It may be small beans compared to insulting a war hero and it may not be as egregious as reversing course on guns, welfare reform, NAFTA, gay marriage, and campaign financing. But Barack Obama also zig-zagged within the course of a day on the subject of support for faith-based organizations. Does he support allowing these organizations to accept government funds but determine hiring and firing according to their religious mission or not?
Not unlike his all-over-the-map position on gay marriage (which Peter pointed out is not only inconsistent but needlessly divisive in his articulated attack on others’ motives), this seems designed to offend people of good will on both sides of these issues. If you support faith based organizations and oppose gay marriage (or at least want to permit states to decide to outlaw it by a popular vote), then Obama has not just taken positions contrary to yours, he has feigned support for your views, played fast and lose with rhetoric, and then slammed the door shut with a dig at your motives. At the very least, he’s made hash of his efforts to connect with the evangelical community.
If you take the opposite view on the substance of these issues (i.e. you like the current version of Obama’s positions), you might be pretty suspicious at this point as to why he took such a round about course to get there and couldn’t come right out and say, “Of course the government shouldn’t give religious institutions money and, of course, no government should tell you who you can marry.” That’s apparently what he is saying, so it must be troubling to his liberal or libertarian base to see him so unable to articulate and stick to his positions.
For someone so lingustically inspiring and so unlike every other politician who came before him he is starting to resemble a very inept and ham-handed version of Bill Clinton. Clinton at least slid between policy positions and compromised with finesse, never leaving a trail of definitive contrary positions. By contrast, Obama’s path is now strewn with the remnants of past positions and offended partisans. “How did we lose to him,” Bill must be thinking.