$500 million for Faith-Based Initiatives? Wow. Got to say, even after the last week, I didn’t see that one coming. Too many Sister Souljah moments to count. What I want to see now are some more Sister Souljah moments – ones moving back to the left.
Barack Obama dealt a bit in platitudes during the primaries – the “just a speech” rap – so that he’d have less to disassociate himself from once he had the nomination in hand. Very well done. He held back on a few whoppers, too. $500 million of ‘em. The other half of that strategy was to hope the centrist voter he’s been tacking to lately would be basically tabula zippo – no clear view on Obama’s positions, unaware of the #1 liberal ranking in the Senate and all that falderal.
Only thing is, shock and awe having faded some, the press is now determined to bring any voter not clear on Obama, up to speed. It’s “Tack-to-the-Center-Gate.” Yesterday’s press conference: “What positions did you have and when did you change ‘em?’
Let’s say I’m that centrist voter. I support faith-based initiatives. Think they are great. And, I love FISA. Love it. I’ve got a “I©FISA” bumper sticker on my car. There’s this candidate – let’s say his name is Barack Obama. Don’t know zip about him. Now I find out, he’s up for $500 million in faith-based programs. He kinda’ likes FISA, too. Great. So what I’ve got on my hands is a guy who I might vote for. One day I pick up the paper and find out, the guy used to hate FISA. Now, what I’ve got on my hands is a guy I know is a weasel. And if he’s a weasel, I don’t even know if I can really count on him about the damn initiatives.
Why not play it another way? Why back off everything? I’ll give Obama gun control. Sell out on that. Fine. I want John McCain so far from the White House in January of ’09, that I am not in the mood to walk into windmills. But on the war, don’t ever get mild. No matter “conditions on the ground.” Just say, “just like I’ve been telling you all along – we’re leaving. 16 months.” And, if memory serves, most of the country supports getting out of Iraq no matter what, anyway. So, find some stuff to champion that might completely turn off some folks you are hoping to get. If newly attentive evangelical Christians want you to fudge on funding for abortion, say “no. Not going to happen.”
Because – speaking of evangelicals – Mike Huckabee had it right. Here was a guy who proved that standing by unpopular positions gives a candidate bona fides he can apply elsewhere. Huckabee spoke of his concern for the little guy and you – speaking for myself – believed him because he was so sincere about his appalling lack of concern for women, non-theists or the gay guy.
For an inspiring example of what Obama could say, let’s go to one of the all-time campaign sinkers – Walter Mondale at the 1984 Democratic Convention “Mr. Reagan will raise taxes, and so will I. He won't tell you. I just did.” Shut out the lights.
But, hold on… Mondale was attempting to unseat the massively popular Ronald Reagan and had the monkey on his back of Jimmy Carter’s massively unpopular four years in the White House. Obama, conversely, is running against a guy who is trying to distance himself from a massively unpopular guy’s eight years in the White House, and his strategy is to adopt all the guy’s positions. So, on taxes, on choice, on a bunch of things – admit to being a “Massachusetts Liberal” in advance of being called one from now until November. It’s a possibly counter-intuitive plan of leading with your chin to pre-empt the Swift Boating to come. Sister-Souljah moments in reverse.