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September 2, 2015 / 18 Elul, 5775
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Flip-Flop To Victory


The electorate tolerates all forms of behavior that are inherently bad, but not so televised flip-flopping, which as conduct should carry no judgment. Yet rejection for flip-flopping is nearly always swift and severe for those unlucky or unable to dodge their past.

Would we not be better off if our president and others would admit to having been mistaken or to changing a position because of new or newly learned facts and circumstances? Of course that would be preferable to lying about or obfuscating a flip-flop, particularly on hot topics such as immigration reform, abortion and gun control.

There was a time when consistency was belittled as coming from small minds, but nowadays television prefers game-like action: any strikeout, tackle or slam-dunk will do.

So, then, let’s flip-flop and embrace flip-flopping, at least when it suits us. It surely makes no sense to condemn a candidate because he shifted his position to yours. A small cultural change of this sort might even refresh the otherwise stilted debates we suffer. Knee-jerk name-calling politics works for television, but the candidates aren’t auditioning for the Jerry Springer show.

Where we find it, let’s distinguish between the expedient and the courageous flip-flops, and recognize the maturity of the latter. Highlight films of gotcha politics are more fun to watch, but the function of televised debates is more serious than what they’ve become.

While we’re at it, let’s also enjoy the answers to the first question of the next debate: “Have you ever flip-flopped, and which one made you proudest?

Arnold Mazur is a retired attorney and international business executive who served in Robert Kennedy’s1968 presidential campaign.

About the Author: Arnold Mazur is a retired attorney and business executive who, defying the Arab boycott office, was first to establish in Israel a subsidiary of a major U.S. software company.


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It was the late Abba Eban who famously said that “the Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.” In his time that was for the most part true, and it arguably worked for Israel’s benefit, particularly when Israel found itself in a tight diplomatic squeeze.

Beginning with Kennedy and Nixon in 1960, major party nominations and presidential election campaigns have increasingly been subjected to forms of circus television we carelessly label “debates.”

Now that we’ve suffered, yet again, through the annual United Nations circus, has it occurred to anyone (other than New York City police officers) to question why we continue to tolerate the hypocrisy and waste of it all?

Small things make a difference. For example, as an old folk tale has it, a pebble in your shoe can cause more pain than a rock in your pocket.

Opponents of President Obama do not lack for reasons to criticize him or his administration. Not justifiably among them, however, would be the contention that Obama the candidate had misled the country regarding his intentions.

We need to learn from history. Once upon a time (nearly forty years but not so long ago, really) American foreign policy was being stymied, on every issue and continent, by a duplicitous Soviet Union, Confounded by the Vietnam War, President Richard Nixon and his foreign policy czar, Henry Kissinger, faced not so much crises that threatened America as murky messes that wouldn’t yield to unilateral resolution. Soviet partnership was needed but at best absent.

Former president Jimmy Carter’s controversial twining of Israel and the “apartheid” epithet created quite the fuss, as has the Biden construction affair and its aftermath of bloodying the Israeli nose. Unsurprisingly, if leaky reports are true, lurking in the background of both stories is the second-rate theorist Zbigniew Brzezinski, still hoping somehow to overcome the frustration of not being Henry Kissinger.

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