By Dave Lindorff
President Obama ran for president promising change. What his backers didn't realize was that he wasn't talking about changing America for the better. He was talking about changing his position whenever he found himself in a confrontation with Republicans. There's a reason that beginning with Obama's 2008 campaign, and on through the past five years of his presidency, we have gotten used to a presidential behavior called "pivoting."
Pivoting, as applied to President Obama and his administration, is a euphemism for surrendering quickly on a seeming position of principle, strength or tradition, and moving in an entirely different, and often treacherous direction that betrays what before appeared to be a principle.
With the US having just lost two wars in the Middle East, for example, last year the president announced that he was "pivoting" away from more war to shifting America's military to Asia. That hasn't worked out so well either, so I'm guessing we'll probably soon see a new pivot, shifting the military focus perhaps to South America?
Back in 2009 and 2010, when the economy was tanking, and President Obama was spending so much time promoting his health care "reform" agenda, on multiple occasions he and his press office would announce that he was "pivoting" to jobs, or to dealing with the unemployment crisis. These pivots wouldn't amount to anything, because later he'd pivot to another issue and drop the focus on jobs.
Pivoting, it turns out, is really a way of saying that he doesn't have any real commitment to some issue, but is going to pretend to focus on it for a while.
It's characteristic of a guy who really doesn't stand for anything, but tries to look like he does.
That is dangerous in the present moment, with a hard core of Congressional Tea Party fanatics leading the Republicans in the House in extorting the government with the threat of default by refusing raise the national debt limit -- a bizarre situation that no other country faces none has such a law requiring the government to keep its total borrowing below an arbitrary limit set annually by Congress.