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Flippers

Democrats liberally adhere to their own positions.

6:00 PM, Oct 22, 2008 • By FRED BARNES
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Liberals--or I could say Democrats, since the terms are now synonymous--are fun to watch because they're so un-self aware. They switch positions on a dime whenever it serves their political purposes and always consider themselves to be standing on the high moral ground. Of course that's where they thought they were standing before they changed positions.

This phenomenon has gotten quite a workout since Democrats captured Congress in 2006. And its gathered momentum in recent months now that Democrats have a chance to win the White House and large majorities in Congress, including a filibuster-proof Senate.

No longer do we hear what used to be one-word rallying cry of Barack Obama: Bipartisanship! Obama would end polarization and bring Americans together by crossing the aisle in Washington and working with Republicans to produce bipartisan initiatives. Liberals used to be thrilled by the idea.

But the notion of compromising with Republicans has suddenly vanished. Why? Because Democrats think they may be able to ram the entire liberal agenda through Congress next year. And they don't need any help from Republicans for that task. So now the only bow to bipartisanship is the possible naming of a renegade Republican or two to President Obama's Cabinet.

Liberals, at least during the George W. Bush presidency, have worried aloud about the deficit. President Clinton had produced a couple balanced budgets and a large surplus was projected. Bush's profligate ways had ended all that and created deficits, just as President Reagan had before him. Liberals trashed Bush.

Now they have a different motive: protect President Obama. If he is elected, as liberals expect, the economy will be Obama's property. So hundreds of billions in new spending--particularly a "stimulus" package--must be passed to prop up the Obama economy. Don't want him to suffer politically from a bad economy. So we should forget about the deficit for a while. After all, Barney Frank said we should.

Another switch by liberals involves money in politics. For decades, liberals were noisily in favor of reducing the role of money. One of the fundamental principles of liberals was that the more money in politics--private money, not public funds--the more corrupt the whole political system was. And as long as Republicans had more money than Democrats, liberals stuck to that position.

But since Democrats and Obama have hundreds of millions more in campaign funds this year, you don't hear a peep of protest from liberals. They're thrilled with the situation. Imagine, however, if John McCain were spending millions more than Obama after promising to accept public funds, then reneging. Liberals (and the media) would be screaming that McCain was "buying the election."

They also screamed for years about employers who didn't want workers to join a union. Fortunately, there was a democratic way to prevent business owners from denying employees the right to unionize: require an election by secret ballot so workers could freely choose to certify a union as their bargaining agent.

Then the unexpected happened. In election after election, workers freely voted the other way--that is, against joining a union. Union membership in the private sector dipped to less than 8 percent of the workforce.

Organized labor's answer was to jettison the secret ballot. Instead, they want something called "card check," which would force employers to recognize a union once half the workers had signed a union card. This would allow union stiffs to pull employees aside, apply the kind of pressure labor organizers are known for, and then present signed cards as proof of a majority's desire to join a union.

You might think liberals would balk at junking the secret ballot in favor of such a crude practice. But no. They're for it, almost unanimously. It was at the top of the Democratic agenda in 2007 and it's right at the top of Obama's agenda for 2009.

Finally, there's the feminist model of womanhood, as cherished a liberal ideal as there is (or was). A woman could--and probably should--do it all: be a wife and mother, hold a job with real responsibilities, and never, ever knuckle under to the rule of males. Pursuing a career in politics while still caring for a family--that's the feminist model in its purest form.

Then Sarah Palin came along. Unlike feminist favorite Hillary Clinton, Palin actually succeeded in politics on her own. She didn't ride into office on her husband's shoulders. And she knocked off a string of powerful male politicians on her way to the Alaska governorship and the Republican vice presidential nomination.