President Bush is working hard to convince the American people that John Kerry has a fatal flaw: He changes his mind. Or, in the current political lexicon, he "flip-flops." But isn't a willingness to change course -- even to admit error -- an asset in a leader?
Throughout U.S. history, important decisions, some of monumental proportions, came about because presidents changed their minds. In his first political statement, in March 1832, the 23-year-old Abraham Lincoln said, "Upon the subjects of which I have treated, I have spoken as I thought. So soon as I discover my opinions to be erroneous, I shall be ready to renounce them."
THE IDEA that an administration would conveniently direct the finger of blame at one of its agencies with respect to matters so important as war and peace is immoral.
When Harry Truman was faced with miscalculations regarding the Korean conflict, his attitude was: "The buck stops here." And when John Kennedy was faced with the Bay of Pigs fiasco, he took full blame. These men lived with the aftermath of their mistakes and blamed them on no one else.
George Bush must assume responsibility for the intelligence failures and all other mistakes made on his watch. That is what honorable men do. If they cannot or will not, they are not worthy of the offices they hold.