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Why Some Conservatives will Vote for Barack Obama


By Tony Campbel - Posted on 14 July 2008

Thomas Sowell, in his piece “Conservatives for Obama?” made the following statement:

“A number of friends of mine have commented on an odd phenomenon that they have observed-- conservative Republicans they know who are saying that they are going to vote for Barack Obama. It seemed at first to be an isolated fluke, perhaps signifying only that my friends know some strange conservatives. But apparently columnist Robert Novak has encountered the same phenomenon and has coined the term ‘Obamacons’ to describe the conservatives for Senator Obama.”

For the esteemed Mr. Sowell, whom I read a lot, and other folks who are scratching their collective heads over why Conservatives will vote for Obama over McCain in November, here are a few reasons for you to consider:

  1. Reorganizing our National Security apparatus – Since the passing of the Patriot Act, America has restructured its intelligence and national security procedures to prevent another terrorist attack. Conservatives understand the need for surveillance methods to prevent another attack on the American people and our property; however, not all of them support the use of fear to systematically change the social contract between the government and the people regarding their civil liberties under the law. They would, however, support a reexamination of segments of the Patriot Act that would re-establish the proper bounds between government need and individual liberty.
  2. Immigration Reform - Over the past two decades our borders have become porous and that lack of attention has threatened our national security. Conservatives understand that many of these non-documented visitors are hardworking people who currently serve in many important aspects of the American economy. It is neither feasible, nor in the country’s best economic interest, to seek to deport millions of people who contribute to our fiscal and social vibrancy as a nation. To do so would require creating a new agency of the national government with thousands of employees to implement this deportation policy. There are Conservatives who feel this type of reactionary policy is short-sighted and centered more on partisanship than in providing a common sense solution. For these individuals, a pragmatic Conservative stand would support a policy that will identify benchmarks to obtain United States citizenship.
  3. Foreign Policy – To ensure a safe America, some Conservatives believe that the primary issue of foreign policy that has to be addressed by the 44th President of the United States is to rebuild a relationship of mutual trust between us and our international allies. America has lost its leadership position in the world over the last six years. This is not only damaging in the relationship with our allies, but also hazardous in our diplomatic maneuverings with countries such as China, Iran and North Korea. A Conservative approach would support a direction of foreign policy that is practical and pragmatic (i.e. Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush). A foreign policy that uses diplomatic, economic and military assets to reach achievable goals on the international stage.
  4. Healthcare – Millions of Americans can not seek preventative healthcare assistance to address the myriad of issues they face on a daily basis. These unchecked health concerns eventually become emergency room visits that help to drive up insurance costs for employers and employees covered under medical plans. A pragmatic Conservative platform would support the development of a voluntary universal healthcare plan that allows flexibility of services and allows for States to meet the needs of their citizens without burdensome and unfunded regulations from Washington, D.C. through our constitutionally mandated federal system of government.
  5. The Economy and the War in Iraq – Under the reasons for establishing a new government, Thomas Jefferson stated that government is charged with protecting “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” of its citizens. A strong, robust economy falls under the heading of the “pursuit of happiness.” The U.S. has spent in excess of $100 Billion a year on a war that over seventy percent of the American people do not want, representing twenty percent of our annual GDP. Our current economic condition, with rising prices for everything from gas to food coupled with stagnant wages, has only provided a very few people with the ability to pursue happiness. A pragmatic Conservative approach would support a carefully planned disengagement of our troops from Iraq. The financial resources used to pay for the war may be used on a real economic stimulus plan that will be focused on re-training American workers and businesses to be competitive in the global marketplace.

Some Conservatives have finally realized, after twenty years, that national elections are too critical to waste on partisan rhetoric that does not solve any of the serious problems of our country. Government should focus on strengthening our borders, cutting our debt, and allowing the middle class to prosper by cutting taxes and reduce overall spending. Our elected and appointed officials should let individuals deal with the moral issues surrounding their decisions. Let's get back to the original idea that the Founders of this Republic birthed-- that Government should not mandate the extent of Individual Liberty.

 

I read this column today too, at first hoping to see a mention of RFO.  I was quite annoyed by the end of the article.  Too bad that every paper that carried Sowell's column can't carry your rebuttal. 
Suzi-I guess it's too much to ask that some small amount of homework/research be done by our press agents. They'd rather interview a bitter Hillary supporter who refuses to vote for Obama because he's a Muslim! Now that's easy stuff! Great post, Tony. I applaud this piece wholeheartedly!

Minnesota: July 14th

Now, this would have been really interesting if the article stated the reasons why 6% of Republicans switched to Obama within a month time. Any ideas?

Barack Obama’s lead over John McCain in Minnesota has now grown to 18%, all at the expense of voters who have moved out of the Republican’s column, according to the latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey.

