Victor Davis Hanson

Obama wants to continue Bush's successful multilateral efforts to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan, and now praises the Bush-inspired six-party talks with North Korea that led to the apparent dismantling of Pyongyang's nuclear program. Like Bush, he advocated expanding the military after the Clinton-era troop cuts. Obama once advocated lifting the embargo against Cuba -- but no longer. Like Bush, he thinks that it is wise to leave it be.

There is suddenly not much difference when it comes to the Middle East, either. Palestinian supporters were dismayed to hear Obama promise that Jerusalem must be Israel's eternal and undivided capital.

Obama once criticized Bush for his unwillingness to meet directly with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and exaggerating the danger from Iran, which supposedly didn't "pose any serious threat." Lately though, he agrees with the president that Iran now in fact is a "grave threat."

Obama's most serious about-face is on Iraq. He once promised a rigid and rapid timetable for withdrawing our troops. But given the radical success of Gen. David Petraeus' surge and change in tactics, Obama is now calling for withdrawals to be based on the conditions on the ground in Iraq. How different is this plan from the present administration's policy of incrementally sending home brigades as Petraeus hands off security responsibilities to Iraqis in additional provinces?

It makes political sense that Obama is moving to the center since he knows that a Northern liberal like himself has not won a presidential election since 1960. So don't expect Obama's metamorphosis to stop now. Before this campaign is over, he may well flip some more; would anybody be surprised if he starts supporting some of Bush's proposal for expanded domestic oil drilling or backtracks on raising trillions in new payroll taxes?

In fact, replace George Bush's Texas twang, cowboy strut and evangelical Bible thumping with Barack Obama's mellifluous "hope and change" rhetoric, easy grace and leftwing Christianity and we may discover a flashy new cover to an old book.

A final question: If, even as Obama trashes Bush, he seems to agree with him on so many fronts, why don't conservatives and Republicans adopt Obama as a welcome convert?

Some may, but most I’ve talked with don't think Obama is sincere and feel he will flip back to being left wing if elected. Or they think that Obama is changing so fast and so radically that it’s hard to believe he really knows who he is -- or would be as president.


Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal.