Commentary Magazine


Interpreting the Great One

If you want to understand why Barack Obama is “underperforming” (to use a popular phrase) in his race for the presidency, consider the recent words of two prominent Obama supporters, made on the same day and almost at the same time, on the same issue.

During an interview last Sunday on “Meet the Press,” Senator John Kerry said

Barack Obama doesn’t want to drill offshore, doesn’t believe it’s the thing to do. There’s a very–there’s a four-state carefully circumscribed proposal in that, that, in that initiative that, that could conceivably allow some drilling. He doesn’t want to do that.

But in a “Fox News Sunday” interview, former Majority Leader Tom Daschle said

Barack Obama has always been in favor of offshore drilling.

There you have it: two prominent and well-connected Obama supporters saying, on the same issue, completely opposite things regarding Obama’s position. When Obama’s own insiders can’t discern his position on a key issue–when they argue Obama holds mutually exclusive positions–then the public can be excused for being confused as well.

Senator Obama has a large and growing issue with his public character, in part because he looks, even for a politician, unusually unprincipled. He bends with every political breeze, it seems, and changes his stances with head-snapping speed. When it gets to the point that his own surrogates end up contradicting each other on national television, you know he has a problem.

Obama often preaches against cynicism and manipulation. It would help his case if he did a little less of both.