For the second month in a row, 52% back Obama, compared to 34% who now support McCain. But last month McCain had the support of 39% of Minnesota voters. - Link

Yes, We Can!

Very well written and nicely stated Tony. 

I have written a general rebuttal to this type of thinking in the forum, for anyone who is interested.   There is a profound lack of demographics when you say "Conservatives are...".   I am a member of the 47th District Republicans in Wasington State.   To a man, I see zero interest in BO as a candidate.   My experience does not jive with your words.

http://www.republicansforobama.org/?q=node/1517

 

Friend:

Fox News puts the percentage of Republicans who support Barack at 11%.  

I'm sorry you think this percentage is zero.

Do you have a link to anything showing that 11% stat? I could use it in my online discussions.

Chuck Lasker
http://www.whatwouldobamado.info

Polls in late February have shown that up to 14% of Republicans support Obama. Wikipedia is keeping up with Obama Republican.

Yes, We Can!

Great article, Mr. Campbell. I'm trying to put together a similar issues sheet "from a Republican Perspective." I'll have links in it and will link to this article.

Chuck Lasker
http://www.whatwouldobamado.info

Just an FYI-- Tony Campbell also served in the Bush 43 administration for a few years.  There is no doubting his Republican pedigree.
I didn't know that about T.  In what capacity did he serve?

Is the one about RFO true?

Tony is also press officer for an organization known as “Republicans for Obama" (RFO).

He was an advance press representative for President Bush’s 2000 and 2004 campaigns and once served as a special assistant to the chief of staff of the Social Security Administration during Bush’s tenure. - Link

Yes, We Can!

This is true.  Tony was handling our press earlier this year.  The other stuff you mention is also correct.

Misty, Tony put a lot of effort into getting our name out there. He was very aggressive and pro-active, going after the press instead of waiting for them to come after the us. Among other coverage, he landed our first interview on FoxNews. He has been pursuing some of his own interests of late, but he's still keeping up with RFO to some extent and is both an ardent Republican and ardent Obama supporter.

I liked Tony's answers to the questions in the article. His political experience and a professor of political science gives him credibility beyond approach. I agree with him when he said "Obama is more conservative than the media sometimes express . . . and displays a level of common sense. This falls in line with the statement by former Reagan policy advisor Larry Hunter when he stated, "Besides, I suspect Obama is more free-market friendly than he lets on. He taught at the University of Chicago, a hotbed of right-of-center thought . . . That's got to rub off."

Tony mention example of Obama's working with Republicans, such as "co-sponsored the federal funding and transparency act with (Republican) Senators Coburn and McCain. He co-sponsored the nuclear non-proliferation bill with (Republican) Senator Lugar. He was also a co-sponsor of a Senate immigration bill that would have cracked down on employers using illegal labor and helped secure our borders."

I agree with Obama's stance on affirmative action, saying that equal opportunity should not be based on quotas.

Let me tell you my experience as an African American with a race base quota system. When I applied for a job at the University of California in 1981, I was told that they couldn't hire me unless I let them check on the quota form Mexican, because Mexican was the quota for that month. I said, "you can call me anything you want, I'm on my last unemployment check." I believe the affirmative action race base quota system is a two edge sword.

Yes, We Can!

I agree with you about affimative action.  Me and several people in my family look more White or "other" than we do Black, although we are partly African.  We are more financially advantaged than most people, and definitely have been treated as if we are White because of our light skin and features.  So how is it that we are owed anything, just for being Black? 

Also, I wonder how long the timeline for reparations is intended to be?  What group of people would ever want to give up the benefits of affirmative action, even after they were to attain some relative form of equality?

 

 McCain Deathwatch, July 10 '08:  McCain presently has a (partially complimentary) 25% chance of winning the election.

Barack Obama more a true Conservative than McCain?

After Excellent RsFO Discussion on Chris Mathews Hardball this week:

Hardball on RsFO Tue, 08/19/2008 - 8:19pm — Hardball video clip: 

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/26300609#26300609 

I just caught up with this discussion and would like to point you to two articles that raise the question: 

Is Barack Obama closer to a true Conservative than McCain?

After his Democratic Convention speech in 2004 several people branded 
Obama as a "conservative" as said it was "Right Speech, Wrong Party" .

