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When being better than John McCain is good enough

July 15, 2008 |  2:05 pm

Ever since he nailed down the delegates he needed for the Democratic presidential nomination, Barack Obama has given the appearance of someone eager to wiggle his way closer to the political center.

From the left have come complaints about Obama’s apparently newfound centrist sympathies on, among other things, U.S. policy toward Iran, expanded government wiretapping powers, handgun bans and capital punishment.

But when Gwen Ifill pressed the Illinois senator on the point on PBS’ NewsHour, Obama offered an odd defense: that he hasn’t wiggled as much as John McCain has.

Acknowledging that his “shift in emphasis” on issues such as faith-based initiatives has “raised hackles amongst some in the blogosphere,” Obama added: “If you compare that to John McCain’s complete reversal on oil drilling, complete reversal on George Bush’s tax cuts, complete reversal on immigration where he said he wouldn’t even vote for his own bill, that, I think, is a pretty hard case to make that somehow I’ve been shifting substantially relative to John McCain.”
-- Stuart Silverstein