I am BARRY HESS > Blog

Do-Si-Do

Just for the sake of debate I looked up some Bush flip-flops. (partisan and I couldn’t find an more recent posting)

All the documentation is not there, but I have heard of a lot of those. I wouldn’t necessarily call a broken promise a flip-flop, though (anyone tired of the word “flip-flop”? I will from here on call it a “do-si-do”). And of course Cheney has had his share as well, most notably railing against Kerry for voting for military cuts Cheney himself helped propose. I would imagine one could take any candidate with more than 5 years of political service and call him a do-si-doer.

It doesn’t change Kerry’s record, though. Adding fuel to the fire. :)

It seems to me that both candidates have made very political, focus group influenced decisions that can now be characterized as recent do-si-dos, which after all are way more relevant then do-si-dos two to three decades ago. Good examples would be Kerry voting against a military funding bill while Howard Dean was railing him for voting for presidential war authority (though Kerry was in support of an alternate military funding bill for the same $ amount, a bill Bush would have vetoed) and Bush’s anti-Homeland Security stand until he realized it was almost unanimously supported (he finger pointed Democrats for not supporting the then modified legislative proposal).

Bush is a very good politician in that his campaign can really feed off people’s basic instincts. Kind of like lowest-common-denominator campaigning (e.g. Arnold calling people “girly-men” over-and-over). Things like saying if we elect Kerry the US will be attacked, saying Kerry would rather have Saddam Hussein ruling Iraq, and coining the pretty childish “flip-flop” (SORRY!) Kerry synonym. Bush is also really good at turning potential damning situations on their ear. His political history here is one that makes Clinton publicly acknowledge how impressed he is with Bush’s political organization.

On the other hand, Kerry has had an inconsistent message and he has been kowtowing to people on every side of the fence, politically speaking. He has yet to define himself, and it is getting kind of late. He has also been very poor at responding to criticism. For instance he could have said “I voted against [military] funding because there was no offset to the spending” rather than “I actually voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it”. Who wouldn’t use that soundbite?!? What Kerry is doing is exactly why Senators rarely get elected to the Presidency. Playing the issues like this doesn’t exactly lend itself to the executive branch. Neither candidate’s “message” leaves a real great taste in my mouth, but I have a strong aversion to things that are taken out of context and clearly manipulative. It is a smart move politically and probably why I know informed people voting both ways, but I don’t know any woefully uninformed people voting for Kerry.

Yes, I’m TiVo’ing the debates. They will be a real important aspect of this, I believe. If Kerry wants to have any chance, he’ll need a clear, consistent message throughout each of the debates. I’ve made my decision, but it is not out of the realm of possibility for the debates to change my mind. I’d love to see someone give me a relatively detailed plan for how they are going to work toward wrapping up this war as safely and effectively as possible. I’m tired of discussing Vietnam records and do-si-do’ing. I want to discuss the issues (think I’ll check out each candidate’s web site for some information) and hear what each candidate’s plan is to address them as well as how he hopes to pay for his plans. I need WHY’S and HOW’S.

It will also be interesting to see what the reaction will be to Bush deploying more troops after the election, because I’m quite certain it will happen. I’m also quite certain it won't be brought up by Bush in the debates.