Barack Obama’s first two notable acts after clinching the nomination are rejecting public campaign financing and endorsing the Supreme Court’s gun decision.

He’s not making this easy.

: LATER: Howie Kurtz writes:

Barack Obama is under hostile fire for changing his position on the D.C. gun ban.

Oh, I’m sorry. He didn’t change his position, apparently. He reworded a clumsy statement.

That, at least, is what his campaign is saying. The same campaign that tried to spin his flip-flop in rejecting public financing as embracing the spirit of reform, if not the actual position he had once promised to embrace.

Is this becoming a pattern? Wouldn’t it be better for Obama to say he had thought more about such-and-such an issue and simply changed his mind? Is that verboten in American politics? Is it better to engage in linguistic pretzel-twisting in an effort to prove that you didn’t change your mind?

Regardless of what you think of the merits of yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling overturning the capital’s handgun law, it seems to me we’re entitled to a clear position by the presumed Democratic nominee. And I’m a bit confused about how the confusion came about.

  • Anon

    And supporting States rights to execute people for child rape. Is he really a right-winger at heart or is he perfecting the fine political art of pandering?

  • Jeff, as you know, I feel the Obama decision to reject taxpayer campaign financing was absolutely the right thing.

    This campaign is genuinely participatory, honestly grassroots and bottom up. We’re voting with our dollars as well as our activities, that’s part of the network.

    For Barack to reject that would be wrong.

    (I don’t have an opinion regarding the gun decision.)


  • Jeff, did you even read Obama’s comments in regards to the gun decision? He says he’s being 100% consistent. If that’s not the case, then that’ll be brought out, no doubt within hours by the McCain campaign. You can help them if you want, but I’d ask you to please not help them ;-)

    Anyway, I’ll take Obama at his word. I have no disagreement with what he said. He emphasized the rights of local communities to enact “common sense” laws that dictate how the individual’s right to bear arms actually plays out. That seems pretty fair and balanced to me. You (and I) might disagree on that interpretation of the 2nd amendment, but there’s not much we (or Obama) can do about a Supreme Court decision that’s already been made now, is there?

  • Rob


    You are acting like a child. Your candidate loses, so now you fuss and complain about how the chosen candidate isn’t perfect.

    Nobody is asking for blind faith, here. It is possible to support a candidate and be critical at the same time. You, however, seem to have forgotten the former, and instead have chosen to focus on the latter.

    There is a very important political reality that you seem to be ignoring: the general election. As a democrat, what are you trying to say to the Obama supporters? That you don’t want to come into their tent?


  • James

    Don’t forget he’s also for telco immunity for illegal spying.

  • Aron


    It’s annoying, yeah, but I’m wondering how Senator Clinton would have handled those. Would she get a pass?

    And seriously, the petulance in all of your political posts is really grating.

  • No agreeing with you is called petulance. I’d say that’s pentulance. Can we talk about the issues, perhaps?

  • James,

    I’ll defend Obama on that one. When the government forces you to do something, I believe you should be immune. I say that as someone who ran web sites and got subpoenas all the time demanding abusive commenters’ IPs, which would next be taken (usually be local police chiefs who’d been criticized in forums) to internet hosts. I found it distasteful but I didn’t have much choice. (Though this was why I also reduced the amount of time we held onto this data.) I tend to believe that government demands imply immunity. Of course, the added wrinkle in this case is the inability to fight openly — but that may be all the more reason for immunity. I know this won’t be a popular view among many Obama fans who did criticize him for this (were they called petulant?) but I do think he did the right thing.

  • “When the government forces you to do something, I believe you should be immune.”
    On this you are wrong. The ultimate check on a government’s ability to do wrong is citizen’s willingness to resist. It may not be fair to punish those who are coerced, but it IS necessary. Only if the consequences of giving in are greater than those of resisting will there be any motivation to resist illegal government action. In the absence of consequences for knowingly violating the law, rule of law cannot endure. The distance between illegal wire tapping and concentration camps is a small one if the steps from one to the other can be taken without fear of punishment. It is a slippery slope…

    bob wyman

  • I’m confused – when are politics easy?

  • Brian

    Re: the telecom immunity legislation: I think it’s unconstitutional in any event. Seems to fit all the tests for a retroactive law, which used to be unconstitutional once upon a time. I am hoping that any future suits will be allowed by judges, citing such. And I know there are several pending cases, which were filed before this law (which technically hasn’t passed yet).

    Again, it can’t be stated enough: if the pressure was so intense, how come Qwest didn’t comply?

    Speaks poorly of Obama, though. Remind me again why I’m supposed to vote Democrat – and make it better than the ‘lesser of two evils’ baloney…

  • The issue of immunity for the telcos is not designed to protect the telcos. It is designed to protect the government and its officials who broke the law and violated the constitution. With immunity no one can sue them to find out what the government asked them to do and who in the government asked them. Maybe they shouldn’t be penalized for doing what the government asked them to do, but they shouldn’t get a pass especially when that permits Bush regime law-breakers and constitution rapers to get off scott free.

  • Andy Freeman

    > He emphasized the rights of local communities to enact “common sense” laws that dictate how the individual’s right to bear arms actually plays out.

    For almost as long as Obama was a member of Wright’s church, he was on the board of directors of the Joyce Foundation. During that time, the JF advocated gun bans on the local, state, and national levels. (Is the last “local”?)

    Maybe that’s not the JF that he thought that he knew.

  • Andy Freeman

    Note that Obama is perfectly free to say that he’ll appoint supreme court justices who will overturn Heller.

    He has a litmus test for abortion, so why not one for guns?

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