Evolution of a Flip-Flop

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Evolution of a Flip-Flop

Excerpts from an amusing column published in Tuesday's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Writing about home-state Senator Rick Santorum, columnist Brian O'Neill observes:
The Republican from Pennsylvania is looking at a tough re-election fight next year. That's why some are scornful of Mr. Santorum's announcement last week that he's withdrawing his affiliation with the public interest law firm that bills itself "as the sword and the shield for people of faith.''

That would be the Christian faith, which I happen to share. But it turns out Mr. Santorum, whose photo was still there with the rest of the advisory board on the law center's Web site yesterday, has just figured out how much religion goes into the work of this firm named for a Catholic saint.

It only took a losing court fight in his home state to put him on the path to enlightenment. Mr. Santorum now says the center "made a huge mistake'' in backing the Dover Area school board in its failed effort to move the notion of "intelligent design'' into science classrooms. Mr. Santorum told The Philadelphia Inquirer he is cutting ties with the firm.

Many see that as a curious turn. "The evolution of a flip-flop,'' one critic called it. Earlier in the year, Mr. Santorum had commended the school district for having "taken a step in the right direction by engaging in the debate and attempting to teach the controversy of evolution.''

But if Mr. Santorum wishes to grant himself retroactive naivete, who are we to judge? Perhaps he honestly didn't know this case was steeped in religion from the start.

... We don't know how many precedents for Santorum-like disavowals of previous affiliations may exist. Consider these possibilities:

"It has recently come to my attention that the University of Notre Dame is a leading Roman Catholic institution of higher learning, and I am, evidently, the son of Norwegian Lutheran immigrants. I therefore see no choice but to submit my resignation as coach of the football team.

-- Regretfully,
Knute Rockne."

... "Nobody told us this job would involve so much travel! We can no longer in good conscience spend so much time away from our families. St. Louis is as far west as we care to go.

-- Yours truly,
Meriwether Lewis
and William Clark."

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