July 2, 2008


Meet the new Obama, master of the U-turn: Some of those most captivated by the Democrat candidate are now feeling distinctly queasy (Dominic Lawson, 1 July 2008, Independent)

Within days of the end of the primary campaign, Obama pledged to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee that he would ensure that Jerusalem would remain "the undivided capital of Israel". Even George Bush had never made such a commitment, so Obama's remarks were criticised not just by the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, but by the State Department itself, as prejudging complex negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Obama, however, had achieved his domestic objective – he could no longer be labelled by the Republicans as "anti-Israel".

Then, on 19 June, Obama declared that he would opt out of the regulated public campaign financing system, becoming the first presidential candidate since Richard Nixon to choose to raise unlimited private funds, instead. The reason is obvious: he is now raising vastly more than the Republican John McCain, who is committed to taking public funds. The trouble is that Obama had pledged, in writing, that he would remain within the public system, if his opponent did so.

As I say, it's an understandable volte-face: but equally understandable is the reaction of McCain's spokesman: "What's becoming clear in this campaign is that for Senator Obama the most important issue in the election is the political fortunes of Senator Obama. He has demonstrated that there really is no position he holds that isn't subject to change depending on how he calculates it will affect his political fortunes."

Well, he would say that, wouldn't he? Except that now some Democrats are saying the same thing, after Obama reneged on another promise, over a matter of genuine constitutional substance. During the long-drawn-out Democrat primary campaign, Obama had constantly reiterated his opposition to President Bush's plans to give retroactive immunity from prosecution to telecommunications companies who assist the government with warrantless wiretaps. This measure was passionately opposed by many Democrats as a clear infringement of the fourth amendment to the Constitution. Last week, Obama reversed his long-held position. Again, the political motivation is clear enough.

One of the few areas in which McCain has a significant poll lead over Obama is that described as "the war against terror". Doubtless, had Obama not performed this sinuous U-turn, then the Republicans would have used his opposition to Bush's legislation as a way of driving home the point. The unresolved issue, however, is this: did Barack Obama really believe the measure was unconstitutional when he opposed it? And if so, is everything negotiable?

More dangerous than the developing storyline that he's changing his beliefs is the haunting possibility that he believes in nothing...other than his own Obamahood.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 2, 2008 9:57 AM

Pity George Soros. Will his wily (and expensive) machinations come to nought again?

Stay tuned.

Posted by: Barry Meislin at July 2, 2008 4:19 PM

"Were you lying then, or are you lying now?"

And we are supposed to stake the country and the world on the answer? GMAFB

Posted by: Lou Gots at July 3, 2008 5:41 AM
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