in position, such as Sen Reid’s flip flop between November 2006 and April 2007 on troop funding support, are an easy binary metric, a much more useful measure of the politician can be made by learning of the reasons for the change. It may be that a polar change of position indicates an open mind and an ability to learn from new insight.

The current demand by our MSM and by many in the blogosphere that our politicians adhere to rigid, ideologically defined positions, and that anyone who changes his mind is a “flip flopper” …

For the current political season, would it be preferable to have reporters and commentators playing “gotcha” with Hillary Clinton viz Iraq or with Rudy Guliani viz abortion, or try to find a way for the candidates to fully explicate what their positions are, how they have evolved, or stayed the same, and how they arrive at their conclusions? Do we want a candidate who remains faithful to positions when conditions change, or is able to change his opinions and course when the situation warrants? And, most importantly, how do the candidates differentiate between their underlying, bedrock convictions, and their more expedient political positions?

What must also be considered is the difference between a change of opinion and a case of buyer’s remorse. We can value a change of opinion based on solid rationale supported by insight gained through effective learning. But when a decision has been made, that opinion has been turned into action. Subsequent change of opinion cannot reverse this action but instead must accommodate it. Buyer’s remorse is not to be excused by a halo of being open minded and able to change one’s views.

Comments are closed.