Commentary Magazine


Not Happy

How’s Barack Obama’s latest flip-flip on offshore drilling playing with the base? Well, I took a look at the comments over at Huffington Post’s story on the switheroo. There was this, apparently from a former Hillary Clinton supporter:

What a surprise. And while the presumptuous nominee flops around like a fish on the bottom of a rowboat, his supporters are falling all over themselves making excuses for him. While you were all goo-goo eyed during the primaries, 18 million of us saw something very different. Yes, he will do or say anything to get elected – and the best is yet to come. Feeling used yet?

Then this, from someone who did not identify as either a Hillary or Obama voter:

Good thing he didn’t voice any of these new positions during the primaries or it would have been the end of his chances. For the expanded FISA bill with retroactive immunity, for “refining” his Iraq policy which now includes leaving 60 to 80,000 combat troops in Iraq under a different name, for individual gun rights and against the DC gun law, for the death penalty and now just as I predicted here a few months ago for coastal oil drilling.

And this, from someone who feels completely used:

Omigod. He’s Hillary. Maybe this is all about self-aggrandizement and greed. Maybe he’s worse than Hillary. Someone please remind me why everyone voted for a virtually unknown man with no record. Oh right. Transformation and inspiration. So far he’s helped transform the Constitution into a meaningless scrap of paper, and he now wants to inspire faith in letting industry despoil our country for a thimbleful of oil. I want a do-over.

Well, that is the obvious downside of switching on so many issues, and on high profile ones to boot. Your friends get upset, your opponents sneer and the rest fo the voters may not believe you. The drilling issue, more so than perhaps FISA, is especially dicey since Obama was so definitive (until he wasn’t), McCain pounded him for weeks, the polls showed Obama was badly out of step with public opinion and then following a week of horrid press (and at least some evidence of poll slippage) he changed positions. And with comments like “I have to accept things I don’t like,” Obama gives McCain the obvious retort that leaders lead (and change others’ minds) while followers “accept” what others are doing. Instead of the “vision thing” (Bush 41′s problem) it’s the leadership thing.

So two questions remain: Will the base rise up or have they put their collective intellectual integrity in a blind trust? And what’s the next flip-flop? As to the latter, I’m thinking it will be on his bevy of tax increases. (“In this weakened George Bush-John McCain economy I can see that tax cuts might further drag down the economy which is already the worst since the Great Depression so . . .”) Coupled with a conditions based withdrawal in Iraq, support for offshore drilling and FISA support, skepticism about late term abortions, and a newly enhanced respect for the Second Amendment we really could have a Bush third term. ( But only if you believe all the recent positions are going to stick and all the former ones and his voting record as the most liberal senator weren’t the “real” Obama.)