J. KARL MILLER: Timing and the art of public deception

Wednesday, April 3, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CDT

This is neither an indictment of same-sex marriage nor a defense of same. Instead, it is a discussion of the importance of timing as it relates to political expedience and hypocrisy in the effort to deceive the electorate.

As a conservative and a traditionalist, I am not ashamed to report that I believe marriage is and should remain a pact between a man and a woman. Nevertheless, I also understand there are those who do not concur with my assessment, and I will respect their opinion. Additionally, I have no problems with civil unions between same-sex partners.

There are a number of elected officials whose timing in "flip-flopping" on same-sex marriage for political advantage is not only suspect, it is also a blatant deception of the public for the sake of winning over a specific constituency. Changing horses in midstream for political advantage hardly speaks well of the personal integrity of the "swapper."

The first to employ timing to gain an edge was President Barack Obama, who was being criticized by the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community for failing to include them in his post-election promises. When campaigning in 2008 for his first term as president, Mr. Barack Obama described himself a traditionalist — pro man and woman for marriage.

On May 9, 2012, the president announced that his painfully tortuous metamorphosis on gay marriage had finally evolved to that juncture where he supports marriage equality. Fortuitously, the decision occurred during the spirited 2012 presidential campaign and ensured the polling-place support of the LGBT electorate.

Obviously looking ahead to a very probable 2016 presidential run, departing Secretary of State and former New York Sen. Hillary Clinton seated herself on that bandwagon. Interviewed in 2003 by CBS News, Mrs. Clinton opposed equal opportunity in marriage, stating instead that she supported same-sex civil unions as the alternative with equal property and visitation rights.

It should not come as a shocking development that, following her departure from the State Department, Mrs. Clinton would, after holding a wet finger to the wind, reverse her position. In March, she announced on the Human Rights Campaign website that she favored same-sex marriage as a matter of law. Evolution for political purpose, or a thoughtful reversal of values?

However, the most egregious example of hypocrisy for political expedience took place right beneath our collective noses. On March 25, our own Sen. Claire McCaskill changed her mind — once again abandoning her pretense of moderate-to-conservative political leaning by coming out for same-sex marriage.

Among the first women in elected office to enlist in the Obama for President crusade, she basked in the sun of his popularity. However, when Missouri opted for John McCain in 2008, she morphed gradually into the ersatz moderate politician she pretended to be.

The timing of her "metamorphosis" could not be more telling nor a more blatant hypocrisy. I am not surprised that the media has not, or will not, speak of this classically timed "flip-flop" — McCaskill's faux moderate pose but dependable liberal vote has made her a darling of the press.

Personally, I could not care less with whom or with what Sen. McCaskill equates the sanctity of marriage. My problem is in the timing of her providential change of heart — the chance of her defeating even a wounded Todd Akin while espousing a pro-same-sex-marriage position were none and none. Missouri voters do not vote as New Yorkers, Californians or Marylanders do — we hold candidates to a higher standard in integrity and character.

People are entitled to change their minds — I no longer dislike turnip greens, diet soft drinks or the Dallas Cowboys. I also accept civil unions for equal rights, public support for widows and orphans, and the fact that some people are against armed conflict regardless of the consequence. Legitimate opposing views must be respected.

Nevertheless, compromising one's principles/values for political expedience is contemptible — regardless of popular refrain, all is not fair in love, war and politics. Honor, it is rumored, is even found among thieves — bargaining that commodity for the sake of a few votes is a failure of moral character.

Respect must be earned; it is never given.

J. Karl Miller retired as a colonel in the Marine Corps. He is a Columbia resident and can be reached via email at

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Jack Hamm April 3, 2013 | 2:15 p.m.

Classic "democrat bad, republican good, me caveman" drivel from Miller.

Interesting how you are not complaining about Rob Portman flip flopping, or Senator Mark Kirk. Of course they are both republicans.

The only thing you care about is another chance to complain about the other team; it’s rather obvious the issue at hand, whether it is flip flopping or gay marriage, is just a means to your end of moaning. Way to continue to be the lowest common denominator of political discourse!

(Report Comment)
hank ottinger April 3, 2013 | 3:02 p.m.

Another way of looking at this might just be that our various political representatives are, in fact, representing us, representing the changing national ethos.

(Report Comment)
J Karl Miller April 3, 2013 | 3:40 p.m.

Mr Hamm,

Obviously the truth hurts. If you read for comprehension rather than to find fault, you might have learned that I was not chastising elected officials for changing their minds. Instead, I identified those who flip flopped for pure political gain---in exchange for votes.

Neither Senator Portman nor Senator Kirk flipped for votes--surely you don't imply that Republcans would opt for gay marriage to win conservative votes?

Nevertheless, your opinion is appreciated--perhaps if you keep at it, your objectivity will mature.

Have a nice day.

(Report Comment)

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