Abe, I would like to think the cold, hard world opened Barack Obama’s eyes to the realities which escaped him heretofore, but I remain unconvinced. None of these revelations occurred before he sewed up the Democratic nomination. It wasn’t until after the Xcel speech that he realized his Iraq policy needed a make-over. He didn’t understand the benefits of free trade and the dangers of protectionism until June? Hmmm. A number of changes in positions that he has executed don’t seem related to any new information or real-world dilemmas other than the need to get get elected (e.g. abortion). There is more evidence, I think, to support the theory that the “real” Obama was the one during the primary (who matched his Left-wing roots and his Senate voting record) while the new Obama is an artifice.
And would running as a Left-wing dove really be easier than running as a flip-flopper? We can’t know for certain, but it is fair to surmise that he never expected this much resistance from the media fan club. After all, he had a virtually free ride until now. He likely figured there were more Gail Collins’ than Bob Herberts out there. He is constantly “baffled” or “shocked” or “surprised” when the media and voters react adversely to his words. It stands to reason he thought he could pull this off rather easily.
Now should conservatives be pleased? I think all voters should be highly suspicious. The flexibility of his positions and the ease with which he asserts that there have been no changes at all suggest there is little to moor him to the latest stances. Unlike Mitt Romney who moved Right and would presumably have been anchored to conservative views by those who brought him to the dance (e.g. conservatives), Obama would have every incentive to migrate back to the Left once in office. Indeed his party and the Congressional majorities would demand it.
Yes, hypocrisy is the compliment virtue pays to vice. So I suppose policy reversals are the homage that liberals pay to a right/center country. But count me as utterly unconvinced by the sincerity and permanence of Obama’s lurches.