So his admirers say that one of Barack Obama's most attractive intellectual attributes is his willingness to refine his positions as evidence changes -- he has what occupational psychologists would call "conceptual insight." They contrast this to President Bush's incurious stubborness. Why, then, is the Obama campaign so allergic to the suggestion that, yes, sometimes Obama changes his mind as conditions warrant? Claims of consistency -- which is the hobgoblin of small politics -- just aren't that credible sometimes. And aren't they running against the type of inflexible consistency that they associate with President Bush?

NB: This ponderable does not, at least in my mind, apply to Iraq, where, as I've written, I think Obama's position (although not his emphasis) has been fairly consistent.