The "Obama Republican"

  Obama – NYC 147 
  Originally uploaded by ~gio~.

Barack Obama came to NYC yesterday and had a large rally in front of the Washington Square Arch. I wasn’t there but heard he was quite good.

Later in the evening the Gotham Gal and I attended a small gathering of supporters and potential supporters (with us in the latter camp). It’s the kind of event I’ve been looking to attend for the past nine months. I want to look the person in the eye before supporting them and asking others to do the same.

To be honest, I’d be fine with either Barack or Hillary as the next President. My dream is Mike Bloomberg but unless he gets in the race, my support is going to Barack or Hillary. I’ve tried to like the Republicans, but I’ve had the opportunity to watch Rudy in action for 8 years and its ugly. McCain is compelling but seems to have shot himself in the foot with his position on the war. Romney has moved so far right on social issues that there is no way I could support him.

But back to Barack. He made a number of comments to the group that he talked to last night that I liked a lot. But one thing he said really turned me on.

He talked about the need to govern our country with a real majority, to move beyond Presidencies that govern with "50+1" majorities. He talked about how Reagan enjoyed "Reagan Democrats" and claimed that he could assemble a large group of "Obama Republicans".

Is that true? I’d like to hear from all the Republicans who read this blog. Can you see yourself getting behind Obama?

Because if he’s right about being a leader who can speak to people with different beliefs, who can bring our country together, then his candidacy is compelling. Frankly that’s what I want in 2008 and that’s why I’ve been so eager to see Mike Bloomberg run.


Comments (Archived):

  1. DonRyan

    I am a Republican who twice voted for Bush and am very intrigued by Obama. I don’t think I could vote for Hillary but Bloomberg would be terrific. No one on the Republican side even remotely interests me. They are all cow-towing to the hard core social conservative right (which is the same reason John Edwards holds no interest to me). I could see myself being an Obama Republican.

    1. Ben

      The reason he is “intriguing” is because it’s easy to project feelings onto him. he has no substance, he doesn’t say anything. He is the most economically liberal senator in the senate.

  2. Rogel

    I’m a libertarian and I would rather see candidates like Bill Richardson. I think that Obama’s charisma might win some republicans but the fact is that his domestic agenda will prevent any free market capitalist away from him.

    1. Andy Swan

      Right on! I could easily see myself punching the ballot for Richardson

  3. Esther

    I voted for President Bush, and was intrigued by Mr. Obama when he first appeared on the scene. I read his most recent book,”The Audacity of Hope” and can honestly say that, given his views and feelings on economic and social issues, he will have a very hard time attracting a significant Republican base. He is compelling and charismatic, but once he begins speaking on substantive issues, he will lose many, just as he lost me. It’s disappointing because I was hoping he would be more of a “bridge builder”, but in fact he often seems to spout fairly plain liberal arguments, in a decidedly more even manner.With that said, there hasn’t been a Republican candidate yet that really attracts me.

    1. Ben

      He’s appealing to people who like President Bush because he is running on the same platform. he is so full of it.

  4. Andy Swan

    I’m a libertarian who voted for Bush in ’04 mostly because he was running against a hippie with no core. The quick answer is that there is no way any free-market capitalist could punch the Obama button. The more he talks, the more you realize he’s a puppet placating white guilt with that “clean”, “fresh” and “charismatic” look.I’m still amazed that the Democrats top candidates are LEGISLATORS (which never win Presidential elections) from Democrat stronghold states. On the other hand, the Republicans have EXECUTIVES (which always win Presidential elections) from Democrat stronghold states.

  5. Joe in Vermont

    As a registered Republican, albeit a Vermont one, I’ve seen the GOP go to a fiscally conservative, personal freedom party to one run by a bunch of former Yellow and Blue Dog Democrats that have spent us into a rathole, invaded our bedrooms and made a mess of this country. These same Republicans go church on Sunday and invoke the name of Jesus. I don’t think Jesus is happy and I know the country isn’t.I strongly support, and contribute to, Barack Obama. He can unite us and is not part of the same old “Beltway Bozos” in both parties that have pitted American against American for their own gain and narrow agenda. I will not support nor vote for Hillary Clinton. We can’t go through another term of rumors of scandal, hints of financial slight of hand, infidelity and it goes on and on. Heck, Hillary on Wednesday evening couldn’t event take a stand on a hypothetical Word Series. She also made an ass our of herself on the torture issuse and contradicted her own husband. Speaking of husbands, if I hear her start a sentence again with “My husband’, I’m going to be violently ill. Who is running for what?I’d urge both of you to join a growing army of Americans from all backgrounds, areas, faiths, ethnic origin and support the one candidate who can unite and inspire us. As Senator Obama rightly says, Rumsfeld, Cheney, and far too many others, have decades long resumes of experience in Washington. Just look what that so-called experience has bought us. Please think about it.

