Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Obama and the Audacity of Adjustments

Sen. Barack Obama waged a hard-left campaign against Sen. Hillary Clinton and dished her, with much help from hard-leftists both in the media and on blog sites. It is only a slight exaggeration to say he became Clinton in order to up-end her.

The quick change artist may have something similar in mind for his Republican opponent, Sen. John McCain.

The trick, now that Obama is facing a moderate Republican, is to move to the middle without irreparably damaging his support on the left.

This can be managed.

Obama, whose stern and inflexible views on immediate withdrawal from Iraq solidified his position on the left in the primary, now finds it necessary to adjust that view in the general election. An immediate withdrawal from Iraq in the post surge period, to take but one example of Obama’s recent serial adjustments, was always questionable, except as a primary campaign strategy.

But a guy’s got to do what a guy’s got to do.

And so now we are told, both by Obama’s handlers and the cheerleading section in the main stream media, that the Obama campaign is “adjusting” its views.

But of course it is.

So then, will Obama’s adjusted view on shutting down the war in Iraq cost him votes or money among the smart set over at MoveOn.org or the Huffington Post, both progressive sites that have been partly responsible for Obama’s bulging campaign treasury?

Not enough to matter.

The beauty about adjustments is this: A man wedded to principle may be expected to embrace his principle in fair or foul weather. But it is nearly impossible to get a bead on adjusters who are wedded only to the principle of adjustment. If a candidate for president can adjust his view from A to Not-A concerning the immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq in response to the political necessities presented during a primary campaign, then there is nothing to prevent the same candidate from readjusting the view from Not-A to A when political circumstances change.

This means that the progressives warming their hands over the fire of “change” the Obama campaign has held out to a hopeful nation are fervently hoping that, once installed as president, the candidate of change will again change his view on the matter to comport with their own. And besides, are these people likely to vote for John McCain? His view on the war in Iraq, pilloried by the MoveOn.org and Huffington folk as Bush II policies, has not changed at all. It is the same as it was when McCain opposed Bush’s early conduct of the war? Bush, McCain said at he beginning of the war, had not invested enough troops in Iraq to secure the country from insurgents.

What is true of Obama’s adjustment of his position on Iraq likewise will be true of other adjustments it is expected he will make on a whole host of issues including FISA, NAFTA, unscripted dialogue with dictators, the death penalty and other momentous issues.

The audacity of hope pales in comparison with the audacity of change, a catchy title for Obama’s next book. Both hope and change spring eternal, and both, depending on the object of hope and change, sometimes stand with both feet firmly planted in the clouds.

St Paul the apostle said that he had become “all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some."

Salvational politicians go through the same motions as they pass from primaries to general elections. In the general election, the hunt for independents and moderates begins in earnest. One mask comes off and another is put on. The message changes when the audience changes.

Obama, the political preacher, is better at adjusting the message than most, but the gap between the promises he made, explicit and implicit, to progressive during the primaries, when he needed their support and money, and his newer general campaign “adjustments” would made the Grand Canyon blush with envy.

Very quickly, he is becoming the Elmer Gantry of American politics.
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