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Thread: Economist: The rise of the Obamacons

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    Elite Member Little Wombat's Avatar
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    Default Economist: The rise of the Obamacons

    This is worth posting just for the cartoon.
    The rise of the Obamacons
    Oct 23rd 2008
    From The Economist print edition

    A striking number of conservatives are planning to vote for Obama

    Illustration by KAL

    IN “W.”, his biopic about his Yale classmate, Oliver Stone details Colin Powell’s agonies during George Bush’s first term. Throughout the film Mr Powell repeatedly raises doubts about the invasion of Iraq—and is repeatedly overruled by the ghoulish trio of Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Karl Rove. In one of the final scenes, with his direst warnings proving correct, Mr Powell turns to Mr Cheney and delivers a heartfelt “Fuck you”.

    The real Colin Powell used more diplomatic language in endorsing Barack Obama on October 19th, but the impact was much the same. Mr Obama is a “transformational figure”, he mildly said, and his old friend John McCain had erred in choosing a neophyte as a running-mate. But you would have to be naive not to see the endorsement as a verdict on the Bush years.

    Mr Powell is now a four-star general in America’s most surprising new army: the Obamacons. The army includes other big names such as Susan Eisenhower, Dwight’s granddaughter, who introduced Mr Obama at the Democratic National Convention and Christopher Buckley, the son of the conservative icon William Buckley, who complains that he has not left the Republican Party: the Republican Party has left him. Chuck Hagel, a Republican senator from Nebraska and one-time bosom buddy of Mr McCain has also flirted heavily with the movement, though he has refrained from issuing an official endorsement.

    The biggest brigade in the Obamacon army consists of libertarians, furious with Mr Bush’s big-government conservatism, worried about his commitment to an open-ended “war on terror”, and disgusted by his cavalier way with civil rights. There are two competing “libertarians for Obama” web sites. CaféPress is even offering a “libertarian for Obama” lawn sign for $19.95. Larry Hunter, who helped to devise Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America in 1994, thinks that Mr Obama can free America from the grip of the “zombies” who now run the Republican Party.

    But the army has many other brigades, too: repentant neocons such as Francis Fukuyama, legal scholars such as Douglas Kmiec, and conservative talk-show hosts such as Michael Smerconish. And it is picking up unexpected new recruits as the campaign approaches its denouement. Many disillusioned Republicans hoped that Mr McCain would provide a compass for a party that has lost its way, but now feel that the compass has gone haywire. Kenneth Adelman, who once described the invasion of Iraq as a “cakewalk”, decided this week to vote for Mr Obama mainly because he regards Sarah Palin as “not close to being acceptable in high office”.

    The rise of the Obamacons is more than a reaction against Mr Bush’s remodelling of the Republican Party and Mr McCain’s desperation: there were plenty of disillusioned Republicans in 2004 who did not warm to John Kerry. It is also a positive verdict on Mr Obama. For many conservatives, Mr Obama embodies qualities that their party has abandoned: pragmatism, competence and respect for the head rather than the heart. Mr Obama’s calm and collected response to the turmoil on Wall Street contrasted sharply with Mr McCain’s grandstanding.

    Much of Mr Obama’s rhetoric is strikingly conservative, even Reaganesque. He preaches the virtues of personal responsibility and family values, and practises them too. He talks in uplifting terms about the promise of American life. His story also appeals to conservatives: it holds the possibility of freeing America from its racial demons, proving that the country is a race-blind meritocracy and, in the process, bankrupting a race-grievance industry that has produced the likes of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

    How much do these Obamacons matter? More than Mr McCain would like to think. The Obamacons are manifestations of a deeper turmoil in the Republican rank-and-file, as the old coalition of small-government activists, social conservatives and business Republicans falls apart. They also influence opinion. This is obvious in the case of Mr Powell: Mr Obama is making liberal use of his endorsement to refute the latest Republican criticism that he is a “socialist”. But it is also true of lesser-known scribblers. At least 27 newspapers that backed Mr Bush in 2004 have endorsed Mr Obama.

    Moreover, the revolt of the intellectuals is coinciding with a migration of culturally conservative voters—particularly white working-class voters—into Obamaland. Mr Obama is now level-pegging or leading among swing-groups such as Catholics and working-class whites. A recent Washington Post-ABC poll shows him winning 22% of self-described conservatives, a higher proportion than any Democratic nominee since 1980.

    Don’t blame the rats
    The more tantalising question is whether the rise of the Obamacons signals a lasting political realignment. In 1980 the rise of the neocons—liberal intellectuals who abandoned a spineless Democratic Party—was reinforced by the birth of working class “Reagan Democrats”. Is the Reagan revolution now going into reverse? There are reasons for scepticism. Will libertarians really stick with “Senator Government”, as Mr McCain labelled Mr Obama in the best slip of the tongue of the campaign? Will economic conservatives cleave to a president who believes in “spreading the wealth around”?

    Much depends on how Mr Obama governs if he wins, and how the Republicans behave if they lose. Mr Obama talks about creating an administration of all the talents. He promises to take the cultural anxieties of Reagan Democrats seriously. For their part, hard-core Republicans are handling their party’s travails abysmally, retreating into elite-bashing populism and denouncing the Obamacons as “rats” who are deserting a sinking ship. If the Republican Party continues to think that the problem lies with the rats, rather than the seaworthiness of the ship, then the Obamacons are here to stay.
    Conservatives for Obama | The rise of the Obamacons | The Economist

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Good read.

    But the GOP doesn't seem to get the fact that they've destroyed their own Party by allowing the fundie nutjobs to hijack it. If they hadn't done that then you wouldn't see some conservatives jumping ship to Obama.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Like everything conservative: short term tactical gain for long term strategic loss.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    Those elephants look cute jumping off the ship!

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    Elite Member greysfang's Avatar
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    This is a good read, but I'm feeling anxious about the tone of a lot of articles these days. It feels like everyone is getting a bit overconfident and I'm scared to jinx it.
    FUCK YOU AND GIVE ME MY GODDAMN VENTI TWO PUMP LIGHT WHIP MOCHA YOU COCKSUCKING WHORE BEFORE I PUNCH YOU IN THE MOUTH. I just get unpleasant in my car. - Deej

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    Elite Member bychance's Avatar
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    LOL! I love the cartoon.

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    Elite Member bychance's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by greysfang View Post
    This is a good read, but I'm feeling anxious about the tone of a lot of articles these days. It feels like everyone is getting a bit overconfident and I'm scared to jinx it.
    Me too.

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    Elite Member sluce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by greysfang View Post
    This is a good read, but I'm feeling anxious about the tone of a lot of articles these days. It feels like everyone is getting a bit overconfident and I'm scared to jinx it.
    Agree 100%. I am terrified that I will wake on 11/5 to find I have been sentenced to 4 more years of hell.

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