Thursday, June 26, 2008

Rise of Obamacons

Robert Novak has an interesting column in this morning's Washington Post about a growing number of conservatives and Republicans (yes, there is a difference) who are flirting with the Senator from Illinois' candidacy. Big names among this group are Chuck Hagel and Colin Powell. This is an interesting phenomenon, but I imagine a similar condition existed in the '92 election. There, an intelligent, centrist, affable Southerner with clear political skill was running against an older Republican whose chief claim to the party's nomination was that it was his turn. I've got no data, but I can imagine there were conservatives...burned by George Bush the Elder's tepid conservatism....who were attracted to Governor Clinton, and who maybe even said so in the press.

I think we're seeing some of that today. There is a lot of Republican discontent with the state of the party. Obama is an attractive story....multi-ethnic/racial (I will never call him the First Black (anything), as he is only half-black), product of a broken marriage, intelligent, obviously polished and eloquent...preaching a new brand of politics. The story, the image, is an attractive one. But any real digging....whether into his gold-standard liberal voting record or his vapid, content-less speeches....reveals someone any conservative should be repulsed by.

I have given the Obama candidacy a good deal of consideration, because of the story. The quality of his voice and the loftiness of his rhetoric serves sometimes as an anesthetic to the screeching bloviations of Olberman and O'Reilly. That said, his policies are dangerous to the country and an Obama presidency would be unfortunate.

One additional point about the Obama candidacy that I think appeals to conservatives. Deep down, I think many of us believe that it must have been kinda tough to be a little Barak Obama. Not completely of either the world of black or white, raised primarily by grandparents, he has succeeded, and wildly so. His is an American success story, modern version. His meritorious rise in the world of politics is appealing simply because of what it took to get there. These are traits and trappings of a story for which conservatives have a natural affinity. Smart conservatives will recognize the difference between the story and the candidacy.

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