    1. Mike

      All well & good supporting Obama, but how exactly does he strike you as a cure for overspending? His proposals seem quite expensive as well. I can understand looking at someone like Bloomberg for fiscal discipline, but Obama? Not saying he’s not but I don’t see it.

    2. Ben

      You might want to know that Barack Obama is the 10th most liberal senator there is. It makes zero sense of you to support someone just because they dont’ say anything.

  6. kid mercury

    for the people who say there is no good GOP candidate, check out ron paul. his support is growing and in some major polls he has surpassed mccain. he also is the only real supporter of limited government — a nice idea in an age of unprecedented corruption, and an idea that makes him the only real conservative in the race.

    1. Andy Swan

      Ron Paul is my man in ’08 without a doubt. He’s the only one coming CLOSE to the “government out of my life” appeal that Reagan had.

    2. Joe in Vermont

      You may want government out of your life, but Ron Paul won’t do it. Most of American doesn’t know who the heck he is.

      1. Rogel

        I do agree that Ron Paul will probably will not win the nomination but I think he is starting something that will turn into a bigger force in years to come. Gingrich on the other hand might be able to make the GOP lineup more interesting. But It is hard to imagine that Obama will be able to create a big move of Republicans ( beside of the many so sick of the party and how bad it become as soon as it got the power that will vote for any non-Republican candidate)

    3. Greg

      It’s true that Ron Paul supports change but it’s change through regression instead of progression. Going back only allow’s for the same mistakes to be made.

  7. msnz911

    Thats exacty right…I am a republican also, and Obama is for unity of america. Unlike Hillary who advocates the politics of divisiveness.Please read my diary at dailykos website. I have laid out 10 Reasons Why I support Obama –

  8. greenskeptic

    Bloomberg in ’08! Will he run? We’ve got to get to him.Richardson has appeal, but I doubt he can win the election. I was pulling for McCain early on, but he has killed his candidacy and I don’t there’s any recovering. For my taste, the other GOP candidates are just too socially conservative (or at least, they want you to think they are; what skeletons to they have in the men’s room?).Obama has charisma, but charisma hasn’t won a race since Clinton’s first term. Hillary is just too untrustworthy and Edwards, well, is not a winner, despite his Twittering.That said, I’m willing to hear-out Obama and will seek out an opportunity to do so. But can we draft Bloomberg?!

  9. Felix

    In late July and early August, Iowa Republican voters were asked to name their choice for president in a University of Iowa poll. Mitt Romney, who leads most Iowa surveys, got 22 percent of the total. Rudy Giuliani came in second with 10 percent. But third place went to a Democrat, Barack Obama, who got nearly 7 percent — more than Mike Huckabee, John McCain and Sam Brownback combined.

  10. Jonathan

    FWIW, I have attended two small Obama events in New York and each time I found myself sitting next to a republican. The first event was a Wall Street breakfast and the fellow next to me was a partner at a major investment bank. He informed the entire table that he had resigned himself that the next president will be a democrat but he was determined that it not be Hillary and hence he was supporting Obama. The second time I saw Obama was at a lunch at a law firm with a large investment management practice. In the room were many fund managers who were admitted republicans and, by virtue of their line of work, very sensitive to the debate about cap gains tax rate (a point on which Obama is not the most sympathetic candidate). Nevertheless there was obviously meaningful support for him in the room.If Bloomberg were to run, I suspect, not surprisingly, that many of the people at each of these events (myself included) would vote for him over Obama.

  11. CoryS

    On that tone – Bush ran his original platform, and won, based on his track record for being a unifying presence and that he would carry that to Washington. Times dictated many diversions, but even Bush has the opportunity to lead his party and take action to work together and get key issues accomplished.Obama would be smart to emulate this position as it has many merits. With luck, the future president takes the chance to not only present it as a theme to get elected, but to follow through on that promise.

  12. Joe

    A little off topic, but a bunch of my friends were at the Obama rally last night, some of them volunteering. One of the guys almost got beaten up, literally, because he said he supported Chris Dodd. I’m glad I didn’t go, because I happened to be wearing my John Ashcroft T-shirt yesterday.

