Change, it turns out, wasn't all that it was cracked up to be. Having campaigned for the past year as the agent of transformation, the man who would lead an historic shift in America's political direction, Barack Obama is discovering that there is quite a lot he likes about the way things are.(via Instapundit)
Since securing the Democratic nomination a few weeks ago, the only change coming from the Illinois senator has been in what he seems to stand for. Last month he dropped his opposition to a Bill before Congress that would give telecoms companies immunity from prosecution for carrying out illegal wiretaps on potential terrorist suspects.
He told a cheering crowd of Israel's supporters of his fervent commitment to the security of the Jewish state and added, for good measure, that an “undivided” Jerusalem should be the nation's capital. He said that he likes free trade after all, and that his primary campaign pledge to dismantle the North American Free Trade Agreement was a case of “overheated rhetoric”.
Last week he expressed support for a Supreme Court decision that struck down a ban on handguns and opposition to another that outlawed the death penalty for rape of a child.
This week he promised to expand President Bush's faith-based organisations initiative, a programme that channels funds to religious groups so that they can deliver social welfare services, which the Left regards as a heinous blurring of Church-State separation.
If next week he named Dick Cheney as his running-mate and revealed that he spends his spare time drilling for oil in wildlife habitats, the only surprise would be that it took him so long.
Of course there's nothing much new in what the senator has done. In the lexicon of modern American politics, it's called a pivot. You campaign hard to the party's extreme in the primary election, where the base voters tend to be. Then, when the nomination is secure and there are no more idealists to be humoured, you pivot back to the centre. The only difference is that in Mr Obama's case the pivot is so hard and so fast that the entire Democratic Party is suffering from whiplash.
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
Gerard Baker in the Times of London: