Sunday, November 02, 2008

Understanding An Obamacon

Since I am now one of those "Obamacons," I wanted to ask a question to those who are questioning those who would jump ship and vote for someone that is so opposite of our views.

Daniel Larison
can understand why people are upset:

the most credible pro-Obama argument that can be made is that the GOP must be held accountable and Obama is not McCain, but I still don’t think that is a persuasive case for casting a vote for Obama, much less urging others to do likewise. You have to believe strongly that a McCain Presidency would be an intolerable disaster for our country, but for the most part the people who are most inclined to believe this about him are not the ones going over to Obama. Many have hedged their Obama endorsement with paeans to the “old” McCain whom they once liked and their alleged Obama endorsements are filled with disappointment that McCain has let them down, as if to say, “I can’t believe you’re making me do this.” Pretty clearly, the Obamacon phenomenon is on the whole not really an endorsement of Obama or anything he proposes to do, which is why most of the endorsements coming from the right cannot withstand much scrutiny. That’s the whole point: the Republican ticket is so unappealing to these people that they will vote for its defeat in full knowledge that there is little or nothing to say on behalf of the man they’re electing. That is how complete Republican failure now is. Imagine how much worse it might have been had the Democrats nominated another “centrist” Southerner.

But he also thinks we are kidding ourselves:

Endorsing Obama is a vote of no confidence in the Republican Party, but in a weird way it is also an expression of what is probably utterly misguided hope that the Republicans will learn from the defeat and adjust to new political realities. It is also a failure of imagination to the extent that Obamacons sometimes rhetorically ask, “How much worse could it get?” It could get much, much worse, and Obama endorsers have put themselves in the odd position of taking on some responsibility for what is to come while having absolutely zero influence, but if it doesn’t bother them I can’t get very worked up about it.

In fact, we might be. We could be electing a very liberal president with a liberal Congress that will basically leave Obamacons high and dry. But I think instead of saying that we are setting ourselves up for a heartbreak, one should be asking why are people defecting. To put it another way, instead of mocking the people who jump off the ship, the GOP and the conservative movement should be asking why the ship is sinking. Larison aludes to this in his last paragraph:

Far more important in the aftermath than coming up with new and amusing ways to mock the Obama endorsers is an effort to understand and remedy the profound failures that made this phenomenon possible before a major realignment does occur.

Right now, that question is not being asked. That's understandable, since the leadership of the GOP is probably in denial right now. However, after Tuesday, bloggers, writers and GOP leaders need to ask what has happened to Good Ship GOP and how to best right the ship. (Pun intended.)

The truth is, people having been jumping ship long before McCain ran for President. There have been many Republicans that have been disgusted with how the GOP has run the country over the last few years. But the leadership has ignored those voices. So, the people decided to answer in a way that people would understand: by not voting for the Republican candidate and voting for the other party's candidate.

Is it silly? Maybe. I can say personally that my vote is less for Obama, than against the GOP. I don't know, how else can people send a message that things are not going right among conservatives?

Will it work? I don't know. Having the GOP lose Congress in 2006 didn't do much to help the GOP understand that it has a problem and that it needs to change.

I don't really want a liberal mandate. But the conservative movement is in such a shambles, maybe it needs to have a "time out" before it can assume leadership again.

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