The warm weather has arrived, so it must be flip-flop season!

The last GOP debate found Republicans attacking each other over changing views on several issues. Most notable was John McCain’s assertion that he, unlike Mitt Romney, hadn’t changed his positions “on even-numbered years” or “because of the different offices” for which he was running. Romney claims he became pro-choice when a relative died after undergoing an illegal abortion, but has now returned to his pro-life stance. Such a lack of ethics evinces memories of a teary-eyed Al Gore blaming cigarettes for the death of his sister, despite his thunderous declaration to tobacco farmers that he supported and was one of them.

Now, soon after the Democrat-controlled Congress gave in on their Iraq timetable, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are getting attacked on multiple fronts for their votes and related flip-flopping. Rudy Giuliani accused the pair of moving from an anti-war to an anti-troops position, Republicans in general lined up to say the Democratic senators are soft on security, and John Edwards criticized Congress as a whole (of which he is conveniently no longer a part) of failing America.

A week ago, Clinton and Obama voted to advance a measure that would cut off funding to force a troop withdrawal by March 2008. Last year, the two voted against setting a timetable for a pullout, and until recently had avoided any notion of eliminating war money.

So flip-floppers abound. Which begs the question of whether it is better to stand for something, and maintained a principled stance (whether deemed right or wrong), rather than pander to the often radical wings of your party. When you are so inconsistent, as Romney, Clinton and Obama have been, you open yourself up to bashing from rivals on both sides of the aisle. Naturally, the pre-recorded response of, “It is time to stand up and do something,” raises the question as to why it wasn’t it time before. The “I realized that I was wrong” strategy (though not in the Clinton playbook) often doesn’t fair well in the public eye, as it is difficult for a candidate to sell a flip-flop as a genuine change of heart, rather than have it projected as a mere ploy to do/say anything to gain some votes. Such lack of conviction leads to distrust from both sides: the resentful abandoned group, and the newly suspicious comrades. Considering the public’s general distrust of politicians, a little honesty and consistency could go a long way for a presidential candidate.