The Corner

Changing Positions

McCain says that Romney is a manager and he (McCain) is a leader, and that Romney has changed his position on virtually every issue.

Romney has changed positions, but so, too, has McCain. He now argues for border security first, after fighting it most of the summer. And even this flip-flop, which Bob Novak found convincing, isn’t genuine because he has told others that his position has not changed. McCain talks up tax cuts now (which Jack Kemp points to as justifying his support for McCain), when we all know he fought the Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003. He claims the tax cuts he voted against should be extended because not to extend them would be the equivalent of a tax increase. No doubt about that, but he supports extending cuts he originally opposed, and refuses to acknowledge he was wrong about it. In fact, he now says he opposed the tax cuts because they didn’t come with spending cuts. The truth is (as I’ve pointed out here before) that McCain’s main argument in opposition to the cuts was that they favored the rich. McCain’s position on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, while claiming to have a pro-life record, is hard to square in my view. Yet, he is rarely challenged to explain it. This may not fall into the category of a flip-flop, but I believe his positions are contradictory. I feel the same way with his strong support for the battle in Iraq, which is pointed to as evidence of his superior national-security credentials. Yet, McCain opposed at least one amendment to his immigration bill that would have made it more difficult (albeit not impossible of course) for terrorists, criminals, etc., to work their way through the immigration system. Moreover, he has argued for closing Guantanamo Bay, which has certain dire legal consequences, and has made loose allegations of torture by our forces (the identity of tortured prisoners and the soldiers who did the torturing is never provided) as justification for conferring legal rights on the enemy even while they are detained offshore.

Call if flip-flopping or contradicting or whatever you want. But trouble it is.

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