After almost six weeks of a constant Obama lead, generally in the
five to seven-point range, Scott Rasmussen’s daily tracking poll
records two consecutive days of a tie race (July 12-13) and a one-point
Obama lead on July 14. What happened to the Democrat’s lead?
Part of the slippage is Obama’s fault and part is McCain’s gain.
Obama has carried flip-flopping to new heights. In the space of a
month and a half, this candidate - who we don’t really yet know very
well - reversed or sharply modified his positions on at least eight key
• After vowing to eschew private fundraising and take public financing, he has now refused public money.
• Once he threatened to filibuster a bill to protect telephone
companies from liability for their cooperation with national security
wiretaps; now he has voted for the legislation.
• Turning his back on a lifetime of support for gun control, he now
recognizes a Second Amendment right to bear arms in the wake of the
Supreme Court decision.
• Formerly, he told the Israeli lobby that he favored an undivided Jerusalem. Now he says he didn’t mean it.
• From a 100 percent pro-choice position, he now has migrated to expressing doubts about allowing partial-birth abortions.
• For the first time, he now speaks highly of using church-based institutions to deliver public services to the poor.
• Having based his entire campaign on withdrawal from Iraq, he now pledges to consult with the military first.
• During the primary, he backed merit pay for teachers - but before the union a few weeks ago, he opposed it.
• After specifically saying in the primaries that he disagreed with
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s (D-N.Y.) proposal to impose Social
Security taxes on income over $200,000 and wanted to tax all income, he
has now adopted the Clinton position.
Obama’s breathtaking flips and flops are materially different from
McCain’s. While McCain had opposed offshore oil drilling and now
supports it, the facts have obviously changed. Obama’s shifts have
nothing to do with altered circumstances, just a change in the
As a candidate who was nominated to be a different kind of
politician, Obama has set the bar pretty high. And, with his flipping
and flopping, he is falling short, to the disillusionment of his more
naïve supporters. One wag even called him the “black Bill Clinton,” a
turnaround of the “first black president” moniker that had been pinned
Meanwhile, McCain and the Republicans have finally found an issue -
oil drilling - exposing how the Democrats oppose drilling virtually
anywhere that there might be recoverable oil. Not in Alaska. Not
offshore. Not in shale deposits in the West. The Democratic claim that
we “cannot drill our way out of the crisis in gas prices” begs the
question of whether, had we drilled five years ago, we would be a lot
less dependent on foreign market fluctuations.
The truth is that the Democrats put the need to mitigate climate
change ahead of the imperative of holding down gasoline prices at the
pump. If there was ever a fault line between elitist and populist
approaches to a problem, this is it. In fact, liberals basically don’t
see much wrong with $5 gas. Many have been urging a tax to achieve
precisely this level, just like Europe has done for decades.
Obama said that he was unhappy that there was not a period of
“gradual adjustment” to the high prices, but seems to shed few tears
over the current levels. After all, if your imperative is climate
change, a high gas price is worth 10 times a ratified Kyoto treaty in
bringing about change.
Republicans can drive a truck through the gap between this elite
opinion and the need for ordinary people to afford the journey to work
in the morning. And, with a 16-state media buy, the Republican Party
and the McCain campaign are doing precisely that.
If Obama softens his aversion to drilling, it may be the final straw
for some of his liberal supporters. Where would they go? Nader is still
a possibility. But McCain can attract liberal votes. He doesn’t need to
bleed Obama only from the right. His own stands against drilling in
Alaska and torture of terror suspects and for immigration reform make
him suspect on the right, but quite acceptable to the left. If moderate
liberals are disgusted by Obama’s obvious attempts at chicanery and
repositioning, they might just cross the aisle.