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The "Never Mind" Candidate

11:22 AM, Jun 19, 2008 • By DEAN BARNETT
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Above is footage of Barack Obama rejecting public financing for the general election. It has to be watched to be believed - please check it out. Note the angry sense of victimization he uses to justify his flip/flop.

Now courtesy of the wayback machine, here's Obama's position on the same matter just four short months ago. Jim Geraghty calls our attention to the February 16 Washington Post:

AS RECENTLY as November, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) was unequivocal about whether he would agree to take public financing for the general election if his Republican opponent pledged to do the same. "If you are nominated for president in 2008 and your major opponents agree to forgo private funding in the general election campaign, will you participate in the presidential public financing system?" the Midwest Democracy Network asked in a questionnaire. Mr. Obama's answer was clear. "Yes," he wrote. "If I am the Democratic nominee, I will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election."

Of course, John McCain is taking public financing.

So here's the question worth pondering: Given that as of February 16 Obama looked to have an enormous fundraising advantage over any potential rival, was his agreement to take public financing ill-advised or, you know, a lie? Personally, I opt for the former. Taking strong positions without understanding their implications has become something of an Obama signature. Recall the fierceness with which he clung to his promise to conduct face-to-face diplomacy with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad without "preconditions." He later abandoned this promise when he discovered the magic of "preparations" and the loads of differences between "preparations" and "preconditions."

But regardless of whether Obama's promise to partake in public financing was a fib or a mistake, operationally the implications remain the same. A pattern has emerged: Barack Obama implicitly has reserved the right to revisit his promises when it turns out they've been stupid or are no longer convenient.

Personally, this doesn't concern me as a conservative since virtually all of his rhetoric aside from the hope/change stuff has struck my ears as stupid. For instance, his fondness for $4/gallon gas betrays an extraordinary ignorance of how ordinary Americans who don't reside in big cities live their lives. I'm happy that if he's ever president he'll revisit such idiocies.

But if I were a liberal, I'd feel differently. Obama obviously feels as unconstrained by his words as the typical Clinton. And since all his promises to date have been made in order to please liberals, I'd find that cause for concern.

Exit question: How long until the swooning Obama-philes appraise this latest pile of manure he clumsily stepped in and praise his fancy footwork?