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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Obama: The Conservative Choice

Obama is clearly the feminist's choice, the farmer's choice, the intellectual's choice... but the conservative choice? Yes, argues The Economist, those ultra-rational Brits who have now themselves endorsed Obama. The famously conservative magazine cites the rise of Obama conservatives—"Obamacons"— including Colin Powell, Susan Eisenhower, Christopher Buckley, and even some Libertarians (pay attention, Matt!):

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 [emphasis mine; "The Rise of the Obamacons," The Economist, 2008.10.23].

Call him transformational or just the leader of a new team of Transformers, Barack Obama has proven he can bring everyone but a few plumbers and moose hunters together. Join me, conservatives, in voting for someone who actually supports your values: vote for Barack Obama!


  1. You know, Cory, I'm not sure how to define the terms "liberal" and "conservative" anymore.

    The "political spectrum" certainly is not a one-dimensional continuum. I'd call myself a social "liberal" but a fiscal "conservative." Two dimensions there ...

    ... but even that is not enough. Barack Obama favors progressive taxation. What, I wonder, makes that "liberal" while regressive taxation is branded as a "conservative" notion?

    I think we ought to evaluate the candidates on the basis of how well we agree with their ideas and past actions, and forget about labels that claim to map their ideologies one-to-one with the points in a continuum.

    As an off-topic corollary to this wee-hour pre-Halloween rant, a relative of mine was recently given notice that he is to be "terminated" in March. He was given a bad deal by a big company years ago [retirement benefit promises broken (RBPB)], went to another big company, spent over 10 years laboring for them -- and now, in his middle 50s, his reward is to be set free, complete with his defibrillator and history of sudden heart failures. Now for the lottery: Who will insure this piece of meat?

    I ditched the ladder-climbing executive circus at age 29, set sail via small craft in the turbulent seas of uncertainty, never trusted any big corporation further than I could spit into a typhoon, and have never regretted that decision for so much as a split nanosecond. Life is danger!

    My relative's fate almost makes me wish I had waited until November 4 and voted for Barack Obama, whose "leftist" agenda includes offering people portable health-care coverage not dependent on the whims of puffed-up plutocrats. A lesson to be learned for the future, I suppose ... but Cory, you warned me. Ach! Another "liberal Republican" cries out in the night. But the sun always rises another time.

  2. I hope your relative can find a good job to cover his medical bills until he retires, Stan. Unfortuantely, you're right about how hard that will be. Your relative is going to have a really hard time getting health insurance... in large part because his employers have rewarded his hard work with broken promises. I want to believe in the American Dream (part of which is, I think, "Work hard, and you'll get by fine"), but I know that in reality, the rain falls on the good as often as on the not-so-good. Rather than spending time parsing the moral worthiness of every citizen, we need a system that just takes care of problems and helps people get through tough times. Sure, that's socialist... in the sense that we are a society, and we should take care of society. There's a practical motive (we should take care of the society that makes our mostly comfortable lives possible) and a moral motive (helping your neighbor is just plain right).

  3. This would explain where the 'Mad' in Madville comes from!

  4. "Mad" meaning angry, or "mad" meaning loony?

    In my case: temporarily angry, eternally loony.

    In my relative's shoes but for the grace of God trudge I.


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