Bob Beckel wrote in 2008 at the beginning of the Age of Obama (it seems likes eons ago doesn’t it) that Obama is Larry the Cable Guy that will do anything to get ’er done.
What the Republicans and many in the political chattering class are calling flip flopping by Obama is nothing more than political pragmatics, and Obama is very good at it.Perhaps being pragmatic is essential when you are trying to ram through a piece of legislation like healthcare. “Constitution be damned, legislative process be damned, public opinion be damned this it the right thing to do for the American people.” The pragmatist will take whatever twisting turning path it takes to get her done!
To us outsiders that kind if political sausage making can take on an usavory immoral aroma but Beckel assures us Obama’s pragmatism does not "lack a moral compass." I disagree, pragmatism itself requires that you don’t hold too tightly to convictions because you need the flexibility to achieve your goal and convictions can be just sooo restricting. For example the Constitution can be useful if you want to argue for building a mosque but on the other hand if you want the government to buy a bankrupt car company, not so much. The beauty of Pragmatism is that it lets you cherry pick your convictions.
Being president however is more than legislation, fundraising, and golf; people look to you for leadership in times of crisis and crisis generally requires that you make decisions that draw on your moral/philosophical base. Each and every time that Obama has been confronted with just such a crisis (The Gulf Oil Spill, the Fort Hood Shooter, The Iranian Uprising, The Christmas Day Bomber and now the Ground Zero Mosque) he has come up looking aloof, disconnected, professorial, cold, heartless, etc, etc, etc.
That’s the problem with being the Pragmatist President, it gives you the means to do whatever you damn well please but it also makes you look like a soulless ass.