See:Obama the Conservative. 

http://www.prospect-magazine.co.uk/article_details.php?id=9988 
http://www.prospect-magazine.co.uk/pdfarticle.php?id=9988 
and more recently -

Andrew J. Bacevich wrote : "The conservative case for Barack Obama" and gives 
his definition of conservatism - See: 
http://www.amconmag.com/article/2008/mar/24/0002/ 
".... definition emphasizes the following: 
. a commitment to individual liberty, tempered by the conviction that genuine 
freedom entails more than simply an absence of restraint; 
. a belief in limited government, fiscal responsibility, and the rule of law; 
. veneration for our cultural inheritance combined with a sense of stewardship 
for Creation; 
. a reluctance to discard or tamper with traditional social arrangements; 
. respect for the market as the generator of wealth combined with a wariness of 
the market’s corrosive impact on humane values; 
.a deep suspicion of utopian promises, rooted in an appreciation of the 
sinfulness of man and the recalcitrance of history. 

***Bacevich concludes that "For conservatives, Obama represents a sliver of 

hope. McCain represents none at all."  

Thank you sue.  We have been saying all along that Obama in many ways represents the conservative ideals, for many of the reasons you cited.

I hope you will come back tomorrow and often.  Tonight we are having some difficulties with the forums, and most members cannot access them.

We appreciate everyone's patience!

Even though I discovered this site months ago I am a new user and I am just now making my way through the various postings.

 This was an excellent blog, and definitely showcases some of the reasons that I'm a Republican for Obama.

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, & wiser people so full of doubts.
-- Bertrand Russel

Welcome aboard Jaygade!  It's great to have you!  Come on in, the water is fine! 

That's a great quote, Jay.

 

Welcome to RFO jay.  How very true your quote is.  We look forward to hearing lots more from you.

He was an advance press representative for President Bush’s 2000 and 2004 campaigns and once served as a special assistant to the chief of staff of the Social Security sohbet Administration during Bush’s tenure

 

 

kjkj

Thanks for the welcome!

 Heh -- I had more quotes but I guess signature space is limited. Maybe I'll switch up every once in awhile...

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, & wiser people so full of doubts.
-- Bertrand Russel

. a belief in limited government, fiscal responsibility, and the rule of law; 
. veneration for our cultural inheritance combined with a sense of stewardship 
for Creation; 
. a reluctance to discard or tamper with traditional social arrangements; 
. respect for the market as the generator of wealth combined with a wariness of 
the market’s corrosive impact on humane values; 
.a deep suspicion of utopian promises, rooted in an appreciation of the 
sinfulness of man and the recalcitrance of history. 

 

Considering that Obama has done nothing in his life to indicate he believes any of the above shows just what load of crock this is. 

That's a fair summation of my beliefs, Brandon, and once again why I am unable to vote for McCain/Palin.

I know you can't understand it and I'm afraid we'll just be doomed to continuing to repeat ourselves. 

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, & wiser people so full of doubts.
-- Bertrand Russel

McCain/Palin may not hold those beliefs either.  But the difference is Obama/Biden are the polar opposites of those beliefs.  

With Biden, we have a 35 year voting record showing he hates those beliefs.

I could see where you could say I can't vote for McCain, but to say you hold those beliefs and then vote the opposite makes no logical sense. 

Probably because I disagree with you on the whole "opposites" thing.

I mean, you may as well call 'em all traitors and line 'em up against the wall. 

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, & wiser people so full of doubts.
-- Bertrand Russel

Jaygade, the facts are simply not on your side. 

I would challenge you to look at Biden's 35 years in the Senate and prove me wrong.

The man was one of the most vocal anti Reagan voices in the Senate.

I didn't call them traitors, but their policies in many ways do betray America.

Again, I'm gonna have to disagree. I am looking at the positions and votes now (and it will probably take awhile to do so) but while I see many areas of disagreement I also see many areas of agreement.

I see no areas where either Obama or Biden "hate[s] those beliefs".  

If I find any anti-Americanism in them I'll be sure to let you know. 

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, & wiser people so full of doubts.
-- Bertrand Russel

I doubt very seriously that you have researched Biden's 35 year legislative history. Since Obama has such little legislative experience, it is harder to judge his voting history although what little we do know shows that he is far to the left.

We do know that he has admired people all of his life who are anti-American.

 

Why is Obama the solution to switch to when you have other candidates such as Ron Paul?  I feel that you may not be Republican anyway, much of the way McCain may choose will reflect what I as a republican would want.  Not all is correct but who is, certainly not Obama in so little decisions he has made as a Senator.  If you are tired of the same rhetoric change to another party other than Democrat.  Than I would agree with you.

Hello Lestrada.

The Republicans you'll find here still have hope for the party.  As you probably know, the GOP is 25% smaller than it was just four years ago.  Obviously, millions have left.

Conservative for Obama

Terrific Article from Allison Wick of Texas DMagazine

"...what Obama offers, which is a deeply conservative view of the world. Nobody can read Obama’s books (which, it is worth noting, he wrote himself) or listen to him speak without realizing that this is a thoughtful, pragmatic, and prudent man."

