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Subject: Candidates who change their positions rss

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Bill Cook
United States
Massachusetts
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KHarris, who opposed California legalization laws in 2010 and 2015 now says that of course she supports pot legalization. Not picking on her, this sort of thing happens all the time with politicians.

Poll
When candidates change their position on an issue (choose all that apply)
I don't care much. What really matters is what they say now
It's a bit of a negative, as I suspect they won't really fight for that issue
It's a bit of a negative as it makes them wishy-washy and I fear they may change their minds on other stuff
It's a bit of a positive, as it shows they are flexible and not rigidly locked into positions.
      55 answers
Poll created by EMBison


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Mike Stiles
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Timescale matters a whole bunch for this kind of things.

That said, George HW Bush undoing "Read my Lips" was probably the bravest thing I've seen a national level politician do.
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Richard Poole
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Doing "read my lips" was the dumbest thing he did, though.

What a politician says has nothing to do with what a politician does. If a politician says they've changed their minds about legalizing marijuana, after pushing to NOT legalize it, I have no choice but to assume that they are still against legalizing it. I mean, they don't face any real repercussions until election time, and often not even then, and I NEVER take anyone on their word when pitted against their own self-interest.

Edit: to clarify, it's possible they only held their original position because it was politically convenient, but in that case I have to assume they have no core belief about the thing and will just go whatever way the winds are blowing, which is also not what I want in a politician.
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Brian S.
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Minneapolis
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Really depends on the person flip-floping and which way they flop.
 
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Mike Stiles
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Escapade wrote:
Doing "read my lips" was the dumbest thing he did, though.

What a politician says has nothing to do with what a politician does. If a politician says they've changed their minds about legalizing marijuana, after pushing to NOT legalize it, I have no choice but to assume that they are still against legalizing it. I mean, they don't face any real repercussions until election time, and often not even then, and I NEVER take anyone on their word when pitted against their own self-interest.
We need to accept that people are willing to learn and come around. imo, best we can do is try to analogize from their general demeanor how legit they are on their conversion.
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Richard Poole
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I don't think we do need to accept that, at least not when talking about politicians. I don't disagree that politicians CAN learn and come around, but how can you untangle that from those who merely feign learning and coming around? I don't have confidence in my ability to sift truth from professional manipulators. The system rewards deceit way too much for me to accept at face value any turning over of new leafs.

I mean, if a politician wants to admit the error of their ways, I'm all for it, but the best predictor of how they'll vote is how they've voted before.
 
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Alexandre Piquet
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windsagio wrote:
Timescale matters a whole bunch for this kind of things.
This !
And for social/health issues, it's important also to see if/how the scientific has evolved.
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Christopher Yaure
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If a politician changes their stated view on a single issue that was not core to their ideology, I accept it and may applaud it (Obama and gay marriage). If a politician changes their view on an issue that is central to their ideology, I am at best skeptical (Byrd and racism) and will require time and consistent application of the new view to accept it.

Either way, I am almost always happy if they move in the direction I prefer.
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Edgar the Woebringer
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I think in this case, and with the Obama example above, it's more a case of being unwilling to buck the tide. They opposed something when most people did; they now support it when most people do. As noted, I'm glad they have changed to the (IMO) reasonable position but I am skeptical of why.

When the chips REALLY get down then you get to see who has a backbone and who is willing to stand up and be counted. The Iraq Invasion being the prime recent example.

 
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Christina Kahrl
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There has been extraordinary readiness to forgive political figures who, however belatedly, followed the polls and walked back their opposition to marriage equality. It remains to be seen if all of them will be as scrupulous on full equality for all Americans in public service, public accomodations, or benefits for taxpayers as well as public servants.
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Rich Shipley
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It seems counterproductive to keep complaining once someone agrees with you.
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Moshe Callen
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Changing positions without explanation is suspicious. Saying "I used to think X but now I think Y and here's why" is good.
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J J
Australia
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I'm okay with people, even politicians, changing their minds. It is far better than a dogmatic idiot who won't change no matter what. That sort of person simply has no business being anywhere near government.

But the real issue for me is always why they changed their mind; what was really behind it? Are they the sort of person who actually considers facts and thinks, or are they just chasing votes?
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EMBison wrote:
KHarris, who opposed California legalization laws in 2010 and 2015 now says that of course she supports pot legalization. Not picking on her, this sort of thing happens all the time with politicians.
I'll just note that Kamala Harris was a District Attorney in 2010 and the California Attorney General in 2015; as such, she had to support the current law in both her official capacities and to make nice with law enforcement. As a Senator, she has a lot more freedom.

On this particular issue, we now have years of experience with legalization, and none of the catastrophic predictions have come true.

In general, not being able to change positions makes for poor governance. Times change and knowledge changes. And we need cooperation and compromise that isn't a code for, "Do it my way."
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Bill Cook
United States
Massachusetts
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Tall_Walt wrote:
EMBison wrote:
KHarris, who opposed California legalization laws in 2010 and 2015 now says that of course she supports pot legalization. Not picking on her, this sort of thing happens all the time with politicians.
I'll just note that Kamala Harris was a District Attorney in 2010 and the California Attorney General in 2015; as such, she had to support the current law in both her official capacities and to make nice with law enforcement. As a Senator, she has a lot more freedom.

On this particular issue, we now have years of experience with legalization, and none of the catastrophic predictions have come true.

In general, not being able to change positions makes for poor governance. Times change and knowledge changes. And we need cooperation and compromise that isn't a code for, "Do it my way."
As DA I can understand her need to enforce the law. But I would expect her above all to see the harm done by enforcement of the law and, if she we were the kind of person I want as POTUS, I would expect her to by crying out for changing the law, not keeping the status quo.
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Vic Lineal
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The Democratic establishment has this wonderful skill to oppose every bit of progress until just after a clear social majority supports it, and then turn around, present themselves as its utmost champions and use the issue to hit everybody else in the head in a fantastic theatrical display of moral self-righteousness.
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Daniel Edwards
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I change my positions fairly often as I learn more about things or hear different perspectives. I expect any rational person/politician to do the same.
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Chad Ellis
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Echoing a lot of people here, the why is most important to me. Sometimes a politician holds a "strong, principled" position and then reverses it and it looks to me like it's pure political calculus. That makes me trust them a bit less, and tells me that if they're doing what I want them to do it's not because I've voted for someone who shares my priorities but because I live in a voting area that does.

See, for example, Romney on abortion.

If, however, a politician grows over time then I take that as a positive.
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Born To Lose, Live To Win
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Sometimes talk is cheap. On the campaign trail lots of things get said, but then votes end up going different ways. Thats one advantage that politicians who work their way up through local/state politics have over newcomers, they have a voting record to backup what they say. Unfortunately, this goes the other way and makes her new statements seem like pandering.
 
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