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“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”  
– Aristotle

“True, Ari, but you don’t know today’s politicians.” 
– Michael A. Cummings 
Congratulations should go to Jeb Bush, Establishment poster boy and putative 2016 Republican nominee for president of the United States. It would appear His Dynasty has come out against the top-down, iron-fisted dictates of the statist education plan known as Common Core. Let all other candidates step down. We have our guy. May I be the first to call him “Mr. President”? 

Short of outright saying he was wrong all along about Common Core, Jeb said, “we don’t need a federal government involved in this at all.” So while there’s a federalist hue to Bush’s color, this is markedly different than his previous praise for Obama forcing states to acquiesce to the education intellectuals in Washington.  

Speaking of intellectuals, the older I get the more the following is confirmed: Either 1) Most politicians are no smarter than the people they represent or 2) Most politicians believe the people they represent are stupid. Jeb must think we’re stupid, and that is an insult. 

If we’re in a room with Jeb, I would ask him, “What’s with the change?” Most likely he would reply with a protracted response that includes “clarification,” soul searching, thoughtful consideration, listening to the people, and states’ rights. 

Yeah, okay. 

A word of warning to any politician, but in particular Republican candidates for president and in this election cycle: America is what it is because we work hard and we’re smart enough to know which way is up and where to stand when the manure flies.  

Let’s back up a bit. As we age, most of us have opinions that undergo some measure of modification. As an example, I have always been pro life. I never understood why anyone would kill a baby. Early on I held that position but I thought I didn’t have the right to tell others what to do. When I was in my mid 20s, however, a family very close to me lost a baby two weeks before the due date. The 1,500+ miles that separated us could not have lessened the pain I felt for them. That day, I experienced firsthand how precious new life is. And on that day, my never-in-any-circumstance position on abortion took hold. Notice how I was always pro life, but this position graduated to its proper level.  

When a candidate takes a position so antithetical to conservatism and the advancement of constitutional principles, as Common Core is, but then caves on his position because — we assume — his advisors told him the base doesn’t like it, we are naturally suspicious. What other positions does Candidate B take that warrants further consideration and scrutiny?  

We don’t want to be wholly obstinate, so let’s hear how this evolved. Let’s look at the particular issue and decide for ourselves the reason for the change and whether the candidate merits our support and open ears. It’s not that a candidate changes. What’s important is what is the issue and its impact on society, what position did the candidate take before the change and why, and what position does the candidate now take and why.  

For Jeb, call his Common Core comments a screeching halt or mere modification of his otherwise diehard support for Common Core, it doesn’t matter. This shift is…bullshift. Honestly, Jeb, knowing what we know about you and how little you speak of and act on conservatism (why didn’t you speak up for conservative candidates since leaving Florida?), are we to think you won’t slide right back into your statist, Common Core rut the day you take office?

While we’re on the subject of shifting positions, Marco Rubio, do you now look with disgust at your saddling up to NY Senator Chuck Schumer and IL communist Congressman Luis Gutierrez to push full amnesty to anyone entering America illegally? If so, speak up. When you do, keep in mind when you more than entertain a truly anti-conservative position, voters already have one foot out the door.  

While we conservatives are open to discussing different points of view — in my opinion, generally more open than any group in the political diagram — we are justifiably on guard with people who say anything to get our vote but jump the conservative ship once safely within the confines of the DC bubble.  

Candidates, if you change your position on any issue, be prepared. We’re watching, listening, and preparing our votes accordingly. 


Michael Cummings

Michael A. Cummings has a Bachelors in Business Management from St. John's University in Collegeville, MN, and a Masters in Rhetoric & Composition from Northern Arizona University. He has worked as a department store Loss Prevention Officer, bank auditor, textbook store manager, Chinese food delivery man, and technology salesman. Cummings wrote position pieces for the 2010 Trevor Drown for US Senate (AR) and 2012 Joe Coors for Congress (CO) campaigns.