Barack has spoken of how he cringed at the racist reaction of his white grandmother after she was accosted by a black man on a bus. Grandma has now been rehabilitated in a new ad as the loving woman who inculcated good old Kansas values into little Barack.
When his own surrogate, Gen. Wesley Clark, suggested John McCain's war service did not automatically qualify him as presidential timber, a storm erupted. Barack proceeded to cut the general's legs off.
His had been one of a few Senate voices to speak of Palestinian suffering. But Barack's address to the Israeli lobby read like it was plagiarized from the collected works of Ze'ev Jabotinsky.
When the Supreme Court declared every citizen has a Second Amendment right to a handgun, Barack stood with Justice Scalia. When Scalia said the court ought not to have taken away Louisiana's right to execute child rapists, Barack was with him again.
When Congress voted the telecoms immunity from prosecution for colluding with the Bush administration in wiretapping citizens, Barack stood with Bush and the telecoms. Fearing it might cost him his huge money-raising advantage over McCain, Barack tossed campaign finance reform over the side.
In Ohio, Barack was a populist opponent of NAFTA. He is now a free-trader. Yet when economic adviser Austan Goolsbee told the Canadians pretty much the same thing, Barack disinherited him.
As July 4 approached, Barack gratuitously dissed his friends at MoveOn.org for their "General Betray Us" ad mocking Gen. David Petraeus. And that flag pin Barack got rid of after 9-11, calling it a "substitute ... for real patriotism"? It's back on the lapel.
Last week, Barack said that, after he meets with Petraeus and his field commanders in Iraq, he might "refine" his commitment to withdraw all U.S. combat brigades within 16 months.
And finally, Obama has co-opted President Bush's faith-based initiative and claimed it as his own.
What is Obama up to? Having secured the nomination, he is moving to convince the nation he is neither a black militant nor a radical, but a man of the center who will even listen to the right.
Though infuriating to readers of The Huffington Post, this may save Barack. For in Middle America folks worry less about politicians adjusting positions than about True Believers willing to go over the cliff with flags flying -- and taking us with them.
Reagan was no Barry Goldwater. He knew when to "hold 'em," and he knew when to "fold 'em." Yet, America still knew who Reagan was.
We may be misunderestimating Barack. But the question of 2008 remains: When all is said and done, who is this guy?
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