He certainly caught me by surprise. I had not expected that Barack Obama would have performed such a perfect pivot to the center in such a short period of time.
How did Jeremiah Wright’s adopted son wake up one morning and discover that he was Ronald Reagan’s love child?
We all understand why it happened. Having been shellacked in the midterm elections, Obama was simply responding to the will of the America.
Throughout the first two years of his presidency, he managed to ignore public opinion and infuriated large segments of the electorate by jamming his agenda down their collective throats. Now, however, he had become utterly responsive to their will.
But, does anyone really believe it? If one of your close personal friends underwent a radical metamorphosis from one day to the next, you would start thinking either that he was trying to trick you or that he had a brain tumor.
If the polls are any indication, the American people, bless their hearts, seem to be buying it. They have rediscovered the candidate they voted for in 2008, and seem more than willing to forgive and forget the president they had seen in action in 2009-10.
The same holds true of some of the right leaning members of the pundit class. Great thinkers who had thrown their prestige behind the hope and change candidate had been hiding out in their bunkers, feeling that they had bee duped in 2008.
Now, the despair has lifted and they have crawled out into the light of day, breathing a great sigh of relief. Just as they had suspected, they were right all along.
When it comes to intellectuals, nothing is more appealing than the thought that they were right all along. Anything is better than the anguish that befalls you when you think that your great mind has been tricked by a second-rate poser.
So now, Obama has morphed back into the person his most fervent supporters believed they were voting for. He has done it quicker even than Bill Clinton did. And Bill Clinton was an exceptionally gifted politician, to say nothing of… seducer.
You do not have to have lived to long to know that quick and total transformation cannot be convincing. To a rational mind, it is a sign of deceit and deception, of a lack of principle and conviction. We do not need to know the meaning of the deceit, but we should hesitate before accepting it as real.
Of course, a few dead-enders still refuse to believe in the transformation. As expected, they have been denounced as cynics and haters.
Some of them have had the temerity to point out that since Obama accomplished most of his legislative goals in his first two years, his best tactic right now is to get himself re-elected. In that way he can thwart those who want to roll back his legacy. He is doing what he has to do to preserve his transformative agenda. Wouldn’t you?
But, cynicism is as cynicism does. And Obama, give him this credit, might be sufficiently cynical to believe that if he starts playing a different tune the American people will happily forgive and forget the last two years.
Maybe it’s time to dust off an old adage: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.