I Wonder If It Isn't Just Mostly Fashion
Lately I've been smitten with the old politics, particularly for a Certain Type of Individual, is merely a fashion adopted to keep current with others in the In Crowd.
But more than that, thoughtlessly voicing the Right Opinions allows an intellectually-insecure person to think well of himself, and this, I think, is the secret of Obama's genius. Whether he realized this or not (and I rather doubt he's quite astute enough, or willing enough to examine his own assumptions to realize this), Obama has tapped into the true driver of pseudo-political thinking, Vanity.
In 2006 Obama's words against surveillance state permitted a sort of vain but relatively thoughtless person to think well of himself by agreeing. In 2013, the same sort of vain but thoughtless person may now think well of himself by agreeing with Obama's 180-degree flip-flop position.
Some would say this is "inconsistent." No, Obama's inconsistent. His legions of drones aren't inconsistent; they consistently choose ignorance and thoughtlessness over hard thinking and principle, and consistently choose Vanity Politics over real political thought. In this manner they are perfectly consistent: They weren't thinking in 2006, they aren't thinking in 2013, and they won't have thought much at all when they settle into their graves in 2060.
No one thinks that it's "inconsistent" in fashion if the fashion world declares "Orange is the new black" one year and then declares that "Orange is over" the very next. It's accepted that knowing what the fashionistas are saying, and keeping in step with their declarations, is what constitutes fashion in the first place. There's no real "why" behind any of it. It is not important to know why Vogue is saying whatever it's saying about orange; it's only important to know that it says it at all.
Similarly, none of these thoughtless, unthinking persons needs to know why exactly the Surveillance State has gone so badly out of fashion. The only important thing is to know that the nation's chief Political Designer, Barack Yves-Obama, has declared that it's now "In," and that concerns about the Blundering Leviathan Security State are now "out."
What shocks me is that this sort of person will reflexively follow his Political God and insist to you he is a Free-Thinker. This sort of person will thoughtlessly mouth words he doesn't question and then insist to you he is an Intellectual.
And this is why this sort of person becomes so very angry when you contradict him -- because this isn't politics for him. This is Vanity. When you question this sort of person's pseudo-politics, you're really questioning his assumptions about his own value as a human being. He has a lot of ego tied up in the proposition that if he successfully follows the winds of political fashion then he is an enlightened, superior, and (crucially) Upper Class person. This mode of thought is a key for self-declared membership in the Upper Class -- the American aristocracy -- for those who lack the other merits that might give him entree.
So when you question his self-imagined Aristocratic Frame of Mind, you're really telling this person he's not a noble at all, but rather just a Commoner prone to saying silly things. And thus he gets rather angry.