The Union Leader’s advocacy of John McCain has become so fierce and lopsided that it has practically transformed itself into a pro-McCain 527 organization. It has not formalized the arrangement, which is lucky for it: If it had, McCain would, on his campaign-finance principles, have to try to shut it down.Of course, the fact that two conservative publications are going at it over McCain and Romney shows just how messy this entire race has gotten.
There is a lot to like about Senator McCain, and we do not fault the Union Leader for endorsing him. We do fault its double standards. The newspaper counts it as a damnable “flip-flop” every time Romney has changed his position or even his emphasis. McCain can switch his views on the very same issues without a disparaging word from the Union Leader
NRO is correct to decry double standards, but the double standards are certainly not exclusive to the Union.
And while they are entitled to their opinion, I did find this line extremely concerning:
For us, the most important question about a flip-flop is whether the movement is in the right direction.I fundamentally disagree with this line of thinking.
Here's why: Conservatives have been burned by candidates who run as conservatives, only to "squish out" when they are in office. As such, we must insist on someone deeply rooted in a governing philosophy. While primaries have a centrifugal affect, actually serving in office is quite the opposite: Once in office, the temptation and immediate rewards will always encourage conservatives to become more liberal (and thus, be more popular with the media, etc.). So having strong moorings is essential.
Simply put, if someone is willing to flip for you, they will also be willing to flip on you.