Tony Blankley

Way back in June, Sen. Barack "middle name not permitted to be mentioned" Obama campaigned on the theme of "Change We Can Believe In." Now, several days later, his theme should be "Change We Can't Keep Up With." Apparently, the change he was calling for was not for Washington politics, but for his primary campaign positions. Abortion, gun control, capital punishment, FISA laws, the status of Jerusalem, faith-based federal programs, public financing of his campaign, welfare, NAFTA and free trade, and his commitment to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and his Trinity Church all have fallen to reconsideration, rephrasing, changed rhetorical modulation, and other semantic miracles.

His Iraq position is currently in the process of glissading from anti to pro, so we will have to wait for a while before saying he actually has changed it. To be precise, to stay in my dance metaphor, Obama's move may not be a glissade so much as a fouétte. Centralhome.com's "Dance Dictionary" defines a fouétte as "a turning step, usually done in a series, in which the working leg whips out to the side in and then into the knee as the dancer turns on the supporting leg, rising onto the point at each revolution." I like to be precise in describing Sen. Obama because, while informal, he is a stickler when it comes to such matters.

As a conservative, of course, I like all his changed views except for the fact that he doesn't believe his current iteration of principle any more than he believed his previous iteration. Which brings us, as it always does in such circumstances, to America's greatest fraud sniffer, H.L. Mencken. He defined a demagogue as "one who preaches doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots." It is not surprising that the youth is particularly enchanted by the senator from Illinois. Being young, they are inexperienced in the ways of the world.

I offer to our youth the cautionary tale of Ludwig van Beethoven when he was in his early 30s. He originally called his "Eroica" symphony the "Bonaparte" symphony as a tribute to Napoleon Bonaparte, then the heroic French consul who had begun to reform Europe radically after gaining military victories over various monarchically ruled countries. But Beethoven became disillusioned when, in 1804, Napoleon crowned himself emperor. Beethoven then renamed the symphony the "Eroica" because he refused to dedicate one of his great compositions to the man he now considered a "tyrant."


Tony Blankley

Tony Blankley, a conservative author and commentator who served as press secretary to Newt Gingrich during the 1990s, when Republicans took control of Congress, died Sunday January 8, 2012. He was 63.

Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.

In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.

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