He was against lobbyists serving in his Cabinet, until he was for it by granting a waiver for his deputy secretary of defense. He was in favor of Tom Daschle’s nomination as secretary of health and human services despite glaring income tax derelictions, until he was against it when the nomination fell into disfavor. He was in favor of whistleblower protection for intelligence agency employees, until he was against it.
He was against a president’s failure to fulfill his duty to faithfully execute, not circumvent the laws, until he was in favor of it after he occupied the White House and confronted evidence of torture authorized or practiced by Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney, their subordinates and lawyers in the Department of Justice.
In sum, Mr. Obama is a serial prevaricator. In his mind, truth and candor are synonyms for political convenience and ambition.
Mr. Obama’s scorn for convictions that rise above politics also finds expression in other ways. A nation lives by symbols. Mr. Obama’s undignified deferential posturing before a Saudi Arabian official symbolized irresolution over whether the theocracy and religious intolerance that infuse Islam are inferior to the free exercise of religion celebrated in the American system.
Cordiality and civility can be displayed toward heads of state without behavior that communicates submission or approval of ideas or actions that contradict American values or practices. Mr. Obama’s eager and highly publicized handshakes with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez were wrong. They were done with the appearance of acknowledging that the tyrannical, pro-Iranian and Russian and anti-Semitic head of state represented an equally honorable and praiseworthy approach to governing.
Mr. Obama should have displayed a civil aloofness toward Mr. Chavez or discovered a face-saving excuse for an inability to exchange greetings. And what is to be made of Mr. Obama’s presentation at Georgetown University in which he insisted on covering up symbols of Christianity, like a reverse Counter-Reformation. Will he next remove “In God We Trust” from the currency or “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance and refuse to invoke the Deity on Thanksgiving? Is he bent on appeasing Islamic radicalism?
By attempting to be all things to all people, Mr. Obama will end by being nothing for everyone. Alternatively, he will destroy America as we know it, turning it into a welfare state, or even worse, socialist economy with an emasculated foreign policy.
• “The Armstrong Williams Show” is broadcast weeknights on XM Satellite’s Power 169 channel from 9 to 10 p.m.