In contemporary politics, there are plenty of politicians in both parties whose views on reproductive rights have “evolved” over time. Sometimes the shifts are sincere, sometimes they’re a matter of electoral convenience, but whatever the motivation, these changes happen.
They don’t, however, generally change literally overnight.
Retired Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, reportedly a leading contender to become Donald Trump’s running mate, was asked on ABC yesterday whether about his views on the controversial issue. “I think women have to be able to choose … sort of, the right of choice.” Flynn said, adding, “They are the ones that have to make the decision because they’re the ones that are going to decide to bring up that child or not.”
The comments quickly spelled trouble for Flynn’s future as a candidate for nation office. Trump may like the retired general, but it’s difficult to imagine Republicans tolerating a pro-choice Democrat on the GOP’s presidential ticket.
Which made it all the more interesting to see Flynn take an entirely new position this morning.
Flynn told Fox News he is a “pro-life Democrat,” while describing it as a legal matter.“This pro-choice issue is a legal issue that should be decided by the courts. I believe in law. If people want to change the law, they should vote so that we can appoint pro-life judges. I believe the law should be changed,” Flynn told Fox News.
So to review, yesterday, Flynn believed “women have to be able to choose.” Today, Flynn believes it’s up to courts to change the law – ordinarily, Republican candidates believe legislators, not judges, should change the law – and he’s now “pro-life.”
I suppose the obvious takeaway is that Flynn really does want to be considered for Trump’s vice presidential slot, because otherwise, he wouldn’t embarrass himself like this.
The problem, however, is that the two-positions-in-one-day posture won’t work – because no one will take it seriously.
A powerful anti-abortion leader doesn’t buy the “pro-life” statements made on Monday by a retired military officer under consideration to be Donald Trump’s running mate.“Gen. Flynn’s most recent statements on abortion make no sense,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony List, told The Hill on Monday…. Dannenfelser said Flynn’s stance remains unacceptable to social conservatives.
It’s hard to say with confidence just how strong Flynn’s chances of making the GOP ticket were before, but it’s easier to say they’re approaching zero now.