June 28, 2008
ANN ALTHOUSE on Obama's flipflops: "Every single one of those flipflops has been an improvement, in my opinion, so am I supposed to reject Obama for flipflopping? I voted for Obama in the Wisconsin primary in part because I predicted he'd turn out to be flexible and pragmatic. I do agree with Krauthammer that it's funny the way the people who fell for the Obama of the primaries — who, unlike me, actually liked those positions he was taking — are letting him get away with the flipflop. I suppose, just as I convinced myself that the real Obama was not the one I was seeing back then, they are convincing themselves that the real Obama is not the one they are seeing now."
As always with Obama, it's a question of who the rubes really are. It's the power of glamour.
UPDATE: Ann Althouse responds. I wasn't calling her a rube, particularly -- the "who are the rubes?" line has been a running thing with Obama, going back to this post: "When it comes to things like NAFTA, there seem to be only two possibilities. Either Obama's anti-NAFTA talk is a ruse to fool the rubes, or his coterie of distinguished economic experts is a ruse to fool a different batch of rubes."
To expand a bit: Either the people who believed the early-primary left-talk are the rubes, or the people who believe Obama now are the rubes . . . or anyone who thinks Obama has fixed principles at all is a rube. Your call.
ANOTHER UPDATE: From one of Ann's commenters:
I think the meaning of "rube" is similar to a hustler's mark -- someone who believes things they shouldn't because of some externally generated desire to believe. There's an element of conscious deception, too -- a rube is lied to, not misled.
I think the rube factor with Obama comes into play on two issues in particular: NAFTA and the war. On both issues, you get the impression that he's making promises that he not only won't keep, but that he can't keep and shouldn't keep.
Also, I originally read Althouse as calling my statement "gnomic," and was going to protest that I am not, and never have been, an Aorist. But she actually said "gnomish." That works, and demonstrates her deep learning, as Gnomish is a fairly loose language. Hence the need for me to post a clarification.