On this afternoon's CNN Newsroom, anchor Don Lemon interviewed Carolyn Lochhead,
the San Francisco Chronicle's Washington correspondent. The topic was
"Obamacons," conservative Republicans who support Barack Obama for
president. Lochhead wrote a recent article on the phenomenon:
LEMON: Well, we've been hearing about all of these new
names being made up during this election season. One is "Obamaicans."
We heard that word a lot during the primary season. Now we're hearing
about "Obamaicons." Like neocons, you know what I'm talking about? Who
Well, joining me from Washington, Carolyn Lochhead, The "San
Francisco Chronicle's" Washington correspondent. Thank you of course
for joining us.
All right, really. What is an Obamaicon? Is this really true? Or is
this media-driven? Is this true of what's actually happening on the
CAROLYN LOCHHEAD, "SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE": No, if anything, I
think the media's overlooked it. There's a great deal of discontent in
the Republican party and among the intellectual, the conservative
intellectual elite that has powered the Republican Party since Ronald
LEMON: How much of an affect, though? And you say the intellectual
conservative elite. I mean, is that enough to make a real shift?
LOCHHEAD: Well, it's enough...
LEMON: And who are these people?
LOCHHEAD: It might not yet turn up in the voting booth. But, what it
does is it reflects a lot of conservative discontent with the
Republican Party, with the Bush administration and with John McCain.
LEMON: OK. Now, are we talking names? Are we not talking you know, like Rush Limbaugh or...
LEMON: What names -- are we talking big conservative Republican names?
LOCHHEAD: Not yet, but they're out there. There are more the -- more
obscure people. But, people like Milton Friedman's son David, who is
LOCHHEAD: Former economist for the Chamber of Commerce, Larry Hunter, endorsing Obama.
LEMON: OK. We talked earlier with our political analyst, Bill
Schneider, who talked about red states turning blue. One of them is
Georgia. And just in the crowd, just today in Georgia, a woman spoke
out and I guess you could consider her -- a man, I should say. Consider
him an Obamaican. This is just a short time ago.
Take a listen. I want to talk to you about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator, I'm a reformed Republican.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: All right, go ahead. You've got to biggest cheer of the day.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll take a cabinet post.
OBAMA: There you go.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I worked for Bobby Kennedy forty years ago, sir. And what you have done this year has restored that faith.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: It's a lot of things that we're hearing even in our own
personal lives about people who may be -- you know, who are really just
struck by Obama, Republican or Democrat.
You saw the response there. You were smiling, I saw you, during that. Why so? I guess you know, this is one person.
LOCHHEAD: Right, but Obama is reaching out and sometimes in very
subtle ways using the language of free markets or various ways reaches
out to conservatives in a -- with a very subtle message.
CNN's Obamacon worked for Bobby Kennedy forty years ago? Gee, that
doesn't sound like much of a conservative to me. Kennedy was a
distinctly liberal candidate by the time he ran for president.
Vehemently anti-war, he went so far as to suggest sending blood to
North Vietnam, which then was engaged in killing American soldiers.
Obviously, CNN's Obamacon must have been a reformed Democrat before
becoming a reformed Republican. In all the talk about conservative
Republicans jumping to the Good Ship Obama, a nagging question
persists: Who are all these alleged converts?
Lochhead's recent article
on the subject names Susan Eisenhower, granddaughter of a moderate
Republican president, and David Friedman, Milton Friedman's son. Wow,
She also mentions Andrew Sullivan, described as a "conservative
blogger." Not included is the salient point that Sullivan backed John
Kerry for president in 2004. Yep, sounds like a real conservative to
Another convert identified is Boston University professor Andrew
Bacevich. Whatever conservative credentials he holds aren't detailed.
He has, however, contributed money to Senator Jack Reed. The Rhode Island Democrat's American Conservative Union rating last year was a whopping zero.
One uncontested conservative who's thinking about voting for Obama
is talk show host Armstrong Williams. The Chronicle article quotes him
as saying he won't vote based on race, yet he's previously admitted,
"I don't necessarily like his (Obama's) policies; I don't like much
that he advocates, but for the first time in my life, history thrusts
me to really seriously think about it." So, other than race, why would
he support the most liberal senator in the United States?
CNN and the rest of the mainstream media want us to believe that
significant numbers of conservative Republicans are supporting their
preferred candidate. They'll have to do better than trot out guys who
worked for Bobby Kennedy, endorsed John Kerry, contributed to liberals,
or are thinking about going with Barry.