Amy Ridenour and Professor Bainbridge are having an interesting discussion. They disagree about whether the repeal of the House rule, which prohibited members indicted by state grand juries from remaining in a leadership positions, is good idea, or bad. Indicted or unindicted, they're still politicians, though I tend to agree with Amy, especially when one considers the overly litigious nature of the opposition. It's never a good strategy to let your opponent choose your team.
It's an interesting discussion, but that's not why I brought it up.
I brought it up for two reasons. First, they're having a discussion. They're polite, reasoned, and respectful. They each have point that is reasonable within the framework they build for it. Their positions are diametrically opposed, yet they listen to each other. Each considers the others opinion. They both seem willing to be convinced that the other is right. They disagree, yet they are on the same team and have the same goal: the most ethical, effective government possible. It's a very refreshing example of what the roll of the loyal opposition should be.
Second, is this statement in Amy's response: "When the House GOP caucus originally approved the rule saying a party leader should step down if indicted, I agreed with it. I no longer do."
The ability to change one's mind when new data becomes available is essential to an honest debate. It's essential if an effective, and improving understanding of which direction national policy should move is to be achieved.
I'm not talking about the knee-jerk flip-flopping that John Kerry used with such disastrous, and instructive, results in the 2004 campaign. Kerry's real positions, whatever they were, didn't change; the things he said about his positions changed. This made a true debate impossible. Ever shifting positions with only one goal, proving the other side wrong, made it clear to the attentive observer that there was no substance to be found. Not even way deep down.
What I'm talking about is not being married to an idea. Not clinging to it when it has proved to be wrong, even if you championed it at one time.
Look at how long it's taken for the left to let go of Communism, though it has failed spectacularly all over the world, killing more people, and creating more tyrannical regimes than any other system of government. They still haven't let go yet. Look at welfare, affirmative action, and social security; all are systems which have proved they don't work, proved they produce results opposite from those intended. Yet the Left hangs on. And hangs on.
The ability to see a problem for what it is, not what one wishes it were, is the strength of conservatives. The left says "I wish," and then behaves as if that made it so. The right must never fall into that trap.
I think Ridenour and Bainbridge are setting a very good example.