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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.

Indeed.

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.

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