  13. Robert Hacker

    I think the country has been looking for a consensus candidate and party since Reagan, what I would characterize as “liberal Republican”. Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have recognized this trend or they don’t believe the big contributors will support the logical shift to this position. A liberal Republican believes in strong defense/HLS, prudent government spending and a progressive view on social issues such as abortion, affirmative action and the environment. Obama’s position is correct in my view that we need a real majority but I think he may be too polarizing because of his war view to win. I think the majority are concerned about the war but will not pick a presidential candidate solely on this basis, particularly given that nobody has a good solution. As you say, McCain is probably the most attractive but he will not get the nomination. What we need are a Gerry Ford or a Nelson Rockefeller. to be offered up by the Democrats. Until that time I watch without comitting–just like you–and hope for better choices in the next election.To answer your question, as a Republican I would vote for Obama if the Republican candidate is anti-abortion or has recently changed to this position.

  14. Don Jones

    Unconditional meetings with foreign leaders who openly advocate wiping other countries off the map?Obama is a rookie. You want me to sign on for a rookie who’s responsible for protecting 300 million people?

    1. fred wilson

      exactly why are unconditional meetings with foriegn leaders who openly advocate wiping other countries off the map is a bad move?maybe it’s our unwillingness to talk to our enemies that is making the world a more dangerous place.fred

      1. Anonymous

        Do you know how laughable this sounds? You make it sound like “sitting down and discussing” is some sort of new concept.Let me throw a few examples of why this reading this comment is such a joke:- North Korea- We sat with North Korea throughout the 1990s, offering them all sorts of economic incentives if they stopped their nuclear ambitions. Of course, they stalled, got us to ratchet up our incentives, and finally agreed. When the time was right for them (1998), they began to ignor their commitments and finally became a nuclear power in 2002. A classic example of the U.S. legitimizing a Government (responsible for untold misery amonst its population), giving them the economic wherewithal to exist (thereby institutionalizing them), and finally being played for the fool as commitments were ignored.- The Palestinian Authority- Arafat was the most frequent foreign visitor to the Clinton White House. The Clinton Administration’s effort to legitimize him in 1993 is one of the most frightening policy debacles of the modern era- having the disastrous consequence of legitimizing a known terrorist, selling out a friend (Israel), and compromising U.S. policy for a decade. Needless to say there is much to be written- but long story short- when Arafat did not get exactly what he coveted, he launched the second Intifada (furthering the futile misery of the Palestinian People). Lack of discussions was never the problem- lack of credible partner was.- Iran- For the past several years the U.S. has taken a back seat as the U.K., France, and Germany have tried to negotiate with Iran. Result: Three years later, Iran is now enriching Uranium and we are left hoping for the best, but foreseeing the worst. Recently, and with France, German and U.K. approval, the U.S. was forced to enter the picture with a more aggressive tone and posture. Unpleasant as it must seem to you, we are left holding the bag because conversations were futile.In case you haven’t noticed, it is not a lack of talking that is the problem. It is the fact that the Governments we are talking to seek three things: Legitimacy (all three examples above were extremely repressive regimes, who foster no human rights amongst their populations), Time (to continue their own ambitions), and a place at the table (where they have no business being at- both Iran and NK are signatories of the NNPT…while Arafat always claimed in his speeches in Arabic that Jihad was the true means to conquer all of Israel). Arafat’s negotiations were all part of his stages theory he implemented in 1974.The world is full of countries that really do not wish the West well. Negotiations are a dead-end with countries that refuse to honor their commitments (thereby making the treaties ‘not worth the paper they are written on’). By forcing the U.S. to rely on the good will of these illegitimate governments we threaten both global and national security…while losing our ideals in the process.Would you continue to trust your LPs money to a CEO who constantly lied to your face?I didn’t think so.

  15. Gordon

    I’m a libertarian, generally annoyed by major-party candidates. I suppose I could support Obama if he were running against Huckabee or Tom Tancredo. But Obama vs. Romney? I doubt I’d support the Democrat in that case. Obama vs. Rudy? Probably not. McCain, Thompson? Again, as flawed as all these guys are, so is Obama.Every time he actually says something on a piece of policy (at least when I hear him), his position is some reflexive, old-school Democrat. More money for this. More regulation of that. On policy, he never seems to bring up creative, post-partisan proposals. It’s a shame because on the style of it, I love that he’s saying that the Carville/Rove divisiveness is a tired way to run for office. But when you push him on what he would do, it’s all pro-union, pro-trial lawyers, pro-educrats. His foreign policy stumbles, I could forgive, though I do half-expect him to start talking about the Nuclear Freeze Movement any day now.Ron Paul is the man, but he obviously won’t get the nomination.

