NYT's Herbert: Obama Flip-flops a 'Very Dangerous Game'

You can now add New York Times columnist Bob Herbert to the growing list of liberal media members so concerned with the recent flip-flops by presumptive Democrat presidential nominee Barack Obama that they're willing to publicly express their angst for all to see.

In this instance, the disappointment regarding the junior senator from Illinois's many changes of heart was palpable.

In an article entitled "Lurching With Abandon," Herbert attacked his candidate of choice with almost a Netroots-like fervor (emphasis added):

In one of the numbers from “Fiddler on the Roof,” Tevye sings, with a mixture of emotions: “We haven’t got the man ... we had when we began.” [...]

But Senator Obama is not just tacking gently toward the center. He’s lurching right when it suits him, and he’s zigging with the kind of reckless abandon that’s guaranteed to cause disillusion, if not whiplash. [...]

“What’s he doing?” is the most common question heard recently from Obama supporters.

For one thing, he’s taking his base for granted, apparently believing that such stalwart supporters as blacks, progressives and pumped-up younger voters will be with him no matter what. A taste of the backlash this can produce erupted on the candidate’s own Web site. [...]

There has been a reluctance among blacks to openly criticize Senator Obama, the first black candidate with a real shot at the presidency. But behind the scenes, there is discontent among African-Americans, as well, over Mr. Obama’s move away from progressive issues, including his support of the Supreme Court’s decision affirming the constitutional right of individuals to bear arms.

There's even concern that he's doing the Obama two-step on the issue that has been the cornerstone of his campaign: his opposition to the war in Iraq. [...]

Obama is betting that in the long run none of this will matter, that the most important thing is winning the White House, that his staunchest supporters (horrified at the very idea of a President McCain) will be there when he needs them...But that's a very dangerous game for a man who first turned voters on by presenting himself as someone who was different, who wouldn't engage in the terminal emptiness of politics as usual.

Strong words indeed, especially from a devout liberal like Herbert who also happens to be African-American.

In the end, one could make the case that press members are trying to get their concerns voiced now, during the summer, and well before the Convention. After all, that's when most citizens begin to get engaged in the election process.

Although this is possible, it is equally so that folks like Herbert, and the many other journalists that have been voicing similar opinions, are indeed disappointed with Obama's flip-flops, and having gushed so fawningly over the junior senator for so many months, might now be inclined to examine his future words and deeds rather than shamelessly rubberstamp them.

We'll see.

Campaigns & Elections 2008 Presidential New York Times Bob Herbert
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