“What would be important would be for us to do it in a way that allows the entire world to understand the murderous acts that he’s engaged in and not to make him into a martyr, and to assure that the United States government is abiding by basic conventions that would strengthen our hand in the broader battle against terrorism,”
–Barack Obama June 18th, 2008
If he was captured alive, then we would make a decision to bring the full weight of not only US justice but world justice down on him. And, uh, I think that I’ve said this before, that I am not a cheerleader for the death penalty … I think it has to be reserved for only the most heinous crimes, but I certainly think that plotting and engineering the death of 3,000 Americans justifies such an approach.
–Barack Obama July 11th, 2008
Video of the latest flip-flop:
There is no way, no how, that Osama bin Laden would NOT be a martyr if we executed him. Most Americans would be ok with that. But when Obama says one week he doesn’t want to make him a martyr and then three weeks later says he is ok with killing the guy, thats a flip-flop. He is trying to play both sides of the fence on every topic to move to the center and in so doing is only proving the guy has no problem changing what he believes to get elected.
Paul Mirengoff at Powerline comments on Ramesh Ponnuru assertion that Obama’s flip-flops is his attempt to distance himself from the leftist charge and that McCain’s own flip-flops will provide cover for Obama:
First, abandoning leftist positions is no guarantee that Obama will escape the perception of being left-wing. Voters may well conclude that Obama is both a leftist and a phony. Indeed, I think that’s the best reading of the current evidence.
Second, Ponnuru may be too quick to conclude that McCain’s own shifts will provide cover for Obama. For one thing, broad portions of the public already believe they know John McCain to be someone who, at least as politicians go, calls them as he sees them, sometimes at the risk of harm to his political fortunes. Obama, who is still introducing himself to the public, has no pre-existing reputation for political courage or integrity. Moreover, he came to prominence claiming to be a new kind of politician. Early evidence that he is anything but could be quite damaging.
To be sure, McCain’s reputation is subject to being tarnished and perhaps already has been to a slight degree. But other things being equal, McCain’s reputation gives him an advantage over the tabula rasa that is Obama. As they say, you only get one chance to make a first impression.
Moreover, other things are not equal when it comes to the flip-flops of McCain and Obama. As to McCain, Ponnuru points, as his primary examples, to McCain’s views on the Bush tax cuts and offshore drilling. In one case, McCain does not want to eliminate tax cuts he opposed years ago. In the other case, McCain favors increased drilling in response to the doubling of oil prices, while still opposing drilling in the area of greatest controversy — ANWR. I doubt that this level of inconsistency will undo McCain’s reputation as, relatively speaking, a straight-shooter — a reputation which has been dramatically reinforced by his steadfastness on Iraq.
The left is doing their best to put the flip-flop label on McCain but its a losing proposition for them. Obama has proved himself to be a worthy adversary in the flip-flop battle with one John Kerry.
A month after emerging victorious from the bruising Democratic nominating contest, some of Barack Obama’s glow may be fading. In the latest NEWSWEEK Poll, the Illinois senator leads Republican nominee John McCain by just 3 percentage points, 44 percent to 41 percent. The statistical dead heat is a marked change from last month’s NEWSWEEK Poll, where Obama led McCain by 15 points, 51 percent to 36 percent.