Sunday, April 06, 2008

Anti-War Conservatives for Obama

By Richard Whalen | April 4, 2008 5:00 AM

Anti-war conservatives are rallying around ultra-liberal Barack Obama. He promises to “get out of Iraq as carefully as we went in carelessly,” and that’s enough for Andrew J. Bacevich, professor of history and international relations at Boston University.

Bacevich, writing in The American Conservative, says: “Barack Obama is no conservative. Yet if he wins the Democratic nomination, come November principled conservatives may well find themselves voting for the senator from Illinois. Given the alternatives—and the state of the conservative movement—they could do worse.

“Granted, when it comes to defining exactly what authentic conservatism entails, considerable disagreement exists even (or especially) among conservatives themselves. My own definition emphasizes the following:

* a commitment to individual liberty, tempered by the conviction that genuine freedom entails more than simply an absence of restraint;
* a belief in limited government, fiscal responsibility, and the rule of law;
* veneration for our cultural inheritance combined with a sense of stewardship for Creation;
* a reluctance to discard or tamper with traditional social arrangements;
* respect for the market as the generator of wealth combined with a wariness of the market’s corrosive impact on humane values;
* a deep suspicion of utopian promises, rooted in an appreciation of the sinfulness of man and the recalcitrance of history.

“Accept that definition and it quickly becomes apparent that the Republican Party does not represent conservative principles. The conservative ascendancy that began with the election of Ronald Reagan has been largely an illusion. During the period since 1980, certain faux conservatives—especially those in the service of Big Business and Big Empire—have prospered. But conservatism as such has not.”

Bacevich, a Vietnam vet and a gold star father, whose beloved son and namesake was killed in Iraq is our generation’s Charles Beard. The Obama movement swells daily with traditional political figures of the first rank. Kevin Phillips, an old rightist, says he expects to vote for Obama. Another likely Obama supporter may be retired General Bill Odom, the leading anti-war strategist. In 2005, General Odom, former head of the National Security Agency under Reagan, called the Iraq War “the greatest single strategic mistake in our nation’s history.” A younger Reagan-era colleague, Doug Bandow and many of The American Conservative’s writers and editors are also leaning toward Obama...[Open in new window]


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