Friday, April 18, 2008

Obama and Conservatives

I have heard that Obama appeals to some conservatives. That was a furrowed brow for me. Couldn't imagine why. My only guess was that they were so torqued off at McCain that this bright, pleasant youngish man seemed a safe harbor, even if he was unfortunately leftist.

It has come up enough online that I decided to give it some thought. I haven't met any conservatives in real life who are leaning Obama, but there do seem to be some out there.

He has the temperament of a type of conservative. His ideas are those of the antiBuckley, but one can imagine them conversing on Firing Line for weeks on end. Check that. The content-driven Buckley would gradually drive the style-driven Obama into retreat and an unannounced (but no less complete) humiliation. It wouldn't last weeks. One could imagine it lasting a few weeks, however, in the sort of conversation that conservatives imagine the world could be run by. While there are right wingers who crave red meat and confrontation, there is another sort which tires rapidly of demagogues and fire-breathers. Obama would like to be a unifier; he listens politely and responds in measured tones, holding out the possibility that the country would settle down for a bit. That natural conservatism, the desire to be left in peace, has great appeal to a certain personality type. Many conservatives hope little more than to be left alone to pursue their lives without interference.

Considered this way, I understand it. The difficulty is that it is an illusion. Barack Obama's domestic views are so interventionist and his foreign policy views so non-interventionist that his actions would lead to stark choices: go along and have temporary peace and quiet, hoping that the damage to rights and allies will not be so great that it can't be rescued later, or rise up in confrontation, crying halt. BHO puts forth a vision of men and hobbits in Bree, living peaceably and respectfully together in mutual adjustment, an example of tolerance to all travelers.

It all depends on whether Saruman or Sauron are real threats on the move. If not, why not live as Obama hints, even if it turns out to be expensive and a bit intrusive? But if so, then there is no respite on the horizon, and his association with half-orcs is a matter of great concern.

5 comments:

Foobarista said...

The problem with Obama's notion of "unity" is it's "trust me and drink the Kool-aid". It isn't "I'll attend to you and modify my positions based on your concerns".

There's a part of me that _really_ wants to like Obama, and in another domain, he'd probably do very well. But not President.

cold pizza said...

Other headlines from Bizarro World: "Sun Runs Cold" and "Hillary Does NOT Make Small Children Cry When She Laughs." Who knew? -cp

TomG said...

Of crossing a huge historical barrier, and of Obama's being a sign of change merely by his running, an excerpt from the below movie preview: "Off screen Mr. Penn has been stumping for Senator Barack Obama, though he declined to discuss his political involvement in an article about “Harold and Kumar.” But Mr. Hurwitz and Mr. Schlossberg, who said they’ve heard that Mr. Obama has seen (and liked) the first film, were willing to draw a connection. “He is a symbol of moving beyond race,” Mr. Schlossberg said. “Obama is a sign of the times, just like Harold and Kumar.”
Which is not to say that Harold and Kumar exist in a postracial society. The larger point, as Mr. Hurwitz put it, is that “race matters to the other characters but not to Harold and Kumar,” a misalignment that is by turns funny, poignant and maddening.
“They’re beyond racism but live in a world that isn’t,” Mr. Schlossberg said. “In many ways Harold and Kumar represent what we want the future to be.”"
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/20/movies/20lim.html

Thud said...

some people class themselves as conservative for the strangest of reasons...I would imagine supporting Obama rules you out for ever!

kreiz1 said...

Total agreement, AVI. Conservative attraction to Obama is about personality and style. For a pol, he's relatively unassuming and soft spoken, engaging but moderate, not quick to rattle. He listens. He presents himself as a reasonable man. (I'd love to see him match with Buckley). None of this is political- it's personal- and it's hard to differentiate between the two. On a gut level, it's very persuasive.