Senator Obama is not just tacking gently toward the center. He's lurching right when it suits him, and he's zigging with the kind of reckless abandon that's guaranteed to cause disillusion, if not whiplash.
"What's he doing?" is the most common question heard recently from Obama supporters.
For one thing, he's taking his base for granted, apparently believing that such stalwart supporters as blacks, progressives and pumped-up younger voters will be with him no matter what.
Mr. Obama is betting that in the long run none of this will matter, that the most important thing is winning the White House, that his staunchest supporters (horrified at the very idea of a President McCain) will be there when he needs them.
He seems to believe that his shifts and twists and clever panders — as opposed to bold, principled leadership on important matters — will entice large numbers of independent and conservative voters to climb off the fence and run into his yard.
Maybe. But that's a very dangerous game for a man who first turned voters on by presenting himself as someone who was different, who wouldn't engage in the terminal emptiness of politics as usual.
Time flies and the Iowa caucuses seem a very long time ago.
A California group submitted a proposal Monday to rename a sewage treatment plant after President Bush, calling the initiative a fitting tribute to the outgoing chief executive and the "mess" he'll leave behind.
The Presidential Memorial Commission of San Francisco wants to switch the name of the Oceanside Water Pollution Control Plant to the George W. Bush Sewage Plant.