Chicken Or Egg?

Stephen Green, the esteemed (and high-octane) Vodkapundit, has a fascinating screen shot up from The Drudge Report. I’m going to steal it here:

drsc20080908.jpg

Mr. Green attributes these to nervousness and uncertainty on Mr. Obama’s behalf, and I think that there’s a certain versimilitude to his theory. But I’m having another thought.

Let’s look aside from the first one — it’s a typical Obama verbal stumble, nothing new. Rather, let’s look on the next three:

  • Obama now reveals, for the first time (and not in either of his biographical books), that he seriously considered enlisting in the military right out of high school.
  • Obama has made repealing the Bush tax cuts a key element of his economic plan, but is now considering extending them.
  • Obama now says that his response to the question about abortion — “that’s above my pay grade” — was too flippant, and regrets saying it.

And, right below these, a report that McCain now holds a serious lead over Obama in polls.

Now, I don’t put much stock in polls, but it’s obvious that Obama (as well as most politicians) do. And numbers like that have to be frightening as hell.

So, is there a connection between Obama’s recent moves, backing off from some of his previous key principles? And if so, how?

I see two possibilities.

The first is that Obama is realizing that he needs to tack more towards the center in order to win the election, and is trying to distance himself from his more extreme positions to broaden his appeal to the middle-of-the-road voters.

The other is that people are seeing him do that, realizing that he’s an empty suit with no real convictions beyond winning election, and are choosing to distance themselves from Obama.

Either way, it’s a fascinating little snapshot. Thanks for catching it, Stephen — hoist one for me.

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