If I were a supporter of Barack Obama I would be nervous. Why? Is it his inexperience, his radical connections, or his stale liberal positions? Nope. I would be nervous because he seems fundamentally incapable of sticking with his principles on a host of issues large and small.
I know his supporters are enthralled with Mr. Hope and Change, but shouldn’t it worry them that he is so quick to backtrack and hedge his answers – or even switch positions entirely – during the course of a relatively short campaign? What will happen should he feel the real pressure of actual leadership (something he has yet to do in any real capacity)?
The most recent example is public financing. When Obama was the underdog fighting against the Clinton machine he promised to work with the GOP nominee and agree to public financing for the general election campaign:
“If I am the Democratic nominee, I will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election.”
This past April, however, he began backtracking and seeking a way out of his promise. Clearly, having raised more money than anyone he was suddenly unwilling to keep his word. He offered this laughable excuse:
"We have created a parallel public financing system where the American people decide if they want to support a campaign they can get on the Internet and finance it, and they will have as much access and influence over the course and direction of our campaign that has traditionally been reserved for the wealthy and the powerful.”
Who needs public financing when you can simply redefine your own campaign as a “parallel public financing system”?
And now Obama has made it official: he will be the first candidate since Richard Nixon to not participate in public financing for the general election. In going back on his word Obama, in classic fashion, declares that this is how to declare “independence from a broken system” and “truly change how Washington works." Only in Obama’s world can breaking a promise mean Hope and Change. For a man who puts such stock in the power of words, he abandons his own with remarkable regularity.
In fact, a clear pattern has developed on issues where his rhetoric meets political risk. Obama moves from denial to obfuscation to capitulation. He follows this pattern on his associations and issues.