I remember President-elect Bill Clinton appearing via videotape to celebrate Arsenio Hall's thousandth broadcast. This was either late 1992 or early 1993, and Clinton (who had appeared a year ealier to play his sax) made a passing reference to poring over "those big, heavy, depressing budget books." I instantly thought one thing: Well, goodbye middle-class tax cut. With those six words, Clinton had laid the groundwork for going back on one of his most oft-repeated campaign promises. A month later, when he delivered his budget address, and specifically ruled out a tax cut for anyone (though with his usual soupcon of self-pity), I think I was the least suprised person in America.
What surprised me was this: Clinton paid no political price for what he did. The New York Times, which hates tax cuts as much as it hates Rush Limbaugh, praised him for making the "tough decisions." And the republic went on.
So now we come to Obama. On Wright, on public financing, on Iraq, on meeting with dictators, on NAFTA, on gun ownership, on town hall debates, on the death penalty for rapists, there is not even the pretense of an evolution or maturing different "facts on the ground" or whatever you want to call it. Obama simply says today the opposite of what he said yesterday, and counts on a willful press to cover for him. A few months ago, on his website, he, in no uncertain terms, came out in support of the D.C. gun ban. Last week, he came out in support of the Supremem Court decision overturning the gun ban, and had the previous comment scrubbed. Bam. Done. Over.
Charles Krauthammer has more.