A Kerry divided against himself

John Kerry’s record of flip-flops on serious issues is the kind of thing that gives politicians a bad name. We previously noted Michael Grunwalds Slate column charting “John Kerry’s waffles.” Yesterday’s New York Times carried David Halbfinger’s good page-one story asking the poined question: “Kerry’s shifts: Nuanced ideas or flip-flops.” The first two paragraphs of the story read:

When Senator John Kerry was speaking to Jewish leaders a few days ago, he said Israel’s construction of a barrier between it and Palestinian territories was a legitimate act of self-defense. But in October, he told an Arab-American group that it was “provocative and counterproductive” and a “barrier to peace.”
On Feb. 5, Mr. Kerry reacted to Massachusetts’ highest court’s decision legalizing same-sex marriages by saying, “I personally believe the court is dead wrong.” But when asked on Feb. 24 why he believed the decision was not correct, he shot back, “I didn’t say it wasn’t.”

There seems to be a pattern here, and it is not flattering. Here’s how the Times sums up the Kerry spin:

Some aides and close associates say Mr. Kerry’s fluidity is the mark of an intellectual who grasps the subtleties of issues, inhabits their nuances and revels in the deliberative process. They call him a free-thinker who defies stereotypes. Others close to him say his often-public agonizing

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