Barack Obama has been wearing a flag pin since Monday.
He first showed up with the flag pin when he addressed a veterans group in West Virginia. On Tuesday, according to a Time magazine article, "he was sans pin on the Senate floor, but then later donned it while speaking to working class voters in Missouri during the evening."
On Wednesday he wore it in Michigan.
David Axelrod, his campaign manager, said, "I think he'll be doing more of that."
[The blog author shakes his head.]
Is this really a wise decision on the part of the Obama campaign? Does he really want to be tarred-and-feathered as a flip-flopper on the flag pin?
Last October, Obama spoke eloquently about the issue:
"The truth is that right after 9/11, I had a pin. Shortly after 9/11, particularly because as we're talking about the Iraq war, that became a substitute for, I think, true patriotism, which is speaking out on issues that are of importance to our national security," Obama said in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. "I decided I won't wear that pin on my chest. Instead I'm going to try to tell the American people what I believe what will make this country great and hopefully that will be a testimony to my patriotism."Then, at the horrid Philadelphia debate, moderated by
Now, suddenly, Obama's wearing a flag pin.
Voters who question Obama's patriotism because he doesn't wear a flag pin probably weren't going to vote for him in the first place. And if a few of these folks are actually on the fence, do you think they're going to start sending him donations now that he's started wearing the pin?
On the other hand, his flip-flopping on an issue involving patriotism may strike some potential Obama voters as hypocritical, which most people don't appreciate.
If you ask me, it seems like one of those classic bonehead Democratic moves. Rather than reinforce Obama's sense of authenticity, or his determination to stand up for what he believes, as his original statement on the flag pin did (or his position against the gas tax), it reinforces his image as a Liberal elitist trying to reach out to "ordinary folks," thinking they're too dumb to notice what he's doing.
Instead of sticking with his own core values, he's giving in to political expediency. The Republicans can get away with it - see the entire campaign of John McCain. Democrats rarely do. They always wind up looking like fakes.
What's the upside? Is it really going to help Obama?