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Flip-Flopping with Integrity

I an earlier post, Public Financing, Integrity, and Mixed Emotions I discussed my mixed emotions on Barack Obama’s flip-flop on public financing. I dislike public financing of campaigns, and it’s nice to see the system receive a body blow, but at the same time, I have a serious problem with Obama’s action.

Before someone thinks I’m looking for nasty things to say about Obama, I should mention that I’m over 90% likely to vote for him come November. The 10% is giving me room to change in changing circumstances. I like him, despite certain policy positions, but I believe this action, as carried out and explained, was wrong.

I don’t believe politicians should be afraid to change their minds. If one is convinced by the evidence, then not changing one’s mind is more dishonest. But to change one’s mind honestly, and then to express that honestly is done in a different way.

What would I like to see a politician in such a case?

  1. Acknowledge the error. Say “I was wrong.”
  2. Present the evidence and reasoning for changing one’s mind.
  3. Avoid spin, and don’t blame everyone else.

I was watching a commentator the other day on I forget which network who commented that if Barack Obama didn’t reject public financing under the circumstances, he would have been committing political malpractice. The commentator went on to list the great benefits that would accrue to the Obama campaign and the Democratic party under these circumstances. It sounded to me as though one was advising someone to lie. They refuse. You point out just how much money one can earn from the lie. Would that make it right?

My problem with Obama’s decision is that he still believes in public financing, yet he’s not living according to that belief. Nothing changed except for the fact that he found out just how effective he was as a fundraiser. The only difference between now and when he made the promise is that he found out just how much benefit he could derive from staying out of the system. The 527s were a factor before and they are now.

If he had examined the system, and then announced that, while he used to support public financing of campaigns, he had learned the value of freedom, in the form of lots of ordinary people pooling their money to do great things, and thus he had come to realize that public financing was not the benefit he had once thought, I would have had no problem. It would be a simple changing of his mind based on the evidence.

As it is, even though his current stance is closer to my own, I am deeply disappointed with the way in which it took place.

Crossposted to RedBlueChristian.com.

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