A few weeks ago there the media was all aflutter about “Obamacans,” Republicans for Obama. It didn’t seem like anything to get worked up about to me. But now we’re seeing not just Republicans for Obama, but actual conservatives for Obama — “Obamacons” rather than “Obamacans.” Justin Raimondo is one of them. Jeffrey Hart is another. A third will be featured in the upcoming issue (March 24) of The American Conservative.

I have to say, I’m tempted. Obama’s health care plan, though not something I can support, is a whole lot less awful than Hillary Clinton’s plan. And Obama’s foreign policy easily beats Clinton’s and John McCain’s. Obama at least might get the troops out of Iraq someday. 2008 still looks like a good year to cast a ballot for a principled but screwball third-party candidate — I’ve never voted Green before, so maybe I should look at Nader, though I’m more inclined to vote Libertarian or Constitution Party. But I’ll kick around in my head the idea of supporting Obama.

And just to show how scrambled the political spectrum become in American politics, there’s this op-ed by George McGovern — “Acid, Amnesty, and Abortion” McGovern — in the Wall Street Journal. McGovern sounds surprisingly libertarian:

Under the guise of protecting us from ourselves, the right and the left are becoming ever more aggressive in regulating behavior. Much paternalist scrutiny has recently centered on personal economics, including calls to regulate subprime mortgages.

Bill Kauffman has made the conservative case for McGovern before, and there’s more in Kauffman’s forthcoming book, Ain’t My America: The Long, Noble History of Antiwar Conservatism and Middle-American Anti-Imperialism. McGovern and Obama are not conservatives or libertarians. But next to the Nixons, Bushes, and McCains that the Republican Party has produced, these lefties start to look passably good.


10 thoughts on “Obamacons

  1. Brent March 8, 2008 / 11:20 pm

    I’m a bit confused as to why both you and Justin are flirting with the idea of being Obamacans. I too once flirted with the idea of voting for him if Ron Paul didn’t get the nomination or run 3rd, but it was articles like The American Conservatives’ “Make the World Safe for Hope” that made me hate his policies more and more.

    Didn’t one of his aides say that the 18 months out of Iraq is unrealistic and Obama isn’t making decisions as a candidate or Senator and will see how things turn in Iraq. What?!

    And Obama would likely go to war in many more places than Iraq even if he did leave the place. Kenya, Darfur, Pakistan, Afganistan resurgence, Iran, Kosovo, etc. It doesn’t seem too flattering to me.

  2. dylan waco March 9, 2008 / 6:32 am

    There is a difference between voting for Obama and making the case that he is preferrable to the other viable options (Clinton and McCain).

    I myself cannot and will not vote for Obama, but I will root for him. Supposing there is something to the rumor that Jim Webb may be his VP choice, there is a very fair chance that the Democratic ticket will feature the most conservative, paleo-friendly voice in the race.

    I voted for Nader in 2000 and would consider doing so again if for no other reason than because he is the only true patriot in the race right now. He is also a populist, who is to the right of McCain on foreign policy, trade, civil liberties, sovereignty, government accountability and yes, immigration. Still if Bob Barr runs on the Libertarian ticket, I would be inclined to vote for him.


    P.S. Dan, Nader is not running as a Green this time..Cynthia McKinney is their likely nominee

  3. Daniel McCarthy March 9, 2008 / 6:41 am

    Thanks for the comments. I actually lean mostly in the direction Dylan suggests. I’d like to see Obama beat Clinton and he’s much preferable to McCain in November, but I’ll actually vote for third-party. If Barr runs, I’d definitely vote for him. In general, this seems like a good time to give the Libertarian Party a bit of a boost.

    Of course, it might be mischievous fun to vote for Cynthia McKinney!

  4. Jack Ross March 9, 2008 / 2:36 pm

    I’m glad to see Dan come down this way. I would have voted for Ron Paul if he ran third party but unless something drastic changes in the fall Bob Barr, glad as I’d be to see him run, wouldn’t elicit enough enthusiasm from me not to vote for Obama. As for the Greens I have too much love lost for them to want anything to do with them again (after being disgusted by both sides of their 2004 faction fight I voted for the pro-life Socialist Walt Brown, of whom two key supporters voted for Buchanan in 2000). And kudos to Dylan for bringing up the very real possibility of Jim Webb as his running mate – just think of it, David Wurmser’s old job as National Security Adviser to the VP going to the likes of Bill Lind!

    I also just need to say once more that I’m sick as all hell of Larison and Spencer obsessed with trying to demonstrate that Obama is some kind of hyper-interventionist. An internationalist, sure. But while on the one hand I can believe that Obama may have some kind of racially motivated hidden agenda, the suggestion that his raison detre is to vindicate the Brookings Institution is just complete and utter horseshit.

  5. dylan waco March 9, 2008 / 9:21 pm


    The AmCon cover story on Obama that aimed to “prove” his heartfelt interventionism was remarkably think on facts. It was almost all anecdotal and one of the weaker cover stories I have ever seen in that magazine.

    On the other hand, Obama is close with the insiders of his party, has done nothing to in the Senate to suggest he is solidly anti-war, and has many conflicting statements on the issue in general.

    Personally I think the difference is between a) John McCain – military statist, hardcore interventionist b) Hillary Clinton – “muscular internationalist”, who will constantly be trying to disprove stereotypes about women being soft and c) Barack Obama – typical opportunist politician, who will likely yield when the polls say stop. It is clear who is the least offensive in that grouping, or at least it is to me.

    In 2004 I followed Kara Hopkins advise and stayed home. My wife cast her vote for Walt Brown, making you two the only people I know in America who did so.


  6. Daniel McCarthy March 10, 2008 / 3:27 am

    I’ll have to think even harder if Obama puts Webb on his ticket and McCain has Mark Sanford as his veep. I hear very good things about Sanford. (But then, I’m sure he’d have to make a deal with the devil to get on McCain’s ticket.) I still don’t think I’d vote for either of them, and even the addition of Sanford would make it hard to root for McCain. But it would give me some hope, at least — vain though it might be.

  7. dylan waco March 10, 2008 / 4:04 am


    Sanford is an interesting character. I live in SC and he is very well regarded with the base of the Republican Party statewide. On fiscal matters it is hard to imagine a better executive at the state level. Still, I prefer the bombast and swagger of a Jim Webb. Sanford strikes me as compromiser in disguise, with good instincts, in a setting that is conducive to the success of some of his more “radical” proposals. Webb is as good as Sanford or better on all the major issues and is less likely to roll over.


  8. A Running Commentary March 11, 2008 / 7:09 pm

    I think Obama stands a good chance of just repeating McGovern/72 – McGovern ran against the war and Nixon wanted to slowly replace American troops with trained locals – Nixon won 49 of 50 states…

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