Of course Democrats and the partisan media prefer to euphemize Kerry's frenetic policy changes, citing them as evidence of his mental acuity. He's not a flipper, but a genius. But if they really believed his flips were something to celebrate, they wouldn't have made such a colossal deal of his recent Iraq speech in New York.
Kerry made major news that day simply for stating his position on Iraq less equivocally than he's been willing to do in the past. All of his supporters expressed a collective sigh of relief that he'd finally arrived at a position that would substantively distinguish him from President Bush on Iraq. The partisan media looked on wistfully as John Kerry finally said, "No, I wouldn't have gone to Iraq? America is not safer than it was before Saddam's removal. Bush is a lying scumbag ? blah, blah, blah."
Nevertheless, liberals continue the charade that Kerry's customary refusal to stick with a position is a positive. Not long ago, a liberal elitist columnist spent his entire 700 words laboring to recast Kerry's embarrassing self-contradictions as the product of an enlightened thinker poised for leadership. Another suggested that Kerry's 180s show admirable flexibility in a man who is willing to examine new evidence and adapt to changing circumstances. Others have said that Kerry's flops flow from his sophistication, complexity and ability to appreciate "nuance."
Comedy Central's Jon Stewart told Katie Couric that efforts to paint Kerry as a flip-flopper are "silly" and "not really the case." I agree with Stewart that these efforts to paint Kerry as a flip-flopper are silly, though not in the sense he surely means it, but rather in that they trivialize a deeper flaw in Kerry. That is, when Republicans characterize Kerry as a flip-flopper, they leave the impression that he's merely wishy-washy, irresolute and indecisive.