When Is a Flip Flop a Sensible Shoe?
So the stage fright was getting to me. Here are these real writers, posting philosophical, thought-provoking pieces. I’m lucky if I can write a post that doesn’t rely heavily on toilet humor and the shouting of the word fuck. What am I going to write about?
Then it hit me in the shower where I do my best thinking. I was listening to NPR and there was a story about the 2008 Presidential primary campaign. The piece centered around the angst among Republicans who are struggling with who has the biggest conservative cock.
As I shaved my legs, I listened to the coverage of the most recent debate and the exchanges about Rudy did this and Mitt did that and NOW they do this. But it’s less about what they did or do and more about what they think. Or believe. Thankfully, I was using a safety razor. Man, what a hate fest.
Will the real conservative please stand up? goes the cry from the red-meat crowd that comprised the Florida debate audience. These people are out for blood and they want to know who can best represent their hate-filled, stingy, authoritarian and intolerant agenda without scaring off the middle and swing voters.
Poor suckers. Look what they’re stuck with. Reformed liberals, maybe-Democrats in corporate clothing, a tired old Maverick, the droopy hound-dog faced Ronald Reagan pretender, Huckabee the Chipmunk, a couple of not-a-chance anti-immigrant Congressmen and Ron Paul.
Of course the only thing the Dems have on the Republicans is the fact that their candidates are better-looking, much more fuckable and they include Dennis Kucinich who is way more mainstream in his policy positions than the mainstream knows because the media has decided that a short man can never be the Prezdint. ‘specially a short man with ideas and funny ears or thick eyebrows.
Word to the media. I love short men. Fuck one all the damn time and even had the unmitigated nerve to make babies with him. And the short men? Hung. What they lack in vertical, they typically gain in, um, length. I’ve done a vast study of this. A real, honest and true survey. Without a grant even. Read the report.
Back to the matter at hand. So the Republicans are fussin’ and fightin’ about who’s the real conservative, who has the most burnished conservative bona fides, who has always been teeth-clenchingly conservative, who has unwaveringly stood by conservative principles and has never been tempted by the siren song of tolerance, kindness, fairness and justice.
Stroll with me back to 2004 when John Kerry was plagued with the label flip-flopper. Remember that? Well, Republican Rule #1 is don’t attack other Republicans. Though today’s current crop are coming dangerously close to the precipice of this rule (and let us note here that when they feel an intra-party bitch-slap coming, like creepy automatons, they switch into attack Hillary mode – it’s so apparent, you can almost hear the clicking and whirring of their innards as they switch attacks), they are loathe to apply the derisive flip-flopping phrase to their anyone in their own Party.
But isn’t “flip-flopping” what the gum-flapping and self-conscious sneering is about? Rudy supported a woman’s right to choose. Now he doesn’t. Mitt doesn’t like taxes now, but what about when he was the governor of Taxachussets? McCain once called the poison quill and bible club “bad for the Republican Party,” and now he bows down and kisses the fat, pasty asses of those same bigots and haters. He weeps over their graves and pays homage to their freaky “universities.”
Not flip flopping? Well, yes, flip-flopping by any other name is still as wishy washy.
Let’s think about flip-flopping. Aside from its obvious open-toed shoe reference (very wide-stance, no?), it’s a fun little riff on someone who makes a decision and then changes his or her mind. Wait. Does that mean if I choose chicken on the RSVP card and then I tell the waiter I as a beef when I see just how rare-pink delicious the prime rib looks, I’m a flip-flopper?
No, silly. It means that if you vote for something and then you learn more about what you’ve voted on and you make a political decision with an eye toward what your constituents, contributors and conscious want and vote differently on the same subject, but on a different bill……well……..flip flop, flip flop, flip flop.
Just like they chanted at the 2004 Republican Convention. A most delightful display of high-level, positive, political discourse and non-conformity by the rugged individualists who populate the Republican Party. The only thing missing was George Bush’s college cheerleader’s megaphone.
So get this straight because this is the real distinction. To commit to something be it an action, idea, policy, or movement, locks your sorry ass in – forever! When you close that door, it does not open again under any circumstances. Republicans believe this. To waver, to rethink, to waffle, to quibble, to equivocate is to sin. And the Republican Party shelters no sinners. Just ask them. There are no gays in Red States. No divorces either.
So how can Rudy and Mitt and John and the rest change their minds about fundamental platform planks, leaving the whole structure quite shaky? Pro-choice, anti-choice. Pro-guns, anti-guns. Reasonable taxes, drowning gubmint in Grover’s claw-footed tub. How’s that square up, bitches?
Easy, silly! It’s manly to make a clear cut change of ones mind when the matter is purely political. If it is for good reasons? Flip-flop, flip-flop, flip-flop. If it’s to cover your pasty, pimpled, aging patookie as you’re dodging slings and arrows delivered by rabid right-wingers? Politically expedient. Macho. Decisive. Oh, Daddy!!!!
It’s not so much a change of mind, it’s a new direction, a firm, dick-gripping decision because to have another strong man (read: Republican) in the White House is more important than anything else.
It would not suit the American Right to have an intellectual, a smart or thinking person in the Oval Office. A thinking, reasoning person could never have the mind-numbing conviction – even to the worst ideas, the absolute certitude, the unwavering confidence that our current president possesses. Nope, an egg-headed pussy would find himself or herself thinking too much, considering all sides of an issue, reconsidering and sometimes (gasp!) reversing decisions or having a change of heart.
How very unAmerican. Unless, of course, one has an election to win. Then, well, changing ones mind is necessary. It’s in the service of the greater good. Someone has to protect this nation from the liberals.
But think about it, really. Of course the Republicans won’t not go after each other with much vigor on the flip-flop issue. They’re already gearing up to run against Hillary. Obviously so. But don’t think for one second that the flip-flopper chant won’t be trotted out again during the general election to attack the Democratic candidate on any and every decision ever made.
Which brings me to the numbskullery of the whole flip-flop issue. Just as it was not wrong for John Kerry to change his vote on a bill, it is not wrong to change ones mind if one learns that he or she is wrong. Of course, having the grace and maturity to admit to being wrong is something else all together, but reversing decisions, changing ones mind, rethinking a position is not a sign of weakness. no more than absolutism, resoluteness, or balls out stubbornness are signs of greatness or strength.
Just think of beliefs you’ve held, ideas you’ve had, movements you’ve joined, positions you’ve advocated. Go all the way back because as far as I can tell, the flip flop attacks on Kerry weren’t limited to his most recent decisions or positions. So, yes, go all the way back. And think…..
I once believed in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and whatever my Ouija board told me. I used to think that the UPS truck delivered graham crackers (hey! it was brown like the graham cracker box!). I used to think that love and sex had something to do with each other. I once believed that at five feet three quarters of an inch, fashion model was a possible career choice for me. I used to think that having a college degree was the ticket to my dream job! I used to advocate for the flat tax (I know, I know), I used to think that I could home school The Spawn. I used to think that those things we’re taught about American ideals and the American Dream were true……….