They were against the debate before they were for it.
Republican Senators Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, John W. Warner of Virginia, and Gordon H Smith of Oregon assured that Democrats would pick up at least three new seats in the Senate when the 111th Congress begins in two years.
The blunder baffled political analysts, who believed no politician would ever change his or her mind again after the lessons learned from John Kerry.
Kerry, the Democratic nominee for president in 2004, lost the election because he changed his mind. He was for an $87 billion something-or-other before he was against it. (It just sounds so conflicted.)
After Kerry's change of mind cost him the presidency--FLIP-FLOPPER!!--conventional wisdom held that no politician would ever change his or her mind again. Many politicians even carried this principle into their private lives, causing untold instances of suffering.
Just imagine if Senator Orrin Hatch, of Utah, was for Britney Spears before he was against her. I mean, Hatch is hip with the drug-abusing-artist scene, but the head shaving stunt might have turned him off.
If so, Hatch simply has to bite his lip and live out the rest of his days pretending he still likes Britney Spears. The double life is hard on morally correct politicians like Hatch, but some folks will do anything to keep a job.
The alternative leaves politicians open to charges of being human--after all, common folk (like you and I) change all the time. Some of my peers from high school have probably decided to stop getting wasted all seven nights of the week. In other words: they were for permanent inebriation before they were against it. But that's why we are just common folk and politicians are the big wigs.
So why did Senators Hagel, Smith and Warner commit hara-Kerry? In retrospect, friends say, there were warning signs. Senator Gordon Smith had an Oprah moment last December when he gave an impassioned speech against the Iraq War. The speech came one month after the Democrats routed Republicans in the 06 elections.
Senator Hagel, long a tool of the Bush administration, only began to publicly clash with the administration on Iraq in the past few months--about the time he began to ponder those 08 elections.
Senator Warner who also faces election, if not fossilization in 2008, has experienced a similar coming-to-God awakening on Iraq.
Political suicide is infrequent, but especially painful and rare in the manner that John Kerry chose. Far better to find an exit from politics for fellatio than to suffer disembowelment for months because you changed your mind.
However, they chose to do it, and I--as a journalist dedicated to tradition and the highest standards of our blessed mainstream media--must dutifully depict Smith, Hagel and Warner as flip-floppers for the rest of their lives.