Obama’s Flip-Flop

President Obama recently changed his position on the issue of gay marriage.  This adds an interesting twist to the upcoming presidential election between himself and Mitt Romney.

One of the big criticisms against Romney is that he has flip-flopped on his positions in the past.  This could have been an area of attack for the Obama campaign.  However, with this quite public reversal, Obama may have given away this advantage.

There may be some strategic advantages to this change of heart though.  It could serve as a distraction issue.  It may be better for Obama’s election hopes if the country debates the merits of gay marriage instead of the state of the economy for example.  Additionally, if the majority of Americans are currently in favor of gay marriage, this may become an even greater advantage to Obama than Romney’s past flip-flops.

The upcoming election, with gay marriage as a hot topic, and a Mormon running for office, could make for a very interesting season for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

3 Responses to “Obama’s Flip-Flop”

  1. 1 larryco_ May 16, 2012 at 6:07 am

    A few points on the concept of “flip-flop”:

    1) It’s interesting that another blog referred to the “evolution” of President Obama’s – and I always refer to any standing president by their title out of respect – position on gay marriage. Isn’t language a powerful tool? As they say, one person’s “terrorist” is another person’s “freedom fighter”. It has often been noted how the results of surveys, seeking basically the same information, can differ wildly based on the use of just one “pressure-point” word.

    2) Once the term “flip-flop” referred to someone who jumped back and forth on a position many times – something children often accuse their parents of doing. Now it is used simply to show that a politician has moved from one publicly-stated position in the past to a position that seems to contradict their past stand. It is always used negatively.

    3) The individual who has come under fire most this current presidential campaign for “flip-flopping” is Mitt Romney. It has been used to show him as indecisive, pandering, and unworthy to assume the country’s highest office.

    I seriously dislike “flip-flop” – both the term and the article of clothing. I think how my own opinions are quietly ever-evolving, with the luxury of not being a public figure who has past quotes thrown back in my face. I heard that Hugh Nibley once said something to the effect that he will not try to defend anything that he has written that was more than 3 years old. I like that people change their mind’s as they gain further light and knowledge.

    In the case of President Obama’s change of stance on gay marriage, it is not the position that I support, and hence, would not be viewed by me as “further light and knowledge”. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t believe that he has carefully examined the issue. In the same fashion, there are stances that Governor Romney took in Massachusetts that I like better than the perceived flip-flopped position that candidate Romney currently has. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t respect the process that he has gone through to reach his decision and I am not inclined to chalk up every position change to “playing politics”.

  2. 2 Stan Beale May 16, 2012 at 6:56 am

    There are three key differences between Romney and Obama in terms of “flip flopping”. The first two focus on Romney and the last on Obama.

    1. Romney has changed so many positions it boggles the mind: abortion, illegal immigrants, nationalization of Romney care, gay rights, and the ability of gays to adopt being simple examples.. In the last example it took only one day to flip flop.

    2. Romney folds like a cheap accordian anytime the religious right complains. The failure to defend his appointment of Richard Grennel as a foreign policy spokesman is a prime example. Grennel had no choice to resign because if a President or a Preidential candidate does not support you, then your power and authority has been forever damaged.

    3. Romneys “el foldos” seem to have no other basis than political advantage. Obama’s change is very problematic in political terms. Several of the “swing states” he needs to win have very large numbers of Catholic and/or evangelical voters. Pennsylvania and Ohio being prime

    One thing that is not mentioned when discussing polls is the position on same sex marriage by age group. Older Americans are against it and younger people approve of it. Guess who votes. Remember, out of over 20 elections, same sex marriage has been the winning side only once.

  3. 3 Jamie Turner May 19, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    In governments “by the people” elected officials are supposed to act, not according to the dictates of their own conscience, but in accordance with the wishes of the people. The commonwealth of Massachusetts is a politically liberal state. Government officials representing the will of the people would therefore be forced to take more liberal views if they were respectful of representing the will of the people there. When shifting between representing the will of a state to representing all the people in an entire country, it is not the views of a candidate which flip-flop, so much as they are representing the will of a different population of people. In short, I think Romney’s voting record exhibits his willingness to listen to, and vote “by the people”. Obama seems more intent on subjecting the people to his own will, than representing the wishes of those he is supposed to be serving.

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