The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Flip. Flop.

It’s taken some time, but I’m beginning to understand that Barack Obama is the candidate of change—as in, change your position on an issue, not because you had a change of heart, but because it’s politically expedient to do so. Now, all politicians do this to some extent, but his supporters argue that Barack Obama is different from other politicians. Not.

In October, 2007, a mere nine months ago, Obama was violently opposed to the FISA bill that would have retroactively given telecommunication companies immunity from vexatious lawsuit filed when those companies helped Federal intelligence services hunt down terrorist cells within the US. After all, the ‘evil’ phone companies had to be held accountable, and those poor, innocent Islamists who received calls from Pakistan or Gaza? Innocent until proven guilty – after all, terrorism is just a criminal matter, isn’t it?

But today, Barack Obama has had a change of heart. Afraid of being painted as weak in combating Jihadist forces, Obama has scurried to the center and states that he will vote for blanket immunity for telecoms. Ironically, he’s doing the right thing for exactly the wrong reasons.

Charles Krauthammer discusses the "then and now" of Barack Obama:
That was then: Democratic primaries to be won, netroot lefties to be seduced. With all that (and Hillary Clinton) out of the way, Obama now says he'll vote in favor of the new FISA bill that gives the telecom companies blanket immunity for post-Sept. 11 eavesdropping.

Back then, in the yesteryear of primary season, he thoroughly trashed the North American Free Trade Agreement, pledging to force a renegotiation, take "the hammer" to Canada and Mexico and threaten unilateral abrogation.

Today the hammer is holstered. Obama calls his previous NAFTA rhetoric "overheated" and essentially endorses what one of his senior economic advisers privately told the Canadians: The anti-trade stuff was nothing more than populist posturing.

Nor is there much left of his primary season pledge to meet "without preconditions" with Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. There will be "preparations," you see, which are being spun by his aides into the functional equivalent of preconditions.

Obama's long march to the center has begun.

But here’s the thing. Barack Obama is ideologically Left. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, in his thin record and even thinner experience that would indicate that his newly held centrist beliefs are anything but political posturing.

What's troubling is that the MSM accepts his shift in positions with barely a peep. Sure, there were a few editorials decrying his abandonment of public campaign financing after promising he would accept public funds. But even the criticism was tempered with sympathy. Krauthammer notes:
Indeed, the New York Times expressed a sympathetic understanding of Obama's about-face by buying his preposterous claim that it was a preemptive attack on McCain's 527 independent expenditure groups -- notwithstanding the fact that (a) as Politico's Jonathan Martin notes, "there are no serious anti-Obama 527s in existence nor are there any immediate plans to create such a group" and (b) the only independent ad of any consequence now running in the entire country is an co-production savaging McCain.

Comically, the many, many media outlets who have become unapologetic shills for Barack Obama work hard at avoiding the phrase “flip-flop” when the Chosen One is under consideration. Richard Fernandez notes:
The New York Times calls it “a Pragmatist’s Shift Toward the Center … Barack Obama has taken a stroll this week away from traditional liberal political positions, his path toward the political center marked by artful leaps and turns.”

“Artful leaps and turns”—ya gotta love it!

One can only wonder what additional “artful leaps and turns” will be in the offing should Obama be elected President of the United States. Will he “leap” toward concessions or appeasement of our worst enemies? With he “turn” toward a redistribution of wealth that will drive an already weakened economy into full recession, high unemployment, and staggering interest rates (a la Jimmy Carter)?

But not to worry … his actions will always be “artful” and therefore acceptable to the uncritical media who loves him unconditionally.