The New York Times slams Obama in its lead editorial:
In recent days I’ve been wondering if Obama’s reversals are an example of deft Clintonian triangulation, or if they will begin to hurt his candidacy. About a month ago, I wrote about Obama’s Mitt Romney problem, noting that, “Obama has never had to run a general election campaign against a viable Republican in which his liberal views underwent scrutiny and he was forced to move to the center to compete for independents.”
The advantage that Obama has in making these shifts is that Democrats are so desperate to retake the White House, that they are going to give him a lot of wiggle room, and that a willingness by Obama to abandon any position that causes him problems does undermine McCain by making it harder for him to portray Obama as a radical liberal.
However, here’s where I think that the flip flop problem could be disastrous for Obama, and perhaps even more damaging than it was for John Kerry. Obama has absolutely no real accomplishments to run on, and a very slim public record. He has made a world of promises to change the world, but there’s nothing tangible in his past that he can point to that would demonstrate he has the ability to achieve any of it. If people stop believing in him, if he loses his image as a new kind of politician, if people don’t trust his words, what’s left? Why take a risk on somebody with practically no experience if you can’t trust a damn word he says?
Like an inflated Internet stock in the late 1990s, Obama’s meteoric rise on the basis of superficial factors may very well be followed by a precipitous fall, triggering a “flight to safety” in the form of John McCain.