March 08, 2008

The Rise of the Obamacons—It’s really happening

Dan McCarthy documents a trend that I, too, made note of not too long along?the rise of Obama conservatives.

I find that this new voting block can be divided into two distinct groups?defensive, tactical Obama voters and true Obamaniacs. 

The first group I generally sympathize with. These are people like Justin, Jeff Hart, and perhaps Dan himself who appreciate Obama?s opposition to Iraq, think that he?d invade fewer countries than Clinton or McCain, and find his health-care proposals to be less totalitarian than Hillary-care part II. When I visited Justin in San Fran the other week, he said that ?questions of war and peace? trump all else. Particularly since one can?t count on Republicans to stave off socialism at home, I think this is a valid position?although I?m not at all convinced that Obama would actually be as non-interventionist as some presume (if his selection of Samantha Power as a foreign-policy adviser is any indication).       

This defensive, tactical camp is, in the grand scheme of things, pretty tiny, composed mostly of dissident Right intellectuals. 

The real Obamaniacs are a different story altogether. They are ex-Bushites, like Mark McKinnon, and other Republicans of the Gersonian variety. There are others, like Rod Dreher, who are evangelical Christians with some conservative credential and who criticize Obama?s policies, but then simply can?t help but be charmed by him. No one in this group is particularly impressed about the fact that Obama opposed the Iraq war?to the contrary, most of them supported it?nor do they take a ?he?d be less totalitarian than Hillary? line.

They like Obama because he speaks their language. Sentiments that electing the senator would miraculous lead us towards ?authentic racial reconciliation,? give birth to post-partisan national unity, or make all the world love us again usually compose the political language of the pinkish, over-educated cultural elite. But with a little tweaking, such phrases are commonly dropped at the local Megachurch, the conservative gathering, and wherever Joel Ostein is read. They ?put their faith? in Obama as a transcendent leader. One very surprising development of the 2008 election will be the number of former Huckabee supporters who go for Obama in the general. 

Unlike the defensive, tactical Obama supporters, the real Obamacons number in the millions. 

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