Kerry or Bush: Who’s the Flip-Flopper?

By Gus Tyler

Published August 06, 2004, issue of August 06, 2004.
  • Print
  • Share Share

President Bush has charged his Democratic opponent, John Kerry, with being one great big flip-flopper who cannot make up his mind. He points to two cases. As a U.S. Senator, Kerry voted to give the president authority to go to war against Iraq. Now he declares that the war was a great mistake. He also served and served well in the U.S. armed service in Vietnam and then came home and denounced the very same war as an error.

Kerry can explain both seeming contradictions. When he voted to back the war, he based his decision on the faulty information dished out by the intelligence agencies. When the truth did out, Kerry was big enough to admit he made a mistake. After observing firsthand what the story was in Vietnam, he concluded that the venture was an error. He was not alone. Many men who held high government posts at the time later admitted errors in judgment. Put plainly, Kerry learned from his firsthand experience. Which means that he is a thinking — and courageous — man.

Meanwhile, Kerry and his crew have been pursuing a campaign of avoiding any mention of Bush’s flip-flop record because, it seems, that the Kerry campaign is intent not to further divide a dangerously divided nation by negative campaigning.

But in a country with freedom of the press, sooner or later, folks with access to the media were bound to start noticing some of Bush’s inconsistencies. A cartoonist who signs himself “RILEY?” ran a cartoon in the Pelican Press of Sarasota, Florida. Part of the text reads:

Mr. President, you say that John Kerry is a flip-flopper on issues. But you said in 10/02 that capturing Osama bin Laden is “our number-one priority.” But in 4/02 you said, ”I don’t know where he is. I have no idea. I really don’t care, he’s not that important.In 10/02 you were dead set against the need for a Department of Homeland Security. Seven months later, you thought it was a great idea. In 5/02, you were opposed to the creation of the 9/11 Commission. Just four months later you then supported it.

And so Riley goes on, covering issues from gay marriage, to tariffs, to nation building.

All of which does not mean that Bush is not doing the right thing when he changes his mind. An initial judgment may have been formed on faulty information. When Bush got the right information, he did what in his opinion was the right thing to do. Bush, like Kerry, may have the capacity to learn from experience — and, as a result, change his mind.

But where in the Constitution does it say that the president may change his mind any time he pleases to do so but no opponent may do so, on pain of his being vilified by the president using his “bully pulpit” to accuse his rival of being a “flip-flopper”?






Find us on Facebook!
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • For Moroccan Jews, the end of Passover means Mimouna. Terbhou ou Tse'dou! (good luck) How do you celebrate?
  • Calling all Marx Brothers fans!
  • What's it like to run the Palestine International Marathon as a Jew?
  • Does Israel have a racism problem?
  • This 007 hates guns, drives a Prius, and oh yeah — goes to shul with Scarlett Johansson's dad.
  • Meet Alvin Wong. He's the happiest man in America — and an observant Jew. The key to happiness? "Humility."
  • "My first bra was a training bra, a sports bra that gave the illusion of a flat chest."
  • "If the people of Rwanda can heal their broken hearts and accept the Other as human, so can we."
  • Aribert Heim, the "Butcher of Mauthausen," died a free man. How did he escape justice?
  • This guy skipped out on seder at his mom's and won a $1 million in a poker tournament. Worth it?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.