Back when John Kerry was running for President, the “flip flopper” charge was a epitomized by his Marshall University statement “I actually did vote for the $87 billion, before I voted against it” regarding the Iraq war. Which quickly became “I was for the war before I was against it” — a charge that implies one’s beliefs have changed as a matter of political expediency.
It amazed me that no one ever responded to such criticism with “yes, given the information we were presented in 2003, I supported the war. With the new information that has come to light in the past year (or fifteen)? I believe the pretense was false, and as such have reconsidered my support. As president here’s what I would do to ensure intelligence is not tainted by politics.” Which (a) admits to being a person who is capable of analyzing new evidence and changing their opinion when new information invalidates previous “knowledge” and (b) focuses the question on something most people agree is a bad thing.
In the intervening decade, I’ve almost gotten to the point I’d be willing to vote for an individual who would just admit that they’ve changed their mind when new information was discovered over someone with whom I share ideological beliefs. Aaaaand then there’s Trump. Whose former lawyer, Jay Sekulow, announced that facts develop.
It’s an ironic turn of phrase, given my mental association with the innocent party (i.e. person who had no way to know otherwise) being able to discover new facts and changing their mind. Facts don’t develop when you are the person with the facts. What you tell everyone is developing … and somehow you are hoping we fear being labeled a flip-flopper enough to avoid changing our opinion as these new facts are revealed. You hope cognitive bias keeps our beliefs entrenched when hundreds of little revisions are made to “facts”.