Just in time for the general election. I guess I can stop wondering if this post was overly cynical.

The flag pin that appeared on Barack Obama’s lapel is just the opening salvo of Operation Patriotism for the Democratic presidential candidate…

Obama plans to use speeches and campaign events to reinforce his patriotic image to America by evoking his grandparent’s military background. He also plans to speak sometime this summer near Punchbowl National Cemetery in Honolulu, where his grandfather is buried…

The flag and other patriotic props will be displayed more often, Danzig said.

“It’s very important to convey a sense that these symbols don’t belong to one party or another, they belong to all the American people,” said [Richard] Danzig, 63, [an advisor and] a fellow at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.

It’s a sign of how convincing his post-partisan “new politics” nonsense initially was that even now a righty like me is surprised to see him make a move this cynical. There’s nothing egregious about it — it’s just politics, same as his Checkers-by-way-of-“I Have a Dream” speech on race was as a way to get himself off the hook on Wright — but the timing is so revealing that it’s impossible to believe, even if you’re straining, that he’s doing it for any reason other than political advantage. Same with his sudden climbdown from meeting personally with Iran without preconditions, a stance that was perfectly fine and “progressive” for the primary but which is now being criticized by Democrats across the spectrum. Worried about Obama’s policies? Don’t be — at the rate he’s going, by the time fall gets here, he’ll be running to McCain’s right. (Admittedly, there’s plenty of room.) And to the extent that he isn’t, it’s completely unfair to criticize him on those grounds anyway.

Exit question: Will the Messiah at least take personal responsibility for his pin reversal, or will he go the weaselly route by shunting it off onto his supporters? Guess.