Sunday, September 14, 2008

Conservative scruples

The list of conservatives who have grown weary and wary of the McCain campaign is growing. Click on this link to read what law professor Russell Korobkin at The Volokh Conspiracy wrote. Then there's David Frum at the National Review who wrote this column on McCain's VP pick. Obama's ability to attract a sympathic hearing from some conservatives may have its origins in his experiences as a professor of constitutional law at the University of Chicago, a conservative law school. You can read here what students and colleagues had to say about professor Obama. Here's a quote from Daniel Fischel, the dean of the school when Obama was there. He has never voted for a Democrat, but he says that Mr. Obama is “the first one I might vote for.”

“He’s much more intellectual, much more thoughtful, much more interested in discussion, debate, and dialogue than the typical politician. And that gives me some confidence about him, even though from my perspective he’s much too liberal.”

Some lifelong conservatives have decided back Obama for president. Here are a few.
  • Jeffrey Hart, longtime National Review editor and former speechwriter for both Nixon and Reagan.
  • Andrew J. Bacevich's whose pro-Obama piece, published in March in The American Conservative, is the "seminal Obamacon manifesto."
  • Andrew Sullivan, author of The Conservative Soul: How We Lost It, How to Get It Back.
  • Susan Eisenhower is more than just another disappointed Republican. She is also Ike's granddaughter and a dedicated member of the party who has urged her fellow Republicans in the past to stick with the GOP. But now Eisenhower, who runs an international consulting firm, is endorsing Barack Obama. She has no plans to officially leave the Republican party. But in Eisenhower's view, Obama is the only candidate who can build a national consensus on the issues most important to her--energy, global warming, an aging population and America's standing in the world.
  • Lifelong Republican Tricia Moseley, a former staffer for the late Sen. Strom Thurmond, the one-time segregationist from South Carolina. Now a high-school teacher, Moseley says she was attracted to Obama's positions on education and the economy.
  • Former U.S. senator Lincoln Chaffee of Rhode Island.
  • Tony Campbell, spokesperson for, voted for Reagan in 1984, George H.W. Bush in 1988, Bob Dole in 1996 and George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004. His only vote for a Democratic presidential candidate was in 1992, when he voted for Bill Clinton.
  • Gilbert Hodges, a Republican, was a deputy assistant secretary of State in the elder Bush's administration in the late 80's. He once worked for U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, one of the Senate's most prominent and respected Republicans, as well as working at the White House during the Reagan years.
  • Former senator Edward Brooke, the first black person to be elected by popular vote to the Senate in the nation's history. Brooke, a Republican, gave Obama his blessing and unintentionally foretold the Obamacan trend. "I think he's a very formidable candidate," Brooke said. "He's a Democrat and I'm a Republican, but that doesn't matter to me."
  • Douglas Kmiec, currently teaches law at Pepperdine, was a former senior Justice Department official under President Reagan and senior legal adviser to Mitt Romney's presidential campaign. Here's a quote from Kmiec.

    "People have asked, 'How can someone who worked for Ronald Reagan support Barack Obama?' And the answer is simple: Both are natural leaders and have a great gift for communicating. Ronald Reagan used to tell me that his greatest achievement was to make Americans feel good about themselves again. But there has to be a genuine reason to feel good about ourselves, which there hasn't been in a while...Mr. Obama is calling us to what Ronald Reagan called us to, which is the better nature of our capacities and ourselves'

All of the people mentioned in this post should serve to remind us that there is an important distinction to made between conservatism and republicanism. The former is about values and principles, the latter is lately all about gaining and holding power.


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