Bonnie Erbe Bashes Barack, and CNN's Attempt at Flip-Flop Equivalence

PBS's Bonnie Erbe hosts that network's weekly news analysis program, "To the Contrary with Bonnie Erbe," is a weekly columnist for Scripps Howard Newspapers, and blogs at USNews.com.

Erbe called for the impeachment of George Bush in February 2006. Anyone looking through her Scripps Howard archive will conclude that she can't possibly be labeled a conservative ideologue -- which is why her take on the attempt by CNN's John Lewis to make it appear as if both the Obama and McCain campaigns are equally hampered by flip-flops is so compelling.

Here's how "A battle of accused political 'flip-flops'," the CNN report at which Erbe takes umbrage, begins:

Days after both men reversed course on major issues, the presidential campaigns of Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain spent much of Sunday's talk-show circuit working to ensure accusations of "flip-flopping" don't stick.

Both sides tried to go on offense, with the Obama camp accusing McCain of "yet another flip-flop" on the issue of oil drilling and the McCain camp saying Obama broke his word on the issue of campaign financing.

(Before getting to Erbe's critique, it should be noted that Lewis spent Paragraphs 3-9 on McCain and oil drilling before finally getting to the arguably more serious "broke his word" position change by Obama on campaign financing in Paragraph 10.)

Erbe's USNews.com blog post Monday on Lewis's article did not mince words, while the titles of her previous and subsequent posts show that she is truly unimpressed with the presumptive Democratic nominee (bolds are mine):

ErbeOpeningAtUSnews0608

..... From where I sit, flip-flopping is an unbeatable addiction for Obama. For McCain, by comparison, it's an occasional foible.

The flip-flops preoccupying them right now are on acceptance of public financing for Obama and on offshore oil drilling for McCain.

McCain's policy change makes sense given changed circumstances. Obama's is based purely on greed. McCain opposed offshore oil drilling before but now says it should be pursued off the Florida coast. I don't support his new position. America should be promoting alternative energy sources, not drilling for more oil. But given the run-up in oil prices, one can understand McCain's change of heart.

Obama's flip-flop, on the other hand, is purely about self-interest. He promised to accept public financing before he knew he could raise more money from donors. Now that he can raise twice as much from donors as Uncle Sam would give him if he forswore private donations, of course he's pursuing the bigger bucks. What's more troubling is Obama's list of flip-flops is so limitless, he's beginning to sound like he tailors his position to whichever audience he's addressing at the moment.

That's strong stuff, which Erbe backed up with five more examples, four of them from a New York Post editorial, along with a claim that she has many more.

Erbe likely has a closet crammed full of the summer footwear, all in Obama's shoe size. Matt Hurley at Weapons of Mass Discussion has compiled a list of 25 Obama flip-flops thus far. The latest is over nuclear power ("Yesterday, after signaling opposition to nuclear power, he told Democratic governors he's open to expanding it."). Hurley expects that it won't be long until he accumulates forty flip-flops, at which point closet space will truly be at a premium.

Meanwhile, Erbe concluded:

Change we can believe in? No, change we can count on, because as soon as he takes a position, we can count on the fact he's going to change it in front of the next audience.

Can flip-flop fatigue be far behind?

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.