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what the hell?

By Barbara Gordon - Posted on 03 July 2008

You know, whenever we get any publicity from the national media, as we did today with Avlon's piece at Politico, we tend to get several new visitors. Some are kindred spirits, some are simply curious, and some are, well, frankly affronted at the entire concept of a "Republicans for Obama" organization.

These visitors tend to start their posts with phrases like "What the hell" and proceed to argue that Obama represents the exact opposite of everything the Republican Party stands for and that if we support Obama than we're just plain not Republicans anymore.

Well, trust me, I understand the confusion. Indeed, it's widely advertised that Obama is the "single most liberal" Senator in the US, etc etc. But I'd like to take this opportunity to explain how we can, from a Republican standpoint, justify our support for Barack Obama's campaign for the Presidency.

Now, the principles I'll outline here may not represent the organization officially, and it certainly shouldn't be assumed that each and every RFOer agrees with every point. But hopefully it will provide some reasoned, civil insight into why we're crossing party lines this year.

1. The Republican Party has traditionally been one of fiscal responsibility. Unfortunately, the current incarnation of the party seems to spend like it's going out of style. Instead of tax and spend, the party leaders prefer to spend and spend, and on top of that propose gimmicks like tax rebates to buy votes. The result is an American dollar valuation that's plummeting. It's no wonder none of us can afford to buy anything anymore. The GOP has to get back to its fiscally responsible roots.

2. The Republican Party has traditionally been the party that defends and respects civil liberties and privacy. Unfortunately, our own party has now become the one to justify suspension and abridgment of many of the liberties we hold dear. When you combine such abridgment with an extension of executive power, that's a dangerous combination. We have to make it clear to our party leaders that we refuse to stand for these autocratic/oligarchic tendencies.

3.  The Republican Party traditionally stands for conservative foreign policy. A conservative foreign policy keeps a strong defense department at the ready, but primarily relies on negotiation and diplomacy in international relations. Engagement is a merely a last resort, not the first line of defense. In this sense, Obama's foreign policy is actually more conservative than the conservatives'.

4. Not all Republicans are religious, and certainly not all are Christian. But those of us who are feel that it's time for the Republicans to quite pretending they have a monopoly on American faith, to quit pretending that the "compassionate conservatives" speak for all Christians. Frankly, it's time to end the religious right's hijacking of the Republican Party. Not because we're irreligous - overwhelmingly the American people are a people of faith - but because we realize that to attempt to boil all of America's policy down to two or three social issues is woefully inadequate to meet the very real challenges our society faces. Further it is an injustice and disservice to all of us to attempt to do so, certainly to attempt to do so in the name of morality or religion.

I hope that helps shed some light on our point of view here at RFO. Again, it shouldn't be inferred that everyone at RFO would agree with each of my points, and indeed, several have other points that I undoubtedly overlooked. But I do hope that this can give others, especially of our own party, a starting point for understanding where we're coming from.


Barbara, lead blogger, RFO.

I read daily but rarely comment but I just want to say that I would really love to have dinner with you Barb!!  I think we would have a blast and have some really great conversation.  Thanks for all of your great posts.  I have a hard time defending Obama to some of my friends and your words are always helpful!  

That would  be awesome, Kelly! I always love to meet kindred spirits. If you ever have reason to be in Oklahoma (goodness knows why anyone would), make sure to let me know!


And I guess I was not a Democrat when I supported McCain eight years ago. Yeah I pretty much threw away my identity as a Democrat when I cast my first ever mixed ballot.

 But your positions behind your support as Republicans for Barack Obama are well-reasoned and it makes Obama a better choice for conservatives, because he does not follow this new form of so-called "conservatism" we are seeing. And I agree that the Christian right is playing a large role in what is happening to the GOP.

 They often talk about how Obama is the single most liberal/progressive Senator right now. His voting record would back that up, however a couple positions he did make public recently do not seem to be the most liberal to me. One example, he publically disagrees with the recent Supreme Court ruling on capital punishment for child rapists. He generally favors the death penalty, but believes it should be applied more fairly in the system. He also recently spoke about how he was going to expand Bush's faith-based initiatives. He did not say that he was going to allow any work force to hire or fire based on religious beliefs, but for religious institutions in areas not affecting taxpayers.

 I may not agree with him on one or two of the above issues but Barack Obama has shown great responsibility and maturity in tackling major issues. He is ready to be Commander in Chief. And despite being the "most liberal" member of the Senate, I believe he can bring a lot of Democrats and Republicans together under his administration.

Great points in your third paragraph. It's easy to use numbers to label somebody "the most liberal Senator" or whatever, but it also helps to actually, you know, look at the record. Thanks for pointing those out.

Barbara-I agree with your post entirely. I was excited to see the article today. It's great to get our message out there. I have no plans to visit Oklahama any time soon but lunch with you would be well worth a trip. We'll all have to plan a spot to meet to celebrate an Obama victory-wouldn't that be great? We'd be toasting to Barbara a whole lot!

you're too sweet. I wish we could have a real-life party together. Hey John, are you working on an RFO victory party for November yet?

Thank you so much as this really defines why I support Obama. I'm a republican


Thanks Barbara

Hi, akeswani! You're definitely welcome. You can tell I've been thinking about this awhile.   :-)

Well said Barbara. Your post speaks for me.
Barb, it is like you are channeling my thoughts. I thought the article was fair to both sides of the debate.

Good. I was a little nervous because I didn't want anyone to feel misrepresented by my summary. We all think differently about the situation, but there are some factors that unify us, too. I hope our party gets its act together soon.

I agree. The article was well done.

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