Thursday, October 25, 2012

Evolution or Etch a Sketch

The Sacramento Bee this morning wrote an editorial that is laughable.   But then I can trust the Bee to do that.   They comment (the candidate's) "jaw-dropping willingness to so blithely change his positions for political expediency should also worry voters about how effective he would be in the White House. How could he successfully negotiate with leaders in Congress or around the globe if they can't take him at his word?"

Are they talking about the candidate's oft repeated but broken promises to create the "most open administration in history?"   Or his promise that he would work with the other side to get "beyond" partisanship?  (Which resulted in the first major piece of legislation being adopted without a single vote from the opposition - which is unprecedented in the last several generations and seems to be significantly opposed by a substantial portion of the American public). Or even in his promise to close Gitmo?   Or to follow the rule of law?

The current administration has broken all of these promises and more. That does not even mention the whopper that they would solve our economic problems in the first three years (by any reasonable measure the economy is worse off than it was when the President took office in terms of debt, labor market participation rate, growth and a host of other factors).  But the Bee's scold was not for the person guilty of these transgressions but for his opponent, Governor Romney.   What is appalling is that the Bee is reacting to the caricature produced by the Obama campaign team.   One would hope that views of candidates would evolve.  The President claimed a few days ago that his views don't change - he is the guy he was ten years ago.  (Seemingly never informed by debate and discussion).  Governor Romney has not (to my annoyance) changed his views on immigration (which Obama did) or on the Defense of Marriage Act (which Obama did) but those issues evidently do not count for the Bee.

Candidates evolve.  Let's look at a key issue from my perspective.   In the original Romney plan on taxes he said he favored lowering rates and broadening the base.   About a month ago, he threw out a plan which would put a ceiling on the total number of credits and deductions that could be taken by a taxpayer.   Over the last couple of weeks, I have heard the campaign suggest at least two different figures for that ceiling - is that a flipflop or changing a position for "political expediency" or the example of a candidate who actually listens as he travels the country seeking votes?

If we did not have evolutions of technology, then we would have brick cellphones instead of the marvels we carry today.   If we did not have candidates that adjusted their thoughts as they learned more but adhered to some basic principles, we'd have the candidate that the Bee supports, the President.   If we go forward with that kind of rigidity, we should not be surprised when the American economy remains mired in puny growth and massive debt.

1 comment:

Jonathan Brown said...

Kimberly Strassel in the WSJ made the same point with a lot of documentation about Obama's switches (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203897404578078902106077268.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop)