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Chron: Why Republicans like Obama and what it means

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by Maikeru-sama, Feb 8, 2008.

  1. Maikeru-sama

    Maikeru-sama Mick Green 58

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    Why Republicans like Obama and what it means
    A startling contrast with animosity toward Clinton

    By PETER WEHNER
    Washington Post

    Barack Obama is not only popular among Democrats, he's also an appealing figure to many Republicans. Former GOP House member Joe Scarborough, now a host on MSNBC, reports that after every important Obama speech, he is inundated with e-mails praising the speech — with most of them coming from Republicans. William Bennett, an influential conservative intellectual, has said favorable things about Obama. So have Rich Lowry of National Review and Peggy Noonan. And so have I.

    A number of prominent Republicans I know, who would wage a pitched battle against Hillary Clinton, like Obama and would find it hard to generate much enthusiasm in opposing him.

    What is at the core of Obama's appeal?

    Part of it is the eloquence and uplift of his speeches, combined with his personal grace and dignity. He seems to be a well-grounded, decent, thoughtful man. He comes across, in his person and manner, as nonpartisan. He has an unsurpassed ability to (seemingly) transcend politics. Even when he disagrees with people, he doesn't seem disagreeable.

    "You know what charm is," Albert Camus wrote in The Fall, "a way of getting the answer yes without having asked any clear question." Obama has such charm, and its appeal is not restricted to Democrats.

    A second reason Republicans appreciate Obama is that he is pitted against a couple, the Clintons, whom many Republicans hold in contempt. Among the effects of the Obama-Clinton race is that it is forcing Democrats to come to grips with the mendacity and ruthlessness of the Clinton machine. Conservatives have long believed that the Clintons are an unprincipled pair who will destroy those who stand between them and power — whether they are political opponents, women from Bill Clinton's past or independent counsels.

    When the Clintons were doing this in the 1990s, it was viewed by many Democrats as perfectly acceptable. Some even applauded them for their brass-knuckle tactics. But now that the Clintons are roughing up an inspiring young man who appears to represent the hope and future of the Democratic Party, the liberal establishment is reacting with outrage. "I think we've reached an irrevocable turning point in liberal opinion of the Clintons," writes Jonathan Chait of the New Republic. Many conservatives respond: It's about time.

    A third reason for Obama's GOP appeal is that unlike Clinton and especially John Edwards, Obama has a message that, at its core, is about unity and hope rather than division and resentment. He stresses that "out of many we are one." And to his credit, Barack Obama is running a color-blind campaign. "I did not travel around this state over the last year and see a white South Carolina or a black South Carolina," Obama said in his victory speech last weekend. "I saw South Carolina." That evening, his crowd of supporters chanted as one, "Race doesn't matter." This was an electric moment. Obama's words are in the great tradition of Martin Luther King Jr. Obama, more than any figure in America, can help bind up the racial wounds of America. In addition, for the past eight years, one of the most prominent qualities of the American left has been anger, which has served it and the country very poorly. An Obama primary win would be a move away from the politics of rage.

    The one thing that will keep Obama's appeal from translating into widespread support among Republicans is that he is, on almost every issue, a conventional liberal. And while rhetoric and character matter a lot, politics is finally and fundamentally about ideas and philosophy. Whether we're talking about the Iraq war, monitoring terrorist communications, health care, taxes, education, abortion and the courts, the size of government, or almost anything else, Obama embodies the views of the special-interest groups on the left. In this respect, he should borrow from the Clinton strategy in 1992, when Bill Clinton ran as a "New Democrat," championed free trade, promised to "end welfare as we know it" and criticized, on hawkish grounds, the "butchers of Beijing."

    Bill Clinton ran an intellectually creative race whose ideas appealed to non-Democrats. Barack Obama has shown no such inclination so far (his speeches, while inspiring, mostly avoid a serious discussion of policies). If he wanted to demonstrate his independence from liberal orthodoxy, for example, he could come out in favor of school choice for low-income families, which would both help poor families and demonstrate support for some of the best faith-based institutions in America: urban parochial schools.

    If Obama becomes the Democratic nominee and fails to take steps such as this, his liberal views will be his greatest vulnerability. Obama will try to reject the liberal label — but based on his stands on the issues, at least so far, the label will fit, and it will stick.

    Barack Obama is among the most impressive political talents of our lifetime. If he defeats Hillary Clinton, the question for the general election is not whether he can transcend his race but whether he can reach beyond his ideology.

    Wehner, formerly deputy assistant to President Bush, is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/editorial/outlook/5516076.html
  2. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    If Obama becomes the Democratic nominee and fails to take steps such as this, his liberal views will be his greatest vulnerability. Obama will try to reject the liberal label — but based on his stands on the issues, at least so far, the label will fit, and it will stick.

    I think the guy is a great and articulate speaker, I just don't agree with the message. While some republicans question how conservative McCain might be there is no question on how liberal Obama is.
  3. Maikeru-sama

    Maikeru-sama Mick Green 58

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    I don't neccassarily agree with Barack Obama on certain issues, but at least he is not doing the very predicatble and hackneyed "chameleon" routine whereby an opponent changes his stance, depending on which environment he is in.

    I tend to fear the candidates with the propensity to do the aforementioned and those I don't know where they stand.
  4. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    And for me many of his stances I oppose so of course while I can respect a person who is not flipping it does not change the fact that his ideals are still polar opposite of mine.
  5. iceberg

    iceberg detoxed Zone Supporter

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    so far obama has my interest. got a lot of respect for him ... so far. : )

    i do hope it continues.
  6. theogt

    theogt Surrealist Zone Supporter

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    I just don't understand the idea of picking a president based on how charismatic he is.
  7. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    Jim Jones was charismatic as well, feel bad for those who followed him. :lmao2:
  8. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    The Clintons have been vicious towards every opponent they have ever had. Loved that point about how SUDDENLY its not acceptable anymore because they like Obama. talk about intellectual bankruptcy.
  9. Hostile

    Hostile Peace Zone Supporter

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    You know, that really kind of started in 1960 with Kennedy vs. Nixon. The theory is that in the debates Nixon had better political points, but Kennedy stood out more. I'm told that Nixon wore a gray suit with a bland tie. Kennedy wore a blue suit with a bright red tie and even on the balck and white TVs of the time it just made him look regal. His hair was perfect, his clothes were perfect, he was clean shaven, pristine. Nixon did not look like a slob but in comparison to Kennedy he just really lacked style.

    Since that time there's been an aspect of charisma that pushes candidates out there. Reagan had it. Dukakis didn't. Clinton had it. Dole didn't.

    Image matters.
  10. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    Nixon was sweating under the hot lights and as you said Kennedy was young and handsome as well as very articulate. Funny thing about Obama is how much support he gained when Oprah Winfrey jump aboard leaving Clinton to wonder where the hell is Barbra Streisand is when I need her. Babs where are you momma is sinking. :lmao:
  11. Mavs Man

    Mavs Man All outta bubble gum

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    I remember studying that Nixon had made a grueling campaign tour of multiple states leading up to the first televised debate. Unlike Kennedy he didn't shave so he had a stubble, AND he refused to put on any makeup so he looked dog tired and worn down.

    It's been said that those who listened on their radios declared Nixon the winner, but those who watched the debates on TV declared Kennedy the winner.

    As you implied, image is everything.

    And as Sprite used to say, obey your thirst.
  12. Maikeru-sama

    Maikeru-sama Mick Green 58

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    I love how some Barack Obama opponents seem to suggest that his base is full of credulous individuals who know very little about the issues and only lend their support based on issues deemed tangential and unimportant such as Race, Charisma and personal appearance.

    Trying to create and perpetuate a myth that Barack Obama supporters are the only citizens in history who have ever voted for a candidate based on very trivial matters.

    Though I disagree with the idea of Universal Healthcare, I think this guy does a very good job of shooting down the aforementioned myth.
  13. theogt

    theogt Surrealist Zone Supporter

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    Why do you like Obama?
  14. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt °¤~Cold Eternal~¤° Staff Member

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    He is teh sexy? :p:
  15. ZeroClub

    ZeroClub just trying to get better

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    "Charismatic" isn't a meaningless or superficial characteristic for a leader. It is more relevant than, say, smelling especially good.

    Charisma is probably a necessary but insufficient condition for unifying, or at least easing, some of the sharp and mean spirited divisions inside and outside of Washington.

    There is power in charisma. And as with any power, it can be used constructively or destructively.


    The other thing to remember is that most people vote based on how they feel about a candidate rather than on what they think about him. That's irrational, but that's how we, as a nation, tend to do it.
  16. Maikeru-sama

    Maikeru-sama Mick Green 58

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    I don't.

    The only candidate I like is Ron Paul.
  17. theogt

    theogt Surrealist Zone Supporter

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    LOL. Yeah, that's true.

    I think charisma would have very little effect on how well a president achieved his policy goals inside Washington. And even if so, for it to have a logical impact on voting, the candidates would have to hold identical policy objectives. But then, that may be the case between Hillary and Obama.

    Hence, the problem I have with it.

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