I saw this in this morning's WSJ:
Obama The Blur
July 11, 2008; Page A14
At his current pace, Barack Obama is going to give Bill Clinton a run for his reputation as a political shape-shifter. Witness his performance this week in the Senate on foreign intelligence surveillance. He voted to gut the bill before he voted to pass it.
For two weeks, Mr. Obama has been taking flak from his left flank for declaring his support for executive branch eavesdropping on terrorists overseas. During the primaries, Mr. Obama had promised to join a filibuster to kill it. But, lo, as the general election beckoned, he saw the light of Presidential power shine upon him and decided not to give John McCain an opening to call him soft on national security.
But this week's Senate debate also featured three amendments that would have weakened or gutted the bipartisan compromise. Mr. Obama voted for all three. The worst, sponsored by Chris Dodd, would have gone so far as to strip immunity for the telecom companies that assisted the government after 9/11. Without immunity, the companies won't cooperate lest they get sued by the ACLU ad infinitum, putting U.S. security seriously at risk. Yet Mr. Obama was one of only 32 Senators who voted for this killer amendment.
Mr. Obama did vote for final passage, which prevailed 69-28, though no thanks to the Illinois Senator who will benefit most from the legislation if he wins in November. This is one more gift from President Bush to his successor, who won't have to spend political capital beating off the anti-antiterror left to protect this war-fighting ability.
Mr. Obama's both for-it and against-it pose raises the issue of what he really believes. Perhaps in voting for the killer amendments, he was trying to appease the left while knowing he'd pay no political price because the amendments would fail. But this hyper-triangulation hardly inspires confidence in a potential President, who doesn't have the luxury of being on both sides of every issue.
Most Presidential campaigns put a candidate in sharper focus as they unfold. Since he's locked down the nomination, Mr. Obama has become the candidate who blurs.
Obama The Blur - WSJ.com