The “conservative” case for Obama

That is, if you go by what “conservative” used to mean.  Andrew Sullivan makes the case for why “true” conservatives (or at least those with an appreciation for the meaning beyond the present American political context) should support Obama.  Of course, I’d argue that liberals should to.  Anyway, more than anything it is an interesting look at just how truly radical, rather than conservative, the modern Republican party has become.  Here’s a bit:

Michael Brendan Dougherty recently checked in on the Obamacons and found them a little chastened, but still adamant about the degeneration of the GOP and salvaging the term “conservative” from religious fanatics, supply-side fantasists and foreign policy utopians. The eyes roll, I know, when I cling to the word “conservative” like others cling to their, er, Second Amendment rights. But I’d be dissembling if I did not argue that on a whole array of issues, Obama is simply and unequivocally the more conservative candidate. One commenter on the piece put it pretty simply:

What do you call:

1. Nationalism, without the interventionist foreign policy.

2. Taxation equal to public spending, rather than just cutting taxes without making the hard choices to spend less.

3. Slow and careful to adopt change, but realizing that change is necessary sometimes.

I view conservatism as the practical engagement with policy and political institutions to adapt modestly and incrementally to social and economic change with the goal of maintaining the coherence and stability of a polity and a culture. It is a philosophy of moderation and balance, constantly alert to the manifold ways in which societies can, over time, lose their equilibrium.

Wow, you put it that way, and conservativism certainly sounds pretty good.  But again, historically speaking, it has very little in common with today’s Republican party.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

8 Responses to The “conservative” case for Obama

  1. You have got to be kidding. The Tea Partiers and conservatives are SCREAMING to reduce spending. Obama has been doing interventionalist foreign policy. Are you blind?

  2. mike from Canada says:

    The key point above is “making the hard choices” which the tea partiers consistently poll as being unwilling to do. They don’t want to get rid of defense, medicare or social security which are the only three areas that can have any real effect on the budget.

    The right can no longer be called “conservatives”, which was what the entire post was about. But I certainly didn’t expect everyone to get the point.

  3. Mike please spare me the smug sanctimony. We are already making cuts in defense spending. If you think that those 3 areas are the only areas where there is room to cut, you must be smoking some of that whacky tobaccy.

    Obama’s stimulus plan was rife with fraud. There are not colleges all over the country who are in trouble for phony jobs training programs where they ripped off millions of dollars and did not result in any jobs for a start. I could go on and on but you already have your mind made up and don’t want to be confused with the facts

    • David says:

      “If you think that those 3 areas are the only areas where there is room to cut”

      That’s….not really the point. Of course there other things to cut….one could theoretically cut everything in the Federal budget. But nobody wants to cut those things, because everything the government does, except for foreign aid, is pretty popular, and cutting the amounts the Ryans and Romneys want to cut is political suicide.

    • mike from Canada says:

      “We are already making cuts in defense spending. If you think that those 3 areas are the only areas where there is room to cut, you must be smoking some of that whacky tobaccy.”

      Once again I find myself replying to your ‘living in the bubble’ fact free arguments and your refusal to actually read or understand the blog, the post or my comment.

      “…can have any real effect on the budget.” Look familiar? It might. It was part of my comment. It alludes to the FACT that defense, social security and medicare are such a large part of the budget all the rest is simply a pittance in comparison and cutting ALL THE REST would have no real change in the debt or deficit. MEANINGFUL change means just that. This has been shown in this blog several times through easy to see graphs. It’s also been in all the news. Perhaps not Fox though, they seem to have a problem with letting their viewers know the cold hard reality of life. Like you have to pay for things you get.

      You have a tendency to call people blind, delusional, in denial or accuse them of doing drugs, yet you repeatedly fail to give any real arguments yourself. When someone gives you facts that counter your statements you change your argument or ignore them.

      “Mike please spare me the smug sanctimony.”

      If you say so, it must be true. After all, 99.99 percent of climate scientists are wrong and the marriage counselor is right. On everything. He’s so right that he never even has to put up an actual argument. Just call them blind.

      ” We are already making cuts in defense spending” The defense cuts were forced by an agreement Obama brokered, were they not? One should say they are Obama’s cuts. So Obama is the only one making cuts to the budget that you like.
      Funny though, how just a little while ago Fox, Limbaugh and the rest of the right was castigating Obama and having kittens for so called defense cuts. Funny how Obama does something (according to Fact Free Fox) and its the end of the world, but when the Republicans do it its just fine. Another example: Romneycare.

      One might think it’s more to do with Obama’s Pantone number then his political positions.

      • John Wilder says:

        You only want to see what you want to see. I support cutting the wasteful F-22 and F-35 fighter projects. They are unneeded and a waste.

        AS to your claim that 99.9 climate scientists are in agreement, you could not be more wrong. We have a whole lot of scientists who are actually scientists instead of politicians blowing holes in the global warming anthropogenic THEORY. due to CO2.

        I actually support anthropogenic warming and give the Mall of America as a microcosm. It gets down to 20 below zero and the malls stays at a comfortable 68 degrees with no furnaces. The heat comes from the lights in the mall and the aggregate body temps of the visitors

  4. J. Palmer says:


    “Contemporary American politics has redefined the term “conservative.” What once represented a philosophy of restraint has become more synonymous with unrestrained fringe.

    The tea party and social conservatives are vociferous and adamantly represented by their cable television outlet, but the ultra-right wingers are a small and decreasingly influential portion of the American population, evidenced by their futile attempt to deny their party’s candidacy to a “severe” moderate.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: