2008-07-17 / View From the Middle

View From The Middle

Obama/McCain - Now I'm Doing The Flip-Flopping!
By Charles Rogers


While all the media pundits, talk show hosts and round-table discussers are discussing how much Senator Barack Obama is flip-flopping on his basic, left-leaning philosophies... and while those same would-be seers are remarking on the remarkability of Senator John McCain's backtrack-ing on some issues, I must profess my own flip-flop-ping on both candidates.

Months and months ago, when there were, I think, sixty candidates for the Democratic primary contest and forty-two for the Republican, I had a premonition that the final contest for the Democratic side would be between Obama and Senator Hillary Clin-ton. At the same time, I thought the Republican ace would be between McCain and Senator Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas. Turned out, as you know, that Huckabee was the last candidate (just about) to drop from the GOP, leaving McCain all alone there, so he could watch Clinton and Obama fight it out.

Which they did and did and did, ad infinitum, until we were all so tired of those two - as they began bickering like husband and wife - it was a relief when Obama finally won (not by much, though!).

At first, I liked McCain. Here was a straight shooter. He'd been around; a war hero and something like 17 years in the Senate. He knows how a law is pass-ed and not passed; he knows who's trying to lobby him and who's not and, well, where the vote on a certain bill - whether it's pork barrel or not - should be placed. If a crucial subject is political in nature and needs a figurative or literal boost, he knows that too. It's what they do in Washington. It's how our government is run. Here's a real pro, I thought. Here's a guy who, if he gets away from the George W. Bush stigma, could lead us in the right direction.

Then I listened to Barack Obama, oh he of the somber, effete, elite, oratorical voice and elegant demeanor. Frankly, he looked pretty sharp to me. His speeches had me pause in my tracks. What about this "change" business? Heaven knows we need change in Washington. And he was talking with some sense, too. Although I couldn't imagine all our troops could possibly be completely out of Iraq in 16 months - and I differed with him on that count from the start, as well as his thoughts on gun control and talking face-to-face with Iran leaders.

However, by his rhetoric and cool approach, he compelled me to listen through his speeches while he was on the stump. Maybe it might not be a bad idea to talk to Iran's leaders; maybe that wiretapping that's going on isn't such a good idea after all; may-be I should listen to him a little more often, I thought.

But then he beat Hillary and - as if he was struck in the head by a magic wand - he became...you guessed it: just another politician!

Now - just like a politician - he's beginning to flip-flop. Oh, you can be sure he applauded the over-turn of the gun ban in Washington by the Supreme Court; and, oh, yes, about that wire tapping: well, maybe in some cases it would be all right; and, well, you know that Iran thing? Well, maybe there should be some preparations before we link arms and clink glasses with those guys. And oh, yes, when it comes to Iraq, well, we can't leave that country all alone, can we?

As for McCain's flip-flopping along the way...I repeat: He's a seasoned politician. What do politicians do? THEY FLIP-FLOP! Except that he pretty well knows how to do it, and therefore people are not too surprised when he does. Simple as that.

As for me - I liked Obama (I wish he spelled it with an apostrophe like the Irish: O'Bama. Then at least I could relate to him). Then I liked McCain. Then Obama. Then McCain.

Then I realized I'm doing more flip-flopping than they are!

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