Rebutting Bush's Cheap Flip-Flopper Taunt; the flip-flop smear campaign demonstrates that Kerry's a good leader and Bush is bad leader and a flunky with secrets to hide.
by Rob Kall
How many times have you made a decision and then found out more information, learned from experience, seen a bigger picture, seen the situation change, then changed your mind? This is the way life works. Trees that do not bend are blown down. People who are not flexible do not adapt and they become obsolete failures, or sick, or dead. Leaders who are not able to reverse their decisions when they see the need end up with bankrupt companies, or out of a job.
A president must be able to make a decision, then , when he sees new evidence, change his mind.
A president must be able to adapt, so he can easily and flexibly change direction, strategy, weapon, tactics, you name it, as changing circumstances warrant, just as the marine motto advises -- "adapt, improvise, overcome.
Unfortunately George W. Bush is good at using his advisors ' spin to improvise in an effort to explain and overcome bad publicity. He adapts like a mad scientist (since he certainly doesn 't respect real scientists) making up new explanations for his actions and decisions, once the original reasons no longer apply. Some people would call it flip flopping when he changed from invading Iraq to prevent the use of WMDs to getting rid of Saddam to creating a democracy. But one thing he rarely seems to do is to face the facts --to recognize that decisions he 's made are not working or that he 's had bad information --and then adapt, change his direction or plans.
It is sad and frightening to see a president and his advisors reveling in mocking the characteristics and leadership strengths that are clearly and certainly associated with the traits they consider to be flip-flopping. The problem is they just don 't get it and that 's a dangerous sign of bad leadership, of bad decision making, no worse, of the inability, perhaps even the fear to make decisions and the lack of character to face up to mistakes, to have the flexibility to adapt and improvise.
Of course, we know that "Bush 's brain, " chief advisor Karl Rove, believes in attacking an opponent 's strength and getting the public to see weakness in that area. A person of intelligence might take that knowledge and reach the reasonable conclusion that Rove, deep down, sees Kerry 's strengths as a decisive, adaptive, resourceful leader who needed to be attacked and slimed as wishy washy, just as he attacked his hero record. .
We might theorize that if Rove attacks his enemy 's strengths, then he might take the converse approach to his own candidate 's weaknesses, by getting the public to see his own candidate, George Dubya, as being strong in those areas where he is really the weakest. And so we see George Being promoted as strong on defense, strong on the economy, strong on the environment. Rove depends on his "base " of supporters to be ostriches, ignoring reality, just hypnotically listening to extremist religious ministers, Fox News, sycophant government agency heads appointed by Bush and toadying leaders like Iraq 's prime minister Alawi.
But I digress from the main theme of this article, which is the issue of use of the flip-flopping accusation to attack John Kerry 's qualifications for the presidency. Like so many of the statements that Bush and his republican cronies make, this accusation is a cheap, juvenile taunt, that not even a spoiled university frat boy would make. It 's fits high school level George W. Bush --the momma 's boy who couldn 't make it into any high school athletic teams, so he became a cheerleader. It 's a high school cheerleader taunt --give me and F, an L, an I, a P --what do you got? A pathetic campaign strategy by marketers with a candidate with no strong redeeming features. And the American public IS smart enough to dig through the deep pile of BS the Republicans have been spewing.
Karl Von Clausewitz , the most revered, respected and quoted of all military men, said, "The natural goal of every single plan of campaign is the point at which the offensive changes into the defensive. To go beyond this goal is more than simply a useless expenditure of power, yielding no further result; it is a ruinous one which causes reactions, and these reactions, according to universal experience, have always disproportionate effects. " Bush would probably call Clausewitz a flip-flopper for changing plans, for not going the distance.Of course, as Sir Aurthur Conan Doyle said, "Men scorn what they don't understand. " It may be fun to think of George Bush as the kind of guy it would be fun to have a beer or watch a football game with. But he scorns knowledge and reading. It 's okay for the average person not to read. But it 's not acceptable in the leader of the nation to be as ignorant as Bush is. It takes a person with a strong grasp of the world and the nation to lead with vision and character. Character is not enough if your grasp and vision of the world doesn 't ' extend past your backyard. Even Jesus wandered in the wilderness for years before he pursued his path. George Bush stayed in his back yard. After all, Daddy and his friends were there to save his butt when he, predictably, screwed up, again and again. Bryant Gumbel said, "Time changes every man. Unusual circumstances change them in unusual ways. " Before the 9/11 attack, George was a different person. The attack on our nation found a president with plummeting polls, flopping helplessly and aimlessly. After he woke up from his seven minute coma and stopped listening to "My Pet Goat, " and then stopped running away from the terrorists in Airforce One, he flipped into a new mode as the "war president. " He found a new persona that sent his ratings soaring as citizens of America and the world all pulled together in a unity never seen before. Psychologist Eric Hoffer, wrote, in his book, The Ordeal of Change, that "To dispose a soul to action we must upset its equilibrium. " And this was a gift and blessing to Dubya. He even said he 'hit the trifecta -- ' three different changes that allowed him to re-invent himself. Karl Rove might have called it flip-flopping if he were not in the Bush camp. When, during one of his rare unstructured press conferences, Bush was asked if he 'd made any mistakes, he replied that he couldn 't think of any. He might have shown himself to be a man of greater character and promise if he 'd followed the advice of Colin Powell 's words "Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty and persistence. " You have to have the strength of character to admit your mistakes, to recognize and admit your failures, to know you 've fallen down, so you can pick yourself up. Kenneth Boulding, an economist awarded honorary doctorates by over thirty universities; and president of the American Economic Association and president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science said, "Nothing fails like success because we don't learn from it. We learn only from failure. " A man who can 't face or admit his failure will remain a failure and bring down all that he touches. And that 's pretty much been George Bush 's history --running business after business into the ground, and then, using his office of Governor to make $14 million dollars in profit by getting the state to spend $200 million, using the war on Iraq to make the American public feel safe from terrorism, while actually wasting thousands of lives and hundreds of billions in resources that could have been better used in other ways to really, substantially protect us from terror. St. Augustine said " The confession of evil works is the first beginning of good works. " Dubya has not been there yet.
Sun Tzu, in his ART OF WAR, advises, " Therefore generals who know all possible adaptations to take advantage of the ground know how to use military forces. If generals do not know how to adapt advantageously, even if they know the lay of the land they cannot take advantage of it. If they rule armies without knowing the arts of complete adaptivity, even if they know what there is to gain, they cannot get people to work for them. "
Bush and his slime team may call it flip-flopping but the world 's masters of military genius call it adaptation..Of course, all Bush 's talk about Kerry being a flip-flopper can be mirrored in Bush 's own history. He 's changed policies many times. The difference is that even with nuance and context considered, his flip-flops are very much marks of inconsistency, instability and lack of a clear moral compass, or examples of him bowing to the pressure of adverse publicity or the special interests that own him. For example, he opposed the creation of the 9/11 commission, then he approved it. He goes the directions the corporate wind blows. Here's a sample list of Bush Flip flops. One other factor must be covered in dealing with the flip flop label. The Bush campaign and their PAC and 527 supporters have used distortions, half truths, phony or misleading data and blatant lies to bolster their claims that Kerry is a flip flopper. Claims about taxes voted on, military weapons voted against are bogus, when you look at the big picture --that Kerry, as a senator, as any senator would, normally voted against one version of a bill, then voted for another draft. These kinds of accusations are just flat out dishonest and the American people deserve better.
Rob Kall firstname.lastname@example.org is editor of www.OpEdNews.Com living in Bucks County , PA. You can find over 150 additional articles by Rob Kall at this Archive