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For the hope-and-change candidate, those natural readjustments now appear insincere and opportunistic - especially given that he had to move so far from the left to get to the middle. On campaign-finance reform, the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act, the North American Free Trade Agreement, abortion, capital punishment, guns, Iran, Iraq, the surge and drilling offshore, Mr. Obama has fudged on his earlier positions in the normal way of savvy pragmatists - but not in a manner befitting angelic idealists.

The new Barack Obama probably will recover his temporary setback in the polls. But right now his problem is that disappointed independent voters are catching on that this saintly savior is all too human.

Victor Davis Hanson is a nationally syndicated columnist, a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal.