Jack Kelly (and others) has noted that Obama is giving a mixed and contradictory message on Hugo Chavez and whether to isolate him or to negotiate with him.
But that’s not a unique situation for Obama; for example, he’s got more positions on Iran than the Kama Sutra. Obama seems to have no trouble holding and/or promulgating mixed or even contradictory messages. It’s his specialty, in fact, one of the ways in which he’s going to bring us all together.
Like the fictional O’Brien in 1984, Obama appears to subscribe to the idea that in the service of a cause (in this case, his own election) one ought to practice doublethink.
Here’s a definition:
[Doublethink is] the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them . . . . To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies — all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth….That was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word ‘doublethink’ involved using doublethink.
See, it’s easy if you know how.
And Obama has a mentor in the shining example of his Democratic nominee predecessor John Kerry, who (as I observed the other day) wrote the following sentence in his latest op-ed. The meaning seemed obscure at the time, but now I understand; doublethink! Just change “Ahmadinejad” to “Chavez” and you’ve got it:
Dialogue helps us isolate Ahmadinejad rather than empowering him to isolate us.