I get it. We should be grateful for Obama's willingness to reverse himself on the issue of money and corruption in politics, which he led us to believe involved a nonnegotiable core principle, because it shows he's got courage -- courage enough to stare down the likes of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Unbelievable.
But if pressed, even the slick Obama will have trouble squaring his new stance with his September 2007 statement that he would agree to public financing if his GOP opponent would and his February 2008 statement to Tim Russert that he would sit down with Sen. McCain and try to agree to a system fair for both sides.
But his shift on public finance is hardly shocking when taken in the context of his many other major (and some minor) flip-flops. I just ask you to consider the common thread underlying all of these turnarounds (though just a partial list): a) his condemnation of union contributions to the Clinton and Edwards campaigns as "special interest money" but his eager acceptance of such money for himself as coming from representatives of the "working people"; b) his flip on ending (January 2004) then retaining (August 2007) the Cuba embargo; c) his March 2004 statement that opposed a crackdown on businesses hiring illegal immigrants, compared with his Jan. 31, 2008, debate statement endorsing such a crackdown; d) his advocating the decriminalization of marijuana in January 2004 versus his Oct. 30, 2007, position opposing its decriminalization; e) his jaw-dropping same-day flip on having Jerusalem remain the undivided capital of Israel; f) his shameless reversal on NAFTA; g) his nearly immediate backtracking on whether Iran poses a serious threat to America; h) his progressive position shifts on Iraq -- as documented by Peter Wehner and Michael Barone -- from "don't go in, stay in, and get out"; i) and his vigorous defense then abandonment of both his pastor and his church.
The common thread, in a word, is expedience. It is not toughness; it is not savvy; it is not gravitas; and by all means, it is not admirable.
Barack Obama is every bit as politically calculating as Bill Clinton but twice as smooth. And if that doesn't jolt you, you're sleeping.