By Jim Geraghty | June 26, 2009 4:00 AM | National Review
Ever since Barack Obama declared his candidacy for president, it’s been easy — and great fun — to spotlight when his promises and statements come with “expiration dates.” The list is long: Public financing. Renegotiating NAFTA. His promise to support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies. His inability to disown Rev. Jeremiah Wright. The release of detainee photos. Denouncing Turkey for genocide.
Flip-flops are nothing new in politics, but every once in a while, a president breaks a promise or an important pledge on such an epic level that it defines him, at least in part: “Read my lips: No new taxes.” “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” “We did not — repeat — did not trade weapons or anything else for hostages — nor will we.” Even “I will never lie to you.”
Barack Obama’s sudden about-face on taxing employer-provided health insurance deserves to rank among these classics. Not because it’s as laughable as Bill Clinton’s, or as emphatic as George H. W. Bush’s, but because it takes a certain moral venality to casually adopt, as president, a position that was a dominant theme of your argument for why your opponent should not be president.
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