*****************

See:

http://www.dmagazine.com/ME2/dirmod.asp?nm=Core+Pages&type=gen&mod=Core+Pages&tier=3&gid=B33A5C6E2CF04C9596A3EF81822D9F8E

 

A Conservative for Obama

My party has slipped its moorings. It’s time for a true pragmatist to lead the country.

Leading Off   By Wick Allison, Editor In ChiefTHE MORE I LISTEN TO AND READ ABOUT “the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate,” the more I like him. Barack Obama strikes a chord with me like no political figure since Ronald Reagan. To explain why, I need to explain why I am a conservative and what it means to me. In 1964, at the age of 16, I organized the Dallas County Youth for Goldwater. My senior thesis at the University of Texas was on the conservative intellectual revival in America. Twenty years later, I was invited by William F. Buckley Jr. to join the board of National Review. I later became its publisher.Conservatism to me is less a political philosophy than a stance, a recognition of the fallibility of man and of man’s institutions. Conservatives respect the past not for its antiquity but because it represents, as G.K. Chesterton said, the democracy of the dead; it gives the benefit of the doubt to customs and laws tried and tested in the crucible of time. Conservatives are skeptical of abstract theories and utopian schemes, doubtful that government is wiser than its citizens, and always ready to test any political program against actual results.Liberalism always seemed to me to be a system of “oughts.” We ought to do this or that because it’s the right thing to do, regardless of whether it works or not. It is a doctrine based on intentions, not results, on feeling good rather than doing good.But today it is so-called conservatives who are cemented to political programs when they clearly don’t work. The Bush tax cuts—a solution for which there was no real problem and which he refused to end even when the nation went to war—led to huge deficit spending and a $3 trillion growth in the federal debt. Facing this, John McCain pumps his “conservative” credentials by proposing even bigger tax cuts. Meanwhile, a movement that once fought for limited government has presided over the greatest growth of government in our history. That is not conservatism; it is profligacy using conservatism as a mask.Today it is conservatives, not liberals, who talk with alarming bellicosity about making the world “safe for democracy.” It is John McCain who says America’s job is to “defeat evil,” a theological expansion of the nation’s mission that would make George Washington cough out his wooden teeth.This kind of conservatism, which is not conservative at all, has produced financial mismanagement, the waste of human lives, the loss of moral authority, and the wreckage of our economy that McCain now threatens to make worse.Barack Obama is not my ideal candidate for president. (In fact, I made the maximum donation to John McCain during the primaries, when there was still hope he might come to his senses.) But I now see that Obama is almost the ideal candidate for this moment in American history. I disagree with him on many issues. But those don’t matter as much as what Obama offers, which is a deeply conservative view of the world. Nobody can read Obama’s books (which, it is worth noting, he wrote himself) or listen to him speak without realizing that this is a thoughtful, pragmatic, and prudent man. It gives me comfort just to think that after eight years of George W. Bush we will have a president who has actually read the Federalist Papers.Most important, Obama will be a realist. I doubt he will taunt Russia, as McCain has, at the very moment when our national interest requires it as an ally. The crucial distinction in my mind is that, unlike John McCain, I am convinced he will not impulsively take us into another war unless American national interests are directly threatened.“Every great cause,” Eric Hoffer wrote, “begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.” As a cause, conservatism may be dead. But as a stance, as a way of making judgments in a complex and difficult world, I believe it is very much alive in the instincts and predispositions of a liberal named Barack Obama. Write to wicka@dmagazine.com. 

**************

Sue

Okay, I am a registered Democrat, but I'm reaching out across the isle here....

Why are Republicans, mainly those supporting McCain and McCain and Palin themselves, completely overlooking George Bush???

You guys let Bush get away with everything, now that everything has gone crapper-hole, you bail on him.

I don't blame you at all.

I am very happy there are people in the Republican party who share the ideals and policies of the Democrat party. All the spin and commentary can make your head spin, so you have to be educated. We can't depend on Faux news for everything.

Let me also ask this question....if Michelle Obama had done what Cindy McCain has done in the past (drug problem) would the Republicans give that a free pass?

Shelly

Shelly, may I point out something to you that may seem trivial?? You mention the Democrat party. When used as an adjective, the word is Democratic, as in Democratic party. Democrat is a noun, as Barack Obama is a Democrat. I don't know where this came from or why, but has been used incorrectly over the past year. Picky, I know, but I have a thing about words. Nothing personal, just one of my quirks.
  1. I am a white, female, conservative Republican. Oh..and I live in Ohio.  Today I put a 'Republicans for Obama' sign in my yard.  I only wish I could have found a sign that expressed my true feelings, i.e "Lifelong Republican voting for Obama, he's the better man, my party's whole theology has gone down the crapper!" Thank God for this website! 

Thanks, RLT!

I have to admit, for a second I was hoping you were a BLT. keehee!

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