Or maybe not.
I remember well the “bad old days” of the winter of 06-07 when Governor Romney was under very heavy fire (with much of the fire coming from Senator Brownback’s camp) for changing his position on abortion. According to the Brownback campaign, decisions reached after years of careful consideration and life experience represented “flip-flops” and Americans could not trust that the Governor was a “true conservative.” Well, if Governor Romney’s changed position is intolerable, what do we call voting for the shamnesty bill then voting against ten minutes later? Senator Brownback would call it “his plan”:
“I wanted to signal that I support comprehensive immigration reform, but now is not the time, this is not the bill,” Brownback said.
Brownback explained that his “yes” vote initially was to “showcase” that reform is needed. The switch to “no” was because he didn’t think this was the right way to do it.
Spokesman Brian Hart confirmed that Brownback planned the switch all along, ever mindful that presidential candidates face a tough time explaining vote switches.
I’m sorry, but I have to agree with Allahpundit. This is not just a lie. It’s a “special” lie:
Funny that he didn’t think to make this bold yet opaque statement of principle during the cloture vote on Tuesday, when he voted yes. Nor did he think to make it during the cloture vote that killed the first iteration of the bill on June 7th; in fact, he didn’t even show up for that one. Most curious of all, rather than switch his vote immediately after casting it, he waited ten minutes until the bill’s fate was decided to cast his by-then entirely meaningless “no.” And he did it all during a presidential campaign in which Republican voters are unusually nervous about the candidates’ commitment to conservative values.
All in all, the switch was actually dumber if he’s telling the truth here. Which, of course, he almost certainly isn’t.
Dear readers, voting “yes” and “no” on the same bill within the space of roughly 10 minutes is the very definition of a flip-flop. In fact, this entire event represents a nice object lesson in political decision-making. Politicians change their minds all the time. The good ones do it the way Governor Romney did–after closely looking at ideas and their consequences. We want people who learn from their mistakes to lead our country.
But Senator Brownback’s action represent the epitome of what Americans don’t like about finger-in-the-wind politicians. It made him look unprincipled, and his silly explanation makes him look dishonest. If Senator Brownback were a contender, this incident would have doomed his campaign. As it is, it merely renders him entirely irrelevant to the conversation.