It has been documented in National Review Online by Peter Wehner that Barack Obama, far from always taking the same position on the war in Iraq, has in fact taken different positions at different times--don't go in, stay in, get out, roughly in order.
Now comes Belmont Club blogger Richard Fernandez with a Pajamas Media blog post suggesting, though not quite charging, that Obama's changes in position were prompted by concern for his longtime patron and friend Tony Rezko, who sought a contract to build a $150 million power plant in Iraqi Kurdistan with some help from a couple of Chicago-based Iraqi-Americans.
It's a story that is, I think, worth the attention of investigative journalists. At the same time, one can imagine other reasons for Obama to change from opposing a timetable to leave Iraq in June 2006 and support of such a timetable in November 2006, besides the rejection of the contract proposal in between. Like the 2006 election results, after which it became pretty clear that a Democratic presidential candidate, particularly one with the asset (for the primary season at least) of having opposed the Iraq war in 2002, would have a much better chance of winning the party's nomination if he came out for a timetable for withdrawal. That might not have seemed such a mandatory position to take five months earlier. That's not a noble motive for Obama's switch, but it's less stomach-crunching than the one Fernandez suggests.
By Michael Barone