Ed Driscoll

Shifting the Goalposts at the Washington Post

If you’re a politician on the right, reading that your views have “evolved” since taking office in the Washington Post is code that your ideology is slowly moving leftward. But when it comes to Barack Obama, voted the most liberal member of the Senate by the National Journal in 2007, just the opposite transformation has been taking place in recent months, as the Washington Post gears up to aid in his presidential reelection bid next year. The Post is morphing Mr. Obama into Barry Goldwater so slowly, I hardly even noticed. But let’s review the timeline anyhow, just for fun:

– The late Deborah Howell, then the Post’s ombudswoman, November 14, 2008.


— Headline on the cover of the February 16, 2009 edition of Newsweek, back when it was still owned by the Washington Post.

Flash-forward to 2011:

— Headline on column in the Washington Post by JournoList founder Ezra Klein, April 25, 2011.

— Headline on column in the Washington Post by E.J. Dionne Jr., December 25, 2011.

We’ll discount Charles Lane of the Washington Post recently claiming that longtime Obama mentor Jeremiah Wright shares the same foreign policy views as Ron Paul as a statistical outlier.

At least for now.

Related: At Commentary, Peter Wehner on Dionne’s “Old Rhetorical Tricks.” Wehner writes that “like Sam Tanenhaus, [Dionne] believes the role of conservatism is to ratify every radical gain of liberalism:”

Once ObamaCare is the law of the land, for example, repeal efforts become antithetical to conservatism. It’s also why Dionne was a passionate opponent of welfare reform in the mid-1990s; he believed that any effort to undo the welfare state achievements of liberalism was by definition un-conservative. This was (and remains) a terribly simplistic interpretation of conservatism.

Sadly, Dionne is now writing for a once great, now terribly simplistic newspaper. But read the rest of Wehner’s post; it goes on to describes a tactic we’ll see plenty more of next year from the left — and not at all “unexpectedly.”