When the Supreme Court struck down Washington, DC's ban on handguns yesterday, Barack Obama gave the opinion a muted welcome, endorsing both the right to bear arms and anti-gun laws. Obama's measured, even tortured response—after seeming to support the ban in February—is the latest in a series of calibrated positions on hot-button issues that have seen the candidate tack to the center. The New York Times analyzes Obama's new triangulations.
Everyone from FDR to George W. Bush has changed opinions, but Obama's shifts—on warrantless wiretapping, the death penalty, and campaign finance—are natural for a politician who has "shown an appreciation for the virtues of political ambiguity." Obama himself, in his second book, admitted that his political style is one of pondering and reconsideration. "I am a blank screen," he wrote.