Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Obama, "Pretzel Logic," and the News Media

Howard Kurtz, the Washington Post's media columnist:
Barack Obama is under hostile fire for changing his position on the D.C. gun ban.

Oh, I'm sorry. He didn't change his position, apparently. He reworded a clumsy statement.

That, at least, is what his campaign is saying. The same campaign that tried to spin his flip-flop in rejecting public financing as embracing the spirit of reform, if not the actual position he had once promised to embrace.

Is this becoming a pattern? Wouldn't it be better for Obama to say he had thought more about such-and-such an issue and simply changed his mind? Is that verboten in American politics?

Is it better to engage in linguistic pretzel-twisting in an effort to prove that you didn't change your mind?
I saw a lot of this in the Mitt Romney campaign. He said he changed his mind on abortion. Regardless of what you think of Romney, he should be able to announce a change of position, like Al Gore did in the other direction (from anti-abortion on demand to pro-choice). One change is allowable, I think; it only becomes a problem if the politician keeps changing on the same issue.

I don't think this will hurt Obama in terms of votes. I do think those on the left who thought he was their guy and was a different kind of politician should feel like they have been used. I still don't think most of them will care. I don't blame them. It's been eight long years, as far as they are concerned.


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