Flip-flopping. How important a character flaw is flip-flopping? Just about the most important thing in the world, said everybody in the Republican Party in 2004. It was so vital, Bush insisted in 2004, it was better to vote for a candidate you don’t agree with than to vote for one who has changed his mind on something. (“Even when we don’t agree, at least you know what I believe and where I stand.”) Even Mitt Romney gave a speech ridiculing John Kerry as a flip-flopper. Now, it’s not such a bad quality, after all, to have the ability to admit when you’re wrong.
Negativity. The challenger thinks it’s a devastating admission of failure that the incumbent has to tear down his challenger rather than run a positive campaign. Amazingly, Karl Rove, who defined this tactic in 2004, now weeps bitter tears almost every week over Obama’s meanness.
Politicizing foreign policy. In 2004, Democrats were furious that Bush used the 9/11 attacks as a political asset. Now, Republicans are indignant that Obama is running on having killed Osama bin Laden. (Of course, the difference is that 9/11 was at best something Bush had no responsibility for and at worst a colossal blunder, while killing bin Laden is an actual accomplishment.)
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