The Rorschach candidate

Mara Liasson points out why, everything else aside, Obama cannot today be trusted with the Presidency:

HUME: All this does raise a question, Mara, whether he is making sort of the normal changes in emphasis to position himself as more of a centrist or whether what we’re seeing here is a real flight from previously held positions into something completely new.

LIASSON: Well, that’s the big question. And what I think is so interesting is how few people seem to know which one it is.

I mean, Paul Krugman, who’s a liberal columnist, wrote this week, “Gee, is he a centrist just masquerading as someone who’s a transformational progressive figure or is he really the opposite?” You know, people just don’t know. He’s a blank slate. Because he’s so new, he is a kind of Rorschach test.

With an ordinary candidate you have a record to examine, and that gives you some idea where that candidate stands. With Obama, you have no record to speak of, which leaves you with only what he says. Trusting a politician’s current rhetoric is always a risky proposition, but it’s particularly so with Obama, who specializes in lofty and inspiring (to some), but substance-free rhetoric. (Moreover, on the occasions he does make a clear statement — such as promising withdrawal from Iraq in 16 months, or stating the D.C. handgun ban is constitutional — he won’t stand by them for long.)

(ASIDE: Obama’s voting record is even thinner than you would expect from his brief tenure in government.  In the Illinois legislature he made a specialty of voting “present”, and in the 110th Congress he has missed 43% of the votes.  (On the occasions he did vote, he voted with his party 97% of the time; earning the National Journal’s title of most liberal Senator.))

Obama makes the point himself in his book, The Audacity of Hope:

I am new enough on the national political scene that I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.

The upshot is we haven’t the slightest idea what kind of president Barack Obama would be.  This strikes me as profoundly dangerous.

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