An update to my earlier post today on the Obama administration breaking President Obama's crystal clear campaign promise to back drug importation legislation:
The Hill is now reporting that White House press secretary Robert Gibbs says President Obama still supports drug importation legislation. However, Gibbs did not say Obama supports passing drug importation legislation on the Senate floor right now - at the same time another branch of the Obama administration (ie. his FDA appointee) is saying that the administration opposes importation and at the same time the Hill reports "The White House has not endorsed the Dorgan-Snowe-McCain measure."
This is becoming a nauseating pattern: Salon's Glenn Greenwald has documented the Obama administration's penchant for having the president say one thing, and then having administration officials say something very different - and often contrary. This has been most prevalent on the Afghanistan issue, which saw the President commit to begin a July 2011 exit strategy, and his national security officials take to TV to say that there would be no exit strategy in July 2011. Now it's happening on health care, too.
I would call this for-it-before-he-was-against-it, but that would be too straightforward. This is a new level of dissembling - I guess the administration is for it and against it at the same time. It's definitely a sort of cute, have-it-both-ways kind of thing - a way to play the wink-and-nod game whereby the public is told that the president is really bringing about "change" while the Washington Establishment is reassured that there's no real change in sight. And make no mistake about it: there's a formula to it.
The White House is banking on sycophancy - specifically banking on throwing progressives a rhetorical bone here and there and having progressives respond by citing that bone as justification to continue cultishly backing the president no matter what he does, no matter what campaign promises are broken, no matter how much flipping and flopping there is on core issues. People like Rahm Emanuel are 100 relying on progressives to be absolutely pathetically weak - to respond to news like this with more apologism and more "give the president a break!" propaganda. They are expecting the sycophants to simply shout everyone down by screaming, "Look! Look! You see! Even though his administration is doing exactly the opposite of what he is promising, President Obama isn't breaking any importation promise or Afghanistan exit strategy promise because he put out a throwaway line saying he's not breaking any promise!"
Obama's willingness to play this kind of game on a crystal clear promise is definitely a betrayal of what he campaigned on. But one thing it is not is genuine leadership.