Obama a flip-flopper? Shut your mouth.
By Jim Wooten | Wednesday, July 9, 2008, 08:17 AM
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
AJC cartoonist Mike Luckovich, reflecting the angst of Democrats — or at least those who dominate the primary election process — has Barack Obama standing out of a hole in the ground against the outline of the earth. The Demo donkey expresses alarm: “So where do you think you’re going?” the donkey asks. The cartoon is entitled “Journey to the Center of the Electorate.” As usual, Mike captures the mood of the Democratic base which is, indeed, quite alarmed that Obama may be veering from la-la land, from the Planet of the Extreme, closer to the mainstream of public opinion, to, gasp, electability.
Obama took pains Tuesday in Cobb County to calm the fears of those on the fringe — rejecting claims, for example, that his views on an arbitrary withdrawal date from Iraq, and on other litmus test issues for the Left, are softening. Last week he’d said he might “refine” his views based on conversations with commanders and with facts on the ground.
Anybody who thinks he has moderated positions, he said, has not been paying attention. He rejected “this whole notion that I am shifting to the center or that I’m flip-flopping on this or that. You know,” said Obama, “the people who say this apparently haven’t been listening to me.”
Ah, but they have. That’s one of the problems Obama has as he seeks to find the mainstream. The constituencies and interest groups that dominate the primary selection process, have been listening. They know the code. When Obama suggests that he might refine his position based on reality and on the country’s actual national security interests, the anti-war base freaks, pulling in others from the fringe. The plain fact is that most of those on the left never wanted war for any reason, primarily because they saw it as a distraction, and a money diversion, from efforts to create new domestic entitlements like HillaryCare. They’ve been seething for seven years, growing more and more embittered with every troop deployment, that they are being delayed from their true mission in life by George W. Bush and the war in Iraq.