He's got a long way to go and he'll never become a conservative. But think of the distance Bill Clinton traveled between 1994 and 1996. By election day, he had embraced several conservative positions, especially on welfare that had his far left supporters pulling their hair out but which bought him the election.
Admittedly, Obama is far more liberal than Clinton was. But his move to prevent the EPA from issuing new ozone regs is right out of the Clinton playbook and presages what might be a surprising speech on jobs next week:
President Obama abruptly pulled back proposed new national smog standards Friday morning, overruling the Environmental Protection Agency's efforts to compel states and communities nationwide to reduce local air pollution in the coming years or face federal penalties.
The move represented a win for the business community, which had lobbied to postpone new restrictions on ground-level ozone - known as smog - until 2013 in light of the economic downturn. It also raised questions about the fate of several other air quality regulations the EPA is preparing to finalize this year.
In a statement, Obama praised EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson's effort to improve the nation's air quality but said he had asked her to withdraw the draft standards since they were scheduled to be reconsidered two years from now anyway.
"Work is already underway to update a 2006 review of the science that will result in the reconsideration of the ozone standard in 2013," Obama said. "Ultimately, I did not support asking state and local governments to begin implementing a new standard that will soon be reconsidered."
Don't expect those regs on CO2 emissions to be shelved or the mileage standards for autos. But Congress might take action to block those rules on their own and Obama might sign off on them. It's an inexpensive way to look reasonable and besides, the only people who are getting really angry at him are the greenies.
He could very well surprise us next week and include some conservative ideas in his jobs speech. The point being, Obama has his finger in the wind and he knows which way the wind is blowing.
And it ain't blowing to the left.