In ancient times, namely the pre-Internet Vietnam War era, Members of Congress routinely had two form letters for responding to constituents writing about the war. Each version agreed with the letter writer, pro or con. Eventually they were outed and had to adopt a single position, much to the consternation of politicians who devote endless energy to avoiding the tough decisions that might offend constituents and contributors.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who is expected to be the next Republican to toss his hat in the overcrowded presidential ring, sounds a bit like a throwback to those olden days.
Rather than come down on the side of any one issue he seems to have decided to surround them instead by taking positions on all sides.
When his state's ban on same sex marriage was struck down by the federal courts, Walker accepted that. "For us, it's over in Wisconsin," he said.
But then came last month's historic Supreme Court decision and Walker made a quick U-turn, calling for a Constitutional amendment permitting states to overrule the federal court and enact their own bans on same sex marriage.
He is more focused on the influential and hardline conservative evangelical vote in the Iowa Republican caucuses than the more moderate approach of national Republicans on that and other questions. No doubt he is confident that once past Iowa and South Carolina he will be free to change his positions on the issues and tailor them to the audience of the moment in the hope that voters will quickly forget what he said yesterday and he can make it to the nominating convention next summer.
This isn't Walker's only lurch to the right in the shortsighted view that after he wins Iowa and South Carolina he can reverse field again and no one will notice or care – except, that is, for the pesky lamestream media, every Republican knows they're a bunch of liberals who can't be believed or trusted.
Maggie Haberman and Jonathan Martin relate in the New York Times "Walker's Hard Right Turn in Iowa" and tell how it "May Hurt Him Elsewhere."
In his bid for votes in Iowa, Walker reversed himself, they wrote, and "moved to support Iowa’s prized ethanol subsidies, abandoned his support for an immigration overhaul and spoke out against the Common Core national education standards."
But some political pros see his shifting positions as "Walker's penchant for tactics over principles," they write. "But Mr. Walker appears to have calculated that New Hampshire, and the states that come after it, will matter little if he does not succeed first in Iowa."
He appears to have forgotten a painful lesson the last Republican presidential nominee learned. Mitt Romney's tack to the hard right to appease religious extremists in the GOP primaries cost him dearly among moderates and swing voters in November.
He's also stumbled on foreign policy, the plight of a novice, but on Israel and Iran he has a clear message that is unlikely to change: whatever Barack Obama is for, I'm against. Don't confuse me with the details.
Walker's spokeswoman insists Walker has been consistent on the issues, but that's what she's paid to say even if she knows it ain't necessarily so. Wait 'til his opponents, both Republican and, if he gets that far, Democrats, roll out his early tapes.
Richard Nixon advised Republicans to run to the right for the nomination and to the center in November. That was before Al Gore invented the Internet and Sergey Brin created Google.