I first saw the video of Obama's speech in Clanton on the website of an American Conservative, Andrew Sullivan. The site is called The Daily Dish .
Sullivan is a conservative in the Burkean sense, or maybe in the sense of William F Buckley Jn. Sullivan supports the basic traditional conservative aims: economic freedom, smaller government and personal choice, as well as a respect for scholarship, ideas and sober, thoughtful debate.
The majority of Republicans are not of this traditional variety of conservative, they reflect the Bush White House style of "Conservatism": "... big-spending, privacy-busting, debt-ridden, crony-laden, fundamentalist, intolerant, incompetent and arrogant ..."
Sarah Palin is also of this branch of the Republican Party. Sullivan linked to an article by Christopher Hitchins, who has centre - right views (irrespective of his atheism). Hitchins discusses Palin's contempt for knowledge, learning and science. He stated that, this year the Republican Party:
has placed within reach of the Oval Office a woman who is a religious fanatic and a proud, boastful ignoramus. Those who despise science and learning are not anti-elitist. They are morally and intellectually slothful people who are secretly envious of the educated and the cultured. And those who prate of spiritual warfare and demons are not just "people of faith" but theocratic bullies. On Nov. 4, anyone who cares for the Constitution has a clear duty to repudiate this wickedness and stupidity.
Given that they have lost this election, some Republicans have started to consider who will be the Republican candidate for the 2012 election. Many have suggested Palin as the challenger to Obama. This prospect horrifies the moderate Republicans, like Sullivan, and it will be interesting to watch the battle in the Republican Party over the next few years.
Given all the above it is not surprising that Sullivan supports Obama for President. He has provided ten reasons why conservatives should vote for Barack:
10. A body blow to racial identity politics. An end to the era of Jesse Jackson in black America.
9. Less debt. Yes, Obama will raise taxes on those earning over a quarter of a million. And he will spend on healthcare, Iraq, Afghanistan and the environment. But so will McCain. He plans more spending on health, the environment and won't touch defense of entitlements. And his refusal to touch taxes means an extra $4 trillion in debt over the massive increase presided over by Bush. And the CBO estimates that McCain's plans will add more to the debt over four years than Obama's. Fiscal conservatives have a clear choice.
8. A return to realism and prudence in foreign policy. Obama has consistently cited the foreign policy of George H. W. Bush as his inspiration. McCain's knee-jerk reaction to the Georgian conflict, his commitment to stay in Iraq indefinitely, and his brinksmanship over Iran's nuclear ambitions make him a far riskier choice for conservatives. The choice between Obama and McCain is like the choice between George H.W. Bush's first term and George W.'s.
7. An ability to understand the difference between listening to generals and delegating foreign policy to them.
6. Temperament. Obama has the coolest, calmest demeanor of any president since Eisenhower. Conservatism values that kind of constancy, especially compared with the hot-headed, irrational impulsiveness of McCain.
5. Faith. Obama's fusion of Christianity and reason, his non-fundamentalist faith, is a critical bridge between the new atheism and the new Christianism.
4. A truce in the culture war. Obama takes us past the debilitating boomer warfare that has raged since the 1960s. Nothing has distorted our politics so gravely; nothing has made a rational politics more elusive.
3. Two words: President Palin.
2. Conservative reform. Until conservatism can get a distance from the big-spending, privacy-busting, debt-ridden, crony-laden, fundamentalist, intolerant, incompetent and arrogant faux conservatism of the Bush-Cheney years, it will never regain a coherent message to actually govern this country again. The survival of conservatism requires a temporary eclipse of today's Republicanism. Losing would be the best thing to happen to conservatism since 1964. Back then, conservatives lost in a landslide for the right reasons. Now, Republicans are losing in a landslide for the wrong reasons.
1. The War Against Islamist terror. The strategy deployed by Bush and Cheney has failed. It has failed to destroy al Qaeda, except in a country, Iraq, where their presence was minimal before the US invasion. It has failed to bring any of the terrorists to justice, instead creating the excrescence of Gitmo, torture, secret sites, and the collapse of America's reputation abroad. It has empowered Iran, allowed al Qaeda to regroup in Pakistan, made the next vast generation of Muslims loathe America, and imperiled our alliances. We need smarter leadership of the war: balancing force with diplomacy, hard power with better p.r., deploying strategy rather than mere tactics, and self-confidence rather than a bunker mentality.
Those conservatives who remain convinced, as I do, that Islamist terror remains the greatest threat to the West cannot risk a perpetuation of the failed Manichean worldview of the past eight years, and cannot risk the possibility of McCain making rash decisions in the middle of a potentially catastrophic global conflict. If you are serious about the war on terror and believe it is a war we have to win, the only serious candidate is Barack Obama.