I'd grown used to waiting for John Kerry to reveal what he would do in Iraq. Though I'd voted for Al Gore and Bill Clinton, respectively, in the last two presidential elections, I needed to hear Mr. Kerry commit to success in the war. On April 14, at an event at the City College of New York, a man challenged Mr. Kerry to explain how his plan for Iraq differed from President Bush's. Mr. Kerry responded testily, "You're not listening."(For more on how Kerry lost me, see my post "How Kerry lost me.")
I wrote on my blog at the time, "If you still don't know what he would do differently from Bush, do you deserve to be snapped at for 'not listening'?" After that, as I heard Mr. Kerry wriggle his way around the Iraq question one way and then another, I never forgot his willingness to blame the listener for not already seeing his answer, and my mistrust of John Kerry hardened into support for George Bush.
Imagine my dismay today when I saw the headline "Obama Says His Critics Haven’t Been Listening":
Senator Barack Obama on Tuesday forcefully addressed concerns that he had moved too quickly to the political center, acknowledging complaints from “my friends on the left” about his statements on Iraq, his approaches to evangelicals and his remarks on other issues that have alarmed some of his supporters.Ugh. I've been cheered by Obama's move to the center. I like Obama and I want to like Obama. (Note: I'm not against McCain. I've taken a vow of cruel neutrality.) But I hated to see him use this Kerry-esque locution. Unlike Kerry, Obama has taken some clear positions on Iraq. But he's been moving and he's denying it and blaming us as bad listeners. How irksome!
“Look, let me talk about the broader issue, this whole notion that I am shifting to the center,” he told a crowd gathered at a town hall-style meeting in this Atlanta suburb. “The people who say this apparently haven’t been listening to me.”