John Kerry: The Case for Flip-Flopping

Two of the things that John Kerry must do if he is going to have a chance should he run for the 2008 nomination are to both show that he is not the flip flopper as portrayed by the right wing noise machine and that he has the expertise and knowledge to respond to the mess which George Bush will leave behind. He does both in an op-ed in The Washington Post entitled The Case for Flip-Flopping: When Resolve Turns Reckless. He starts out by turning the flip flop charge against George Bush in writing, “There’s something much worse than being accused of ‘flip-flopping’: refusing to flip when it’s obvious that your course of action is a flop.”

Kerry provides many examples of how Bush’s policies have flopped, and once again argues for his recommendations of using diplomacy. To justify speaking to our enemies, he even notes the actions of two previous Republican Presidents:

Conversation is not capitulation. Until recently, it was widely accepted that good foreign policy demands a willingness to seize opportunities and change policy as the facts change. That’s neither flip-flopping nor rudderless diplomacy — it’s strength.

How else could we end up with the famous mantra that “only Nixon could go to China”? For decades, Richard Nixon built his reputation as a China hawk. In 1960, he took John Kennedy to task for being soft on China. He called isolating China a “moral position” that “flatly rejected cowardly expediency.” Then, when China broke with the Soviet Union during his presidency, he saw an opportunity to weaken our enemies and make Americans safer. His 1972 visit to China was a major U.S. diplomatic victory in the Cold War.

Ronald Reagan was no shape-shifter, either, but after calling the Soviet Union the “evil empire,” he met repeatedly with its leaders. When Reagan saw an opportunity for cooperation with Mikhail Gorbachev, he reached out and tested our enemies’ intentions. History remembers that he backed tough words with tough decisions — and, yes, that he changed course even as he remained true to his principles.

While there is the obvious irony is using The Case for Flip-Flopping in the title, John Kerry’s consitency and forsight on Iraq should be noted. While he made a mistake in trusting George Bush to keep his word and use the authority to use force as a last resort to attempt to achieve a diplomatic victory, Kerry was right in his early objections to the war. Kerry laid out the reasons not to go into Iraq except as a last resort several times before the war, including in his Senate floor statement, his op-eds in The New York Times and Foreign Affairs, and his pre-war Georgetown Speech. He protested at the onset of the war that we needed regime change in the United States. Fortunately American voters brought about a form of regime change in last month’s elections.

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  1. 1
    Mark Robert Gates says:


    © 2006 Mark Robert Gates

    The problem is, Kerry, never was a flip-flopper, if anything the accurate accusation against Kerry is that he tried to cover too many positions. He, fell for the Republican rhetoric, against left-wing and liberal ideology, and tried to cover all of his positions, as if being a Democrat, was actually evil, criminal and immoral, as Bush’ espoused. Kerry, failed to point out that the real flip-flopper, was and still is, George W. Bush.

    In all of Bush’ public life in his presidency, the history documents, Bush, would start out, always, at one position, his own, and when finally faced with enough public and congressional opposition, would flip-flop, to America’s wants and needs. All along, Bush’ has stood for Bush’ only, even to the point of wanting to prosecute people for questioning his ability to lead, and then, also, he has enough disdain for those he supposedly leads, to try to cancel our’ American liberties and rights, even free speech and free press, and also free religious choice.

    If, Kerry wants to be a successful VP, as the presidency slot is already filled, by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, then he has to be willing to be less polite, and launch persuasive counter-attacks. Kerry, needs to solidify his position that in America, politics is always opinion, and everybody is entitled to their political opinion, as there is no science or theology here, only freedom as an American to be part of the American government, as designed by our’ forefathers. Therefore, we need to impress on our’ neighbors, this left/right, Democrat/Republican divide, needs to be closed so we can get down to business, as there are many things, about a million, going unresolved here in America. Like people picking up our children off of public streets, and raping and molesting them, and then depositing them in a ditch. While, we tap phones looking for Terrorists, this terror goes on unchecked, and gives those evil monsters a chance to get an hour about themselves on, Nancy Grace, to record and watch over, and over, until they get caught.

    -Mark Robert Gates

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  2. 2
    Probus says:

    This op-ed further proves that Sen. Kerry truly understands what is at stake in the Iraq war and what our leaders must do to end the civil war. Truly, sending in more troops is not the answer. He did the right thing by going to Syria, Egypt and other places that are vital to the stability of Iraq. Without their support we will not find a resolution to the political discord in Iraq. Sen. Kerry has always had very strong positions in regard to the Iraq war and the mistakes made by this administration. His positions were and are always clear and precise. He was always against this war, and today he is the only credible anti-war candidate we have for 2008. I hope he runs again, he ran a good campaign in 2004. Had he not run a good campaign he wouldn’t have won the dem nomination neither would he have come so close to winning the presidency save for a few counties in Ohio.

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