Sunday, September 12, 2004


Media Grasping At Straws Watch.

From the AP story Both Candidates Often Shift Positions.

While working relentlessly to portray Democratic Sen. John Kerry as a "flip-flopper," President Bush (news - web sites) has his own history of changing his position, from reversals on steel tariffs and "nation-building" to reasons for invading Iraq.
Good lord.

You have to read this whole story to believe it. The "reporter" repeatedly tries to portray President Bush's changes in policy-- or even the creation of a policy before a policy even existed-- as "flip flops" on the same scale as those made by Senator Kerry. It's a shameless hit piece taken verbatim from what must be the 47,529th DNC talking points memo issued this summer.

In most of the examples given, Bush clearly changed policy because events dictated changes in that policy. Kerry changes his positions daily because he forgets which ones sound best to the Associated Press.

Kerry spends time trying to convince us that he always held Wednesday's position-- unless, of course, his audience on Thursday wants to hear Tuesday's position. Then he's a television dolphin.

Some AP examples of Bush flip-flops:

Steel tariffs: Okay, maybe I'll grant this one. Bush made a bad call, Ripley-- a bad call. Policy was changed because it was stupid. But wouldn't the traditional definition of flip-flopping involve more confusion here? I mean, he supported tariffs, decided they were a bad idea, and changed his mind. The thought process was pretty transparent here. Again, if he followed Kerry's example, we *still* wouldn't know whether Bush supported tariffs or not. Bush would be campaigning on both positions, when he clearly is not.

Reasons for going into Iraq: That's right-- liberals like to think the war was based solely on the WMD threat, and once that threat turned out less than expected, BUSH LIED!

Yes, the WMD threat was the long pole in the rhetorical tent-- but a lot of other reasons were shaded underneath. Like ending the murderous regime of an avowed enemy of America, removing a safe haven for terrorists, advancing freedom and liberty in the greater Middle East. And Bush, and Cheney, and Rice, and Powell made them all, repeatedly, for anyone with a search engine to discover. I thought Kerry supporters appreciated nuance?

The Homeland Security Department: Again, how was this a flip-flop? Bush didn't want to set a cumbersome Department that changed nothing, so he waited until there was a proposal worth supporting (that setup a cumbersome Department that changed nothing; but that story is for another day). Ditto the 9/11 Commission recommendations for a National Director of Intelligence. I guess we've defined the definition of flip-flopping down.
"One moment they say the president's too stubborn and the next day accuse him of being a flip-flopper. It's generated to a point of incoherence," said Bush campaign spokesman Steve Schmidt.
I'll say.

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