Being President in 2004 must be really important, and the candidates are in the say-anything mode. Flip, while he doesn’t really have time to talk extensively about 911 to the 911 Commission, says he will definitely fit it in between fundraisers and rodeos and NASCAR races. Further, Flip should be able to politically leverage the images of the tragic day because, as Marc Racicot told Don Imus this morning, it shows "the quality of his leadership." In fact, the Bush-Cheney 04 campaign manager said that when the President went to visit Mayor Guiliani the next day, they were standing above a 2000-degree concrete inferno, and "the secret service agents were really concerned."
Flop, on the other hand, says he voted for the war but "wouldn’t have done it the way Bush did." Wars of choice as designer jeans. We all want them, but only by our favorite label. Fashionable militarism says so much about a politician, don’t you think?
And never suggest that you can’t have a "military" war against those naughty terrorists — to point out that there is another way to solve the problem is fashion sacrilege, as Dr. Jeffrey Record at the Army War College discovered earlier this year.
Flip has the upper hand because he labeled Flop first. Flop has many opinions; Flop goes the way the wind blows; Flop was a soldier, sure, but he is really just a patrician blueblood with money.
Flip has his own identity issues. Today he is a "war" president, but when he had a chance to wear a uniform, the best you can say is Daddy pulled some strings. This is not a slam on the Guard — Dan Quayle and hundreds of other politically connected Vietnam-era boys did the same thing, but it doesn’t mean we aren’t going to notice when politicians talk about their service and sacrifice. Twenty years from now, if Flip maintains his current course as emperor, joining the Guard will be understood as signing up for America’s Foreign Legion, and we will fondly remember those young adventurers who gave their all in policing actions around the globe.
Flip says he’s a Texan, not Yankee royalty born in New Haven. Flip says he is a good caretaker of the country, but he can’t prove it by the businesses he’s destroyed in person or as president, the federal budgets he’s busted, the deficit spending he’s done, or his dangerous and careless overextension of military forces. Flip says he is a Reagan-style conservative. While Reagan presided over extensive government growth, Flip’s Republican mode is more accurately Nixonian. Tricky Dick threw his weight around overseas, while ensuring massive federal centralization and growth of government programs at home. Nixon and Flip share another key characteristic — contempt for law and unseemly craving for power. Like Flip says, "I do not need to explain why I say things. That’s the interesting thing about being President…[I] don’t feel like I owe anybody an explanation." Hear, hear!
Flip’s campaign approach also reflects the flip-flop theme. He "wants" small government, yet he has signed every bill sent to him by a ravenous Congress. Presiding over a unique jobless recovery, Flip mentions the job growth that has occurred on his watch, but not that it is entirely in the tax- and debt-funded government and military contractor sector.
But most importantly, Flip has leaped ahead in defining his opponent Flop as the Flip-Flop candidate. This is rich, even richer than the Flip and Flop political campaign chests. And soon, Flop’s comeback, rightfully so will be that Flip is actually the real Flip Flop candidate and Flop will run down the fruitful legacy of Flip’s flops.
Now — if you are thinking about voting, I hope I have helped you determine the better presidential candidate this year. Flip’s on top, but his past and present flops are more serious than Flop’s past and present flops, but this could flip if we fairly consider the future floppabilities of both Flip and Flop.
The choice is clear. If you must participate in the ritual casting of a vote this season, make a political fashion statement and go Libertarian, Constitution, or American Patriot. It’s trendy and fun, and while people may still talk about you, at least they won’t use words like flip and flop.
Karen Kwiatkowski [send her mail] is a retired USAF lieutenant colonel, who spent her final four and a half years in uniform working at the Pentagon. She now lives with her freedom-loving family in the Shenandoah Valley, and writes a bi-weekly column on defense issues with a libertarian perspective for militaryweek.com.