Wouldn’t it be better for Obama to say he had thought more about such-and-such an issue and simply changed his mind? Is that verboten in American politics? Is it better to engage in linguistic pretzel-twisting in an effort to prove that you didn’t change your mind?
Certainly, Obama isn’t the first politician to do this. Indeed, he’s not the only presumptive major party nominee for president to do it this cycle. But it’s an annoying tendency nonetheless.
Why can’t leaders simply say that their initial view was either ill formed or that they’ve changed their mind pursuant to new evidence? It’s not unreasonable, after all, that someone shifting from representing a single state to seeking to lead all fifty would suddenly find himself asked to comment on numerous issues to which he had previously given only scant attention.
As a bonus, following on the heels of the famously stubborn and fact-resistant George W. Bush, it would likely be seen as an especially good character trait. One doesn’t want a leader who is wishy-washy on big principles. But one willing to learn and change one’s views accordingly? That’s a storybook, man.