What is the best example of this that you’ve seen?
American politics has become like a big square dance. When the music stops after an election, people switch to the other side on a number of issues, depending on whether their party remains in power.
That was pretty clear this week, when polls revealed more Democrats than Republicans support tracking of phone traffic by the National Security Agency — the exact opposite of where things stood under President George W. Bush.
A Washington Post-Pew Research Center poll released Monday showed that 64 percent of Democrats support such efforts, up from just 36 percent in 2006. Republican support, meanwhile, had dropped from 75 percent to 52 percent.
It’s not just a question of whether you trust the current president to carry out data mining in a way that targets terrorists and not innocent Americans. Partisans hold malleable positions in a number of areas — foreign policy, the economy and even presidential appointees who continue to serve under a new administration.
“People change their views depending on which party is in power, and not based on objective conditions on the ground,” says George Washington University political scientist John Sides.
Back to an old meme at this site: I once heard a philosopher say people change their mind, not because of logic or evidence, but because of someone they trust.