By Jonathan Turley
For USA Today
With Iowans going today to their caucuses, the beginning of a new year and the presidential primary season dangerously collide for voters. Distraught voters can now couple their prior unrealized weight-loss resolutions with their unrealized political resolutions like finding a new party or moving to Canada. Yet, every four years, we end up fatter and madder by the year’s end. It is not the fact that, in a nation of more than 300 million people, our massive pool of potential presidents never seems to work to our advantage in producing high-quality candidates. It is not even the fact that our elections seem like contests of blow-dried, poll-driven robots. Rather, it is the overt insincerity of American politics. Candidates routinely reinvent themselves for the primary and then reinvent themselves again for the general election — often discarding prior positions like last year’s resolutions.
This election, the nation is debating fundamental moral and constitutional questions that demand something other than the usual transient or opportunistic views of politicians. A candidate’s views on taxation may change with time, even a short passage of time. However, changing one’s view on the use of torture or abortion or gay rights reflects a fundamental flaw in both character and conscience.