It's been breathtaking trying to follow Obama's sprint to the right since he clinched the nomination—and I say "trying" because he's moving so fast he's actually starting to redshift, and soon it'll take hours just for the light from his receding back to reach us. You've got to admire the thoroughness and breadth of his disguise-shedding: the death penalty, FISA and telecom immunity, scolding the (ostensible) left, scapegoating black fathers, backtracking from his previous lies about NAFTA, positioning himself to the right of Likud, vowing to go Bush one better in giving government funds to religious organizations, and even hedging on the one and only thing he's said that at all merited the "change" label—his vow to talk to leaders like Ahmadinejad. Among other things. Really, it's been like Christmas every day...I can hardly wait to see what's next!
So how will the faithful respond? Over at A Tiny Revolution I went miles out on a limb with this wildly speculative prediction (in response to the italicized remark):
It'll be interesting to see what happens when the guy crushes all that hope he's been building up.
That won't happen. No matter how bad he is, he'll be better than Bush—and that'll be enough for the true believers. The vast majority of Obama voters will rationalize the inevitable "compromises" (i.e. betrayals) as necessary bows to pragmatism; he has to work within the realm of the possible, you see. In 2012 they'll have no time for our silly quibbles about how he bombed Iran, continued the occupation of Iraq, and circumvented any meaningful action on global warming. It'll be just like 2000, when after eight years of Clinton murdering Iraqi children by the hundreds of thousands, among other hideous crimes, a Gore-pimping Democrat actually pointed me towards the earned income tax credit as the glorious achievement that so clearly illustrates why we must, must, must keep the Democrats in power.
And just a few hours later "Dave" offered this comment on the same thread (addressing Obama's choice to make common cause with Scalia, Thomas, Alito, and Roberts on the application of the death penalty):
His alternate choice would have been to appeal to the "child rapist" vote in one way or another. That second choice of action, even though principled, would have guaranteed the biggest loss in the history of national elections. Is that what you want?
Sure sounds like Dave's saying that Obama took a necessary bow to pragmatism, doesn't it? Yeah, I thought so too. Score! I hit the fish, right there in the barrel! And as I say, I don't doubt that it's going to go that way in the vast majority of cases.
Still, there are some hopeful signs, like the rumblings on this thread:
Quinty: His remarks today on faith based organizations for me are the last straw. He has told his original backers to collectively go to hell. He has not even attempted to hide his open contempt for us. ...
anne faith: I hate admitting that I’m wrong. But here goes: all of you out there who warned that Obama was full of crap and that we had drunk the kool-aid and that we would be sorely disappointed and that he was no progressive…. YOU WERE RIGHT. And you have every right to say, loudly, “I told you so!!!” ...
Bluetickle: I am angry and ready to rip the Obama bumper sticker off the back of my car and re-join the sane people who ignore this political blather.
And there are a few more like that if you read through. But for every Quinty, anne, and Bluetickle. there are dozens of people insisting that that's not really a shit sandwich they're eating, but a tastefully-prepared ham and cheese:
jlees: Is pushing for “conservative” ideas like self-reliance while having the liberal safety net a bad thing? Does that move him to the “center” so he can “pander”? I don’t think so. I think it makes him a realist, a pragmatist ...
(There's that word again!)
Will the de-illusioned finally outnumber the permanently-illusioned this time around? Gosh, what a perplexing mystery. But it'll at least be amusing to see how it all falls out—especially if Obama continues trying to top himself every day in seeing how far he can jam a screwdriver into the eye sockets of his most ardent supporters.