For one last example, consider George McGovern's 1972 campaign. He, of course, ran a powerful primary battle to end the war in Vietnam. On the floor of the Senate, he proclaimed: "Every senator in this chamber is partly responsible for sending 50,000 young Americans to an early grave. This chamber reeks of blood. It does not take any courage at all for a congressman or a senator or a president to wrap himself in the flag and say we are staying in Vietnam because it is not our blood that is being shed."
And then in September, he went to Vietnam to consult with the generals. Upon his return, he pivoted to the center. He announced: "Well, leaving may not be practical. The generals tell me just another 200,000 troops and we can win this thing. So what the heck; let's go for a victory, as all of the independent voters and most conservative blue-collar Democrats want. I may be progressive, but I'm practical. If I want to win this election, I've got to promise to win the war."
Of course, none of those things happened in past presidential elections. While some past presidential candidates may have emphasized more moderate parts of their agendas in the fall (although many, such as Reagan and McGovern, never even did that), I would appreciate Obama supporters (or others) bringing to my attention examples of straight-out reversals of one major position after another, such as Obama has executed recently.
I am not aware of anything remotely comparable to Sen. Obama's recent reversals of positions. To my knowledge, it is without moral precedent in modern American presidential elections. It is an act of political cynicism, compounded in its audacity by Sen. Obama's explicit claim to being above politics as usual.
This election season is getting interesting. Obama seems to have opened himself up to Dr. Samuel Johnson's famous admonition: "Be not too hasty to trust or admire the teachers of virtue; they discourse like angels, but they live like men."
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.