Inexperience, shallowness, evasiveness and outright lying are all part of lesser politics but “flip flopping” stands out as the most obvious and the most hated of ulterior motives in a political wannabe and more so in a presidential candidate. Essentially flip flopping is pandering to a specific crowd or to put it more simply it is “tellin em what they want to hear.” It is changing your mind at a very convenient time.
Addressing the 108th Annual Convention of The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) in Kansas City, Hillary Clinton waited until the last few moments of her allotted time to bring up the war in Iraq. She admitted that to some degree the “surge” was working at least in some places such as Iraq’s Anbar Province.
Her message would have been better floated to a younger group who are more concerned about global warming or gay rights but she was denied that luxury. Most of those present at the VFW were seasoned vets and the families of veterans. The word “veteran” has its derivation in the word “experience” and that’s what this band of brothers was if nothing else. Their response to Hillary was guarded and clearly cool at best. The combined experience in defending this country would aggregate into hundreds or perhaps thousands of years for the vets gathered in KC that day. This is not a crowd easily fooled or persuaded.
The first question Senator Clinton asked was how to lead the world in the twenty first century toward a better and more peaceful place. It would seem that the men and women of the VFW tackled that question long before Hillary ever did.
Their answer was to march into hell if necessary and stay there until the job was done. It adds nothing to the hard won honor of these vets to think they can be so easily fooled by Clinton’s flip flops. Even if they were not insulted by it, there is no doubt that they know that pointing in the direction the tide is flowing and saying “this is the way” is not what they think of as good leadership.
Conversely, the sign of a great statesman is just the opposite of flip flopping. Statesmen first have convictions, secondly they make their convictions well known and last but not least they stand on those convictions regardless of changing trends, opposition or doubt. Usually those convictions are based on “the state of the union” or in 21st Century vernacular, “what is best for the country.” In a generation where situation ethics and highly movable modular convictions are shuffled and replaced as needed the shameless motive of mere politicians is always the same “elect me.”
It is speculative at best to say whether Carl Rove, the Presidents Press Secretary or some member of his staff advised George Bush to stop using phrases like “stay the course” as it pertains to the Iraq war, but stop he did. New phrases notwithstanding he has never given up the conviction that to cut and run is contrary to everything our county and our military stands for.
When this country was only 88 years old another President was being relentlessly hammered about his refusal to discontinue the most unpopular war in America’s entire history. President Lincoln was warned by partisans from the opposition parties and his own party that his chances for re-election would be near to zero if he did not seek terms with Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Horace Greely ridiculed and taunted Lincoln as editor of The New York Tribune, almost daily.
Lincoln had to observe the Confederate troops of General Early skirting and pummeling the Capitol itself while he held to his convictions. Not since the Revolutionary War had any President been so nearly humiliated and not until the events of 9/11 was Washington ever attacked again. Like it or not, George Bush is saddled with parallels to Lincoln that are both undeniable and similarly unwanted.
Greely told Lincoln that trying to conscript more men to fight in his lost war and the economic drain the Union was already enduring would be the end of the country altogether. Others reminded Lincoln that he had just lost the congress to the opposing party and that was the first sign of his impending doom. The loss of Congress to the Democrats in 2006 has likewise been used to predict the end of the Presidents policies and the Iraq War and perhaps even the GOP itself.
With the defeat of the Confederates in Atlanta and the routing of Early’s troops from Virginia the tide turned. Lincoln was easily re-elected and pulled off an electoral landslide in the process. Atlanta and Shenandoah was President Lincolns Anbar Province.
The outcome of the Civil War is well known while Iraq is yet in the balance. What is unmistakably similar is the dogged persistence and convictions of both Presidents Lincoln and Bush. Lincoln was known for saying that one of the chief gems of his character was the ability to keep his resolves when they were made. Lincoln was enamored and it might be said mentored by the morality and the sense of destiny that guided George Washington. But even more, he was driven by the example of President Andrew Jackson’s ability to stand by his decisions through hell or high water. This puts President George Bush in very good company.
Noting the unswerving convictions of George Bush doesn’t mean that there can’t be doubts. Iraq is immersed in a long attachment to Muslim Sharia law and may not ever respond to the freedoms democracy holds but only history can say for sure. Since all history is predicated on events over a period of time then George Bush will be vindicated by the immutable fact that his policy requires time to ever be a part of history.
One other comparison to Lincoln’s high level of statesmanship and that of President Bush is that they both were unashamed of their convictions. It is easy to say whether we believe in the President’s foreign policy but a bit harder to agree with more personal convictions such as his faith in God or his prayer life. Such subjective matters were openly espoused by only a few Presidents in our history.
Lincoln told Joshua Speed his lifelong friend and former classmate that he was wrong to be so skeptical about the Bible. Lincoln said “Take all this book upon reason that you can, and the balance on faith and you will live and die a happier and better man.”
Lincoln was not afraid to explain his deep faith in Christ and to tell his friends and foes that he called upon the Lord for guidance on a daily basis. George Bush shares this distinction along with Lincoln and it is for some Americans a plausible explanation of why he is able to stand on his convictions without wavering.
Hillary Clinton doesn’t possess any of the lasting qualities of great statesmen for many reasons and flip flopping on issues will follow her forever even if by some remote chance she is elected as President of the United States. She leaves many reasonable men and women asking themselves the question “is this the kind of person we want at the helm of this great nation.”
Rev Bresciani is a Christian author and a columnist for several online sites and magazines. His articles are now read in every country in the world. For articles and news from around the world visit “The Website for Insight” http://www.americanprophet.org