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How Is Obama Like Dick Cheney And Fred Thompson?

He's got Stephen Hayes's love. I think Hayes's cover story on Obama in the new Weekly Standard is a pretty fascinating document--mainly because it's such a puff job. Indeed, from the gushing (and by now familiar) recitation of Obama's life story to the laudatory quotes from Obama supporters, Hayes--aka Dick Cheney's biographer and Fred Thompson's cheerleader--has nary a negative word to write about the Illinois Senator.

Maybe Hayes just has a soft spot for Obama because he's related to Cheney, but I think his fondness for Obama is better explained by this passage from his piece. After quoting an answer Obama gave to a question about immigration at an Iowa event, Hayes writes:

[W]hile Obama eventually settles on the mainstream liberal position--path to citizenship, crack down on employers, don't punish the workers--he does so only after acknowledging (and in some cases, embracing) the concerns of conservatives. He begins by criticizing George W. Bush on immigration from the right and says that his first priority in ending illegal immigration would be securing the borders. (Ask John McCain if it's important to list border security first when detailing your solution.)

"Hillary Clinton is running from the center," says Dennis Goldford, a Drake University political scientist. "John Edwards is running from the left. And Obama is running from above. He wants to be above politics."

This is the Obama trick, and it explains why, despite his very liberal voting record in the Senate (and in the Illinois Senate before that), he is not viewed as a left-wing ideologue. When a student asks Obama for his views on the Second Amendment, he reminds his audience that he taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago and is thus familiar with the arguments regarding the right to bear arms. He acknowledges "a tradition of gun ownership in this country that can be respected," and says that his academic studies convinced him gun ownership "is an individual right and not just the right of a militia."

The amazing thing is that Hayes recognizes this as a trick--and he still falls for it! Granted, Obama has disarmed any number of conservative writers--whether it's the quirky Peggy Noonan or the intellectually honest Andrew Ferguson--but Hayes has long struck me as someone who's in a different league from these folks; he's an ideological water carrier of the first order. Is there any conservative writer able to withstand Obama's charms? A nation turns its lonely eyes to Charles Krauthammer.

--Jason Zengerle