The term "flip-flop" has come to be one of the most caustic charges that can be thrown at a political candidate, and rightly so. It's hard to like a candidate who appears to bend his views to suit whichever audience he's addressing, and candidates who insist on taking one position one day and another the next day don't appear to be serious. But sometimes we as voters and political observers take this position to an extreme, pushing people into never changing their positions lest they be termed flip-floppers.
Decades ago, comedian/storyteller Will Rogers said of politics, "I don't belong to any organized party. I'm a Democrat." That same philosophy could be used to describe the decision of the Republican Party to let Donald Trump moderate a Dec. 27 debate among GOP White House hopefuls. Trump, who still says he's pondering a presidential run should none of the current crop of candidates exhibit the ability to defeat President Obama next November, has no business injecting himself in such a debate, but more importantly, the Republican Party has no business allowing him to do so.
• Rep. Barney Frank has been one of the most unabashed liberals in Congress for more than 30 years, advocating all things left and marking business -- nearly any kind of business -- as the enemy of the people. Frank now says he won't run for another term, saying redistricting will put him at a disadvantage. The Massachusetts Democrat is well-known for his irascible nature, and during campaigns, his aides often tried to keep him away from voters, knowing he would offend them with his personality. The New York Times reported, "Those who admire him say Mr. Frank served up his sourness ...
Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, who was one of 12 members of the so-called Super Committee which recently failed to reach an agreement on deficit reduction, says he opposes the automatic spending cuts which are scheduled to occur because of the committee's failure. The automatic decreases in spending were intended as a sword over the committee's head to make sure the dozen members came together in compromise to do what was best for the country. They -- six Republicans and six Democrats -- didn't do that, and now Clyburn wants to change the rules.
Voters in this country are notoriously fickle -- even more so than football fans, and evidence of that can be found in the up-and-down nature of regular polls conducted to see which Republican presidential candidate is doing best. Each week it seems another contender has either caught the fancy of voters and surged to the top of polls or committed some blunder and plummeted like a rock falling off a cliff.
• We haven't been very impressed with the "Occupy" protestors at different sites across the United States -- most don't appear to have much of an idea of what they're protesting -- but unless there is something that doesn't meet the eye, police officers at the University of California-Davis used poor judgment in directing pepper spray at students who appear to be passively sitting on the ground. Further examination might provide new evidence warranting the officers' actions, but at first blush it appeared inexcusable.
Of all the nauseating things about the Super Committee's inability to reach a deficit-cutting deal, perhaps the worst is that the leaders of both parties have apparently spent months anticipating such an impasse and trying to lay groundwork to use the committee's failure to advance their own causes in the 2012 election. It proves once more -- how many times does this make? -- that most of the elected officials in Washington are interested not in advancing common-sense proposals but in trying to get re-elected and trying to make sure their own party dominates.
We live in troubled times. The United States is mired in the worst economic climate since the Great Depression, which has left thousands of Kershaw County residents with dire immediate circumstances and uncertain prospects for the future. Our military is fighting terrorism on many fronts, and the world in general has in many ways lost its respect -- and certainly its reverence -- for our country. Our federal government is strangled by political gridlock, and an overwhelming percentage of Americans say our elected officials aren't doing the job they were sent to Washington to do. Some people feel the moral and ...
• NBC is hiring former First Child Chelsea Clinton to do news projects. She will join Jenna Bush Hager, the daughter of ex-President George W. Bush, in doing work for the network, including the "Today" show. Looking at the kids of a former Democratic and Republican president, it strikes us that the duo might comprise the only semblance of political neutrality that left-leaning NBC has ever shown.
As much as we would all like to believe that judges are not influenced in any way by politics, the real world just doesn't work that way. Those who sit on the bench can't help but be influenced by the philosophies they have developed over their entire lives. So with the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to hear arguments about the fate of President Obama's health care plan, we can all brace ourselves for a firestorm of rhetoric from pundits, commentators and strategists, many of whom will see a sinister plot in the entire episode. Compounding ...
• We note with sadness the death of South Carolina native Joe Frazier, who was the heavyweight boxing champion of the world during the 1970s and fought memorable bouts with Muhammad Ali. "Smoking Joe" beat Ali and then lost to him in Manila in one of the epic fights of all times. He struggled thereafter with being Ali's whipping post but finally assumed forgiveness for the cruel taunts that Ali rained down on him. Frazier was, by all accounts, a thoroughly decent man, and he earned a spot in boxing history.
South Carolina voters have gained a reputation over the past few years of being able to accurately pick the Republican presidential candidate who will end up with the party's nomination. Candidates have recognized that, crisscrossing the Palmetto State in an effort to woo voters here. But with only a couple of months left before the state's first-in-the-South primary, voters in South Carolina haven't locked in on a particular candidate, which probably is a powerful statement about how ambivalent people are about the GOP field.
The conviction earlier this week of Michael Jackson's physician on a charge of involuntary manslaughter brings to an end one of the most spectacular-yet-bizarre careers ever witnessed in the glitzy world of show business. Jackson was an immensely talented individual whose life became increasingly eccentric as time went on, with well-publicized incidents which highlighted his abnormal behavior as an entertainer and in his private life.
• We're glad to see that President Obama has finally kicked the cigarette habit. Obama, once a regular smoker, has been struggling with cigarettes for years, but his doctor said recently that the president is now tobacco-free. That's a good thing.
Kershaw County has all sorts of unique things that make it a good place to live. One of those is the series of lakeside worship services that's held each summer on the shores of Lake Wateree. The project was begun more than 30 years ago as an outreach of Liberty Hill Presbyterian Church; Gene Rollins was not yet the pastor there, but he came to the church shortly afterward and helped spur phenomenal growth not only at the church itself but at the lakeside services.
We wrote recently of a change in the way KershawHealth is managing its emergency department, sending seriously threatened patients to one area for immediate, vital care while directing others who are less ill to be treated in a non-emergency system. It's cost-effective, but also provides quality care for both types of patients.
One of the problems with the expense of health care is the fact that many people tend to use a hospital's emergency room as their primary care facility, going there with normal ailments such as flu and severe colds. Emergency room care is expensive -- too costly to be used in that way. KershawHealth is no different than other hospitals in that regard, and the decision to "split" the emergency department there is a sound one.
Today, the Chronicle-Independent begins a series of articles summarizing the candidates and issues that will be on the Nov. 4 ballot, one week from Tuesday. Perhaps the most contentious race isn't between candidates but between "yes" and "no" on two referenda offered by the Kershaw County School District.
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