“Mom! ….Johnny Did It First!”
Barack Obama acknowledged in interviews Tuesday that he has made several “shifts in emphasis” on issues during his campaign but argues Sen. John McCain’s reversals are much more severe.
In attempts to broaden their appeal to the general election voters, Obama raised the hackles of his far-left apologists last week by reversing an earlier pledge and voting in the Senate to give legal immunity to phone companies that took part in warrantless wiretapping after the 9/11 attacks. This is the “FISA” controversy. McCain has like-wise raised the enmity of the suspicious loony-right by repeating his ideas about global warming being a fact, and even gotten sniped at for daring to suggest government does have a role in helping those who cannot fend for themselves.
For Obama it was the latest in a series of perceived shifts in policy he has taken on issues that range from gun control, the death penalty, and his newly found and voiced support for President Bush’s faith-based programs that give taxpayer money to religious groups for public service endeavors.
Asked during an interview with PBS’s Gwen Ifill about his position on wiretapping legislation and his support for the Supreme Court decision striking down D.C.’s handgun ban, Obama initially argued there hasn’t been any “wild shifts” in his public policy positions. “I do think that this notion that somehow we’ve had wild shifts in my positions is simply inaccurate,” Obama told Ifill in an interview that aired Tuesday night on the Newshour with Jim Lehrer. “You mentioned the gun position. I’ve been talking about the Second Amendment being an individual right for the last year and a half. So there wasn’t a shift there.”
But when Ifill pressed Obama on his refusal to accept public financing that would limit spending during the presidential campaign, despite an earlier promise to take public financing, the presumptive Democratic nominee said, “Well, campaign finance, there’s no doubt that that was a shift in recognizing that we could not broker a deal with the Republicans that would prevent the Republican National Committee or the Republican Governors Association or all these other organizations, that are already spending millions of dollars against us, that we could not contain them within a public financing system,” he said. “So the broader point, Gwen, is if you compare sort of my shift in emphasis on issues that I’ve been proposing for years, like say, faith-based initiatives, which have raised questions in the press, if you compare that to John McCain … if you compare that to John McCain’s complete reversal on oil drilling, complete reversal on George Bush’s tax cuts, complete reversal on immigration where he said he wouldn’t even vote for his own bill, that I think is a pretty hard case to make that somehow I’ve been shifting substantially relative to John McCain,” Obama said.
What Obama fails to admit is that in McCain’s case, on permitting more drilling, McCain was at least up-front in his reversal, stating that his position made sense, his earlier opposition to it, when oil was at $35 dollars per barrel. But now that Oil is over $100 per barrel, and is impacting the U.S. economy adversely, a change in position was called for. At least McCain, unlike Obama on the FISA vote, at least publicly gave reasons for his change that made sense. No one wants a politician so entrenched with his own views that he cannot/will not change his mind or position when facts or circumstances change.
As for Public Financing, Obama makes a good point, but he ruins his cred by failing to point out what was true for the Republicans was also true for the Democrats. McCain and the Republicans were in the exact same position, knowing they couldn’t make an agreement that was binding on the Democratic Governors Association or the Democratic National Committee.
Instead of unilaterally declaring he was opting out of public financing, and more importantly the component of it that would have limited spending, he wouldn’t be working so hard now to show voters he can be trusted, and believes what he says, if he had kept his promise and at least sat down, one on one, with McCain and attempted, in good faith, to make a deal. Now Obama has become part of the problem by making a general election budget of half a billion dollars…..altering forever, or at least for the foreseeable future, the price point of running for President.
I think that is the major problem with this whole flip-flop issue. Americans don’t mind a politician reversing course as much as they mind it being done under a false pretense or worse, being done while being denied it is. Denying a change of heart or mind on an issue is always wrong, and it plants the idea (rightfully so!) in the heads of the voters that whoever does it cannot be trusted.
Like Obama’s latest flip/flop on the Surge in Iraq, he altered his position, only slightly, but the way he did it makes it take on an importance it wouldn’t otherwise have. His campaign, in advance of his major speech on Iraq Tuesday, quietly changed his web site’s page on the subject, from stating flat-out the Surge couldn’t and wasn’t working, to an admission it was, had worked. To compound the error his campaign staff and Obama himself, went on the defensive, trying to sell the idea his position hadn’t changed at all, really. This pissed off his more liberal supporters, angered those leaning towards supporting him, and gave a big gift to the Republicans.
With each passing week it appears more and more as if Barack Obama and his staff are hell bent on proving he isn’t so much for real change as just giving the appearance of it…….
When will we finally get a true liberal running for office? Obama is 100% better than McCain, only so long as he holds true to the beliefs he put forward in the primaries. The more he distances himself from that Obama…..the less enthusiastic his core supporters will become.