Monday, November 03, 2008
[t]here is only one party in the United States, the Property Party...and it has two right wings: Republican and Democrat. Republicans are a bit stupider, more rigid, more doctrinaire in their laissez-faire capitalism than the Democrats, who are cuter, prettier, a bit more corrupt—until recently... and more willing than the Republicans to make small adjustments when the poor, the black, the anti-imperialists get out of hand. But, essentially, there is no difference between the two parties." - Gore Vidal
In recent years the GOP has become a party in which a right wing foreign policy elite has manipulated the voting power of a "base" increasingly made up of small town, rural, white, faith driven activists oriented towards "issues of conscience" such as; abortion, gay marriage, gun control, etc.
The neocon and nativist/rural factions of the Republican Party may be too deeply entrenched in power to be removed from control.
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”.
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.
And it's not just blogger Andrew Sullivan. Milton and Rose Friedman's son, David, is
signed up with the cause on the grounds that he sees Obama as the better vessel for his father's cause. Friedman is convinced of Obama's sympathy for school vouchers
Scott Flanders, the CEO of Freedom Communications--the company that owns The Orange County Register--told a company meeting that he believes Obama will accomplish the paramount libertarian goals of withdrawing from Iraq and scaling back the Patriot Act.
They believe that he has surrounded himself with pragmatists, some of whom (significantly) come from the University of Chicago.
You can find similar sentiments coursing through the Boston University professor Andrew Bacevich's seminal Obamacon manifesto in The American Conservative. He believes that the war in Iraq has undermined the possibilities for conservative reform at home.
In nearly every quarter of the movement, you can find conservatives irate over the Iraq war--a war they believe transgresses core principles.
But the army has many other brigades, too: repentant neocons such as Francis Fukuyama, 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”.
Francis Fukuyama, the neoconservative theorist, recently told an Australian journalist that he would reluctantly vote for Obama to hold the Republican Party
accountable "for a big policy failure" in Iraq. And he seems to view Obama as the best means for preserving American power, since Obama "symbolizes the ability of the
United States to renew itself in a very unexpected way."
it has even penetrated National Review, the intellectual anchor of the conservative movement. There's Jeffrey Hart, who has been a senior editor at the magazine since
1968 and even wrote a history of the magazine, The Making of the American Conservative Mind; and Wick Allison, who once served as the magazine's publisher.
Professor Emeritus Hart can be described as an Obamacon, in his past, he worked for conservatives as prominent as former President Richard Nixon and William F. Buckley.
As former President Nixon’s speechwriter, Professor Hart wrote Nixon’s famous “Law and Order” speech.
Take Larry Hunter, who helped put together the economics passages in the Contract with America and served as chief economist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
He concedes that Obama is saying the wrong things on taxes but dismisses it as electioneering. Of far greater importance, in Hunter's view, is that Obama has the
potential to "scramble the political deck, break up old alliances, and bring odd bedfellows together in a new coalition." And, what's more important, he views the
Republican Party as a "dead, rotting carcass with a few decrepit old leaders stumbling around like zombies in a horror version of Weekend at Bernie's, handcuffed
to a corpse." Unless the Republican Party is thoroughly purged of its current leadership, Hunter fears that it "will pollute the political environment to toxic
levels and create an epidemic that could damage the country for generations to come."
Gov. Arne Carlson, MN
Their ranks, though growing, feature few famous people. But looming on the horizon are two big potential Obamacons: Colin Powell and Chuck Hagel. Mr Powell is now a four-star general in America’s most surprising new army: the Obamacons. 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.
Reports listing additional Obamacons do not add up to tides of conservative Republicans leaving their party. Former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker
is a Democrat who entered government in the Kennedy administration.
Susan Eisenhower, grand-daughter of the Republican President and great general, who introduced Mr Obama at the Democratic National Convention, has also explained: Why I'm Backing Obama - WP.
CC Goldwater has a piece up on HuffPost. I know that, strategically and politically, nothing trumps the Powell endorsement. But there is a lot in her piece which bears repeating: Being Barry Goldwater's granddaughter and living in Arizona, one would assume that I would be voting for our state's senator, John McCain.
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.
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.
Megan McArdle has been voicing support for Obama on her blog, endorsing him on Super Tuesday.
I stand athwart the rush of conservative ship-jumpers of every stripe -- neo (Ken Adelman), moderate (Colin Powell), genetic/ironic (Christopher Buckley) and
socialist/atheist (Christopher Hitchens) -- yelling "Stop!" I shall have no part of this motley crew. I will go down with the McCain ship.On a related note, former Massachusetts governor William Weld has just endorsed Obama. Because of his tolerant stances on abortion, gay rights, and medical marijuana, Weld was hyped in the early '90s as a libertarian Republican. As he swelled the state budget and passed new regulations, he started to look more like an old-fashioned liberal Republican instead.
On Thursday, former Minnesota Gov. Arne Carlson endorsed Obama at the state capitol. “I think we have in Barack Obama the clear possibility of a truly great president,” he said. “I would contend that it’s the most important election of my lifetime.”
Scott McClellan, a former spokesman for President George W. Bush, also endorsed Obama Thursday. USA Today reported that McClellan told CNN in a taping to be
aired this weekend that Obama has “the best chance of changing the way Washington works.”
Charles Fried, a Harvard Law professor and former Solicitor General in the Reagan administration, to the list of Republicans supporting Obama.
In a surprising rebuff of an old friend, former White House chief of Staff Kenneth Duberstein said today he was abandoning his support of John McCain and instead
would back Barack Obama for president.
Duberstein, who worked for President Ronald Reagan, told CNN's Fareed Zakaria that his vote was influenced by another good friend, former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell.