Thursday, May 12, 2011

flip-flops in the modern age

it's a lot easier now to catch politicians flip-flopping than it used to be. a simple google search can often dig up what politicians have said about issues in the past and a lot of times it's even possible to find video of those prior statements. i would have thought that this new era would have kept politicians more in line. now that it's so easy to look up their previous pronouncements about stuff, it seems logical that they would be more careful when they switched positions, or at least come up with a coherent explanation for their change of heart before they do.

but that hasn't happened at all. in fact, flip-flopping has become a defining characteristic of the modern GOP, the party that came up with the individual mandate for health coverage, cap-and-trade to regulate pollutants, and numerous other issues that the national party is now almost uniformly against. this goes way beyond mitt romney. two months ago, newt gingrich completely reversed himself on whether he supported u.s. military intervention in libya over the course of 16 days. all but two of the GOP freshman class in the house (i.e. everyone except david mckinley and denny rehberg) recently voted to cut medicare even though many of those freshman got elected by running advertisements accusing the democrats of voting to cut medicare six months previously.

why isn't there a huge incentive for politicians to police their own consistency? it's almost like complete reversals have become so common that most of the time they happen they are not even viewed as newsworthy. but why not? jon stewart thrives on this stuff, but for the most part politicians seem to be getting away with it. and yet with records like these their opposition's commercials practically write themselves.