I understand that the Republicans’ campaign strategy is to portray Kerry as inconsistent. But today’s talking point seems pretty weak, even by the low standards of the Bush campaign.
As you probably know, the Bush administration (true to form) is bull-headedly sticking with a plan that was originally devised in 2001 to fill the US’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). Nevermind the fact that the relevant circumstances have changed dramatically over the past few years.
On the other hand, Kerry has called for some release of oil from the SPR to help moderate the rather high price of oil (in addition to several other policy suggestions). At a minimum, Kerry has suggested that the US government stop buying additional oil for the reserve while prices are so high, since the government’s extra demand can only serve to make things worse.
The GOP’s response? They point out that in 2000, Kerry said that oil should not be released from the oil reserve. Aha! Gotcha, John Kerry!
But wait. I think that the GOP should continue with this logic, and point out that flip-floppers abound in everyday life as well as in politics. In 2000 I said I didn’t want to take a summer vacation in California, yet this summer I’m doing exactly that! Clearly I’m a flip-flopper. In 2000 John McCain said he wanted to be president over George Bush, yet this year he’s not even running! Another flip-flopper. In 2000 lots of people wanted to buy shares in Lucent for $50 per share, while today no one is willing to pay even $4. Flip-floppers, all of them.
Try this logic out on your family and friends. I think you’ll find it a powerful tool.