I remember when I first heard the term “flip flopper.” My neighbor kept calling someone she did not like a flip flopper then would burst out in laughter. However, I thought sometimes changing one’s mind is a good thing. Especially if after a vote you learned some facts or encountered unexpected effects of the vote.
This issue entered my mind again when I was listening to Virginia Delegate Glen Oder talk about which vote he most regretted: the one allowing for payday and car title loans. After he saw the effects it had on families and military in our area, he made it a mission to try to correct it. Many will remember him traveling around with “Sharky,” a stuffed shark with car license plates hanging around its neck.
With that statement, he won my respect. It is not easy to admit publicly that you made a mistake or that you would alter a previously supported opinion. We all have things in our lives we would like to re-do especially after we have the advantage of seeing the effects of that choice.
Recently at a forum, I heard Virginia Senator John Miller explain his logic for voting for a bill last year. This bill allowed people to take payday loans out when they reside in a state where payday loans are illegal. After the explanation, the moderator asked Senator Miller if he would vote on the bill the same way again. His answer was no; after reflecting on that vote, he would now vote the other way.
Mitt Romney also has to face this issue when running this year. This is not a new concern. Romney quoted Winston Churchill as having said, “When the facts change, I change, too, madam.“
So should someone stick by their vote even when they either decided they voted wrong or they found out new information? Do they want to risk being labeled as a “flip-flopper?” I think Romney said it best when he said, “In the private sector, if you don’t change your view when the facts change, you get fired.”