The high-minded definition of politics is: "the art or science of government; the art or science concerned with guiding or influencing governmental policy." It is only when you keep reading in Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary that you get closer to the truth: "political activities characterized by artful and often dishonest practices."
Many politicians change their minds or flat out lie in order to win or stay in office. Some announce their work is "not finished" and run again after pledging to limit their terms in office; others promise not to raise taxes and do; still others claim to be pro-life and then switch to the other side as a strategy to protect their political lives. Flip-flopping, shading the truth and denying that he said what he is on the record as having said are also expected in politics. It seems the one you want in office is the one who does these things less frequently than his opponent and on issues of less concern to you.
This brings us to John Kerry, whose sole attraction appears to be that he is the candidate the Bush-haters have settled on to limit the president to a single term. Not many seem enthusiastic about Kerry, the man. He is merely a tool, and an elitist one at that. If he were a hammer, he would be made of sterling silver. He'd be Tiffany & Co. to President Bush's Wal-Mart. Like an intern in the Clinton White House, Kerry is to be used for the pleasure and purpose of the Bush-haters. He inspires no commitment, no loyalty. He is just a ticket-to-ride.
What should concern principled Democrats is Kerry's record. He has a long history of changing positions on almost any issue, and so fast that he is on the other side of where he previously stood before most people notice.
The Washington Post took notice of Kerry's dangerous and constant shifts in a March 11 editorial. After observing that President Bush has shifted his positions on some issues such as nation-building and that "flip-flops aren't always bad," the Post got to the heart of the Kerry problem: "It's not always clear what, if anything, he's committed to.. Where are the bedrock principles that would guide him in office?"
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
TOWNHALL DAILY: Be the first to read Cal Thomas' column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com daily lineup delivered each morning to your inbox.