At a town hall meeting in Georgia today Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama denied changing his positions on issues like Iraq, guns, and the death penalty to appeal to the political middle.
“The people who say this haven’t apparently been listening to me,” Obama said. Technically Obama is correct. He has not changed his position on Iraq. What he has changed is his position on the timeframe with withdrawing the troops from Iraq. Obama blamed liberals and the media for the perception that he has changed his position. On the issues of guns and the death penalty, Obama may not have changed his basic positions, but he has broadened them so that they have centrist appeal.
Obama said that his supporters should not always expect to agree with him, “You’re not going to agree with me on 100 percent of what I think, but don’t assume that if I don’t agree with you on something that it must be because I’m doing that politically,” he said. “I may just disagree with you.” It is clear to everyone who is paying attention that Obama is moving towards the middle, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
We have seen what happens when Democrats run liberal candidates in a general election. They get crushed. One of the big criticisms that the GOP is trying to use against Obama is that he is an elitist liberal. In order to counter this charge, and also appeal to more moderate voters, he has had to move to the middle, but he needs to be sure that he doesn’t alienate the left, because it was liberals who powered his campaign over Hillary Clinton, and these same liberals, if they become disenchanted, will take their support away.