Change is in the air

Change is in the air this political season.  Truth be told, whenever politicians gather or speak to us, we can expect change.

They have a tendency to change their positions.  Tendency?  Hell, it’s part of their DNA to change their positions.

As it should be.  They should be willing to change their positions on the issues of the day.

Yes, we have seen Senator McCain change his position on the Bush tax cuts.  He changed his position on offshore drilling.

Meanwhile, Senator Obama has changed positions on so many topics we cannot keep up with him.

John Kerry was famous for changing his positions. You recall he voted for something before he voted against it, before he...  We expect this from our politicians.  First, we expect them to say one thing to one group and the opposite to another.  That is not so much a change of position as it is the holding of two positions.  Navajos call this speaking with forked tongue.



However, we also expect politicians to simply say something one year, then change it a year or two later.  With Senator Obama we are coming to expect this from week to week.

We scorn them when they do this. We laugh that they change their deeply held beliefs on the turn of a poll or two.

However, we ought to consider a few pertinent items.  One is that these guys are not academics.  They have not spent their lives researching topics and issues.  They have not written treatises based on their research.

They are simply not experts on various issues.  For instance, neither of the presidential candidates knows a lot about economics.  They admit they don’t.  And their comments prove it.

If they were truly expert in certain fields, we could expect them to have worked out solid positions by now.  We could expect them to stick to those positions.  But they are not experts in defense, foreign policy, economics, social security, etc., etc., etc.

What they do know is what they have devoted their careers to.  They know politics.  And, to some extent, they know how to behave as executives, as CEOs.  I say “to some extent” because neither one has run an operation with a thousand employees.

 They also know how legislatures work.  They know good legislators have to be flexible.  They have to be willing to swap horses.  They have to give a little to get a little.  And all that.

 As politicians they know how to read polls.  They know how to read and sense the mood of voters. 

 They know a cardinal rule of political life: Leaders are those who sense where the public is moving and get out in front.  Yes, good leaders sometimes draw a line in the sand and stand firm no matter what the public howls for.  But more often they try to fashion policies that a majority of voters will like.

 That being the reality, we should expect politicians to change their positions.  The public is howling for offsore drilling these days.  And so John McCain has suddenly become a drill-now guy.  And Barack Obama has suddenly warmed to the idea of offshore drilling.

 Those may be good political moves for them.  Good political moves will get one of them to the White House.

 You may well ask “If they change positions so easily, what do they truly believe in?”  Often we only know when a crisis arrives.  In many a crisis, the polls and mood of the country are of little help.  When the president deals with the crisis we see his true colors.

 Senator Obama promises change.  He is safe doing so, because we are getting plenty of changes from both candidates.  Changes in their positions. And that’s not going to change.

 From Tom ... as in Morgan. 

                  

For more columns and for Tom’s radio shows (and to write to Tom): tomasinmorgan.com.

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