  16. jack phelps

    It’s a nice thought, but I’m not sure there’s really much weight behind it. I went to the public event last night largely for the same reason–to get more a sense of what’s he about than one might be able to on youtube–and while I like him because he’s a *relative* newcomer and seems basically reasonable, his positions on key election issues are just going to leave a lot of blood on the campaign trail if he makes it through the primaries. And last night he talked not only about spotlight issues like establishing a universal single-payer system by the end of his first term, but also wasn’t shy with the extras, things like “not just minimum but LIVING” wages. I mean, I personally value that he’s not afraid of standing for something, but I don’t see how it’s going to buy him anything but bitterness if he makes it into office.

  17. BJ

    I am an Independent, with strong repubublican leanings and voted for Bush twice. Obama is smoking something if he thinks he can get middle ground Republicans on his side. He is WAY too liberal from taxes to abortion. He is left of Kerry, and that’s hard (I am from MA too).I really don’t see any Democrats as being able to court the middle that well. Hillary will try but she is no Bill. I do not know much about Richardson but he has said some bad things and some good things. Not sure how nationwide the immigration issue is but he could play that up well for the middle. He also MUST have some dirt on Hillary from his days in the Clinton Whitehouse, but will he use it or wait to try and be VP and use the immigration issue and national experience to help Hillary….

  18. thomasl824

    He is a typical liberal democrat. Read the books, the same boilerplate stuff.

  19. J 2 The B

    I’m a registered republican, voted GOP across the board in every election I was eligible for.Obama? No way. He may try to get us on his side, but he still stands for the same old liberal ideology that Edwards and Kerry, etc are spewing. Maybe people may see him as the lesser of 2 evils (Hillary vs. Obama) but in a general election I don’t think he could garner the support. It’s Hillary’s nomination to lose, and I don’t think she even asks Obama to be on the ticket.My GOP dream ticket for ’08 – Fred Thompson and Rick Santorum. Thompson would get the votes of the “everyday” Republicans, and the old grandma/grandpa types (who wouldn’t even think of voting for HRC) and Santorum shores up the religious right vote. Yes, Rick is a lightning rod, but I think his strong defense and security background will be a plus not a minus. And Thompson is far enough outside the inner circle that the people wouldn’t by thinking that they were voting for one of Bush’s boys.Bloomberg is too much of a social liberal to get my support, but I can see his appeal to those in the middle.

  20. Republican

    Obama is a rookie and a lightweight. I wouldn’t support him even if I were a Democrat.

  21. Dan

    If I had to vote today I would be an Obama Republican.

    1. fred wilson

      it’s too early to make a call Lloyd.waiting to see if Mike gets in the race.i sure hope he liberal + fiscal conservative = winner

  22. Brian

    I’m not a registered Republican, but tend to vote that way. I think Obama is a non-starter for virtually any Republican. He’s a warmed over 60s liberal that lacks substance as far as I can tell. He has charisma going for him, but his primary asset seems to be that he wasn’t in the Senate when the vote to go to war was taken – and Hillary rubs a lot of people the wrong way so they would like another option. Hillary would make a much better president and will be more successful courting independents.

  23. Audrey

    I am registered Republican and would vote for Obama over most of the Republican pool.What’s more, the last time I visited my family in Colorado (lifetime Republicans), they were considering voting for Obama.It seems to me that Obama is gaining a following among disillusioned Midwestern conservatives.

  24. Guest

    there’s not a chance i would vote for obama. i don’t know of anything he has done that suggests he would be a good president. it’s great to say he unites people, but what does he do to unite us? how is he bridging gaps other than talking about bridging gaps?

  25. Hockeydino

    Obama and Hillary? Please…they are both two peas in a pod – liberal socialists. Most of the republicans in the race arent that far behind. They support the status quo. No way in hell I would support those two. Who cares if they are good speakers? Heck imagine listening to Hillary’s annoying voice for 4years ….shoot me now.If you haven’t heard , the state of Michigan’s house and senate have been in session all week day and night, because the state is about to shut down. Yes, government offices will shut down, and thousands of employees have been told not to come to work. Not to mention all the services everyone seems to want/need will be closed – state parks, casinos, secretary of state office etc. Real nice. How did the state get in this mess? Because the republicans preserved the status quo of the democrats increasing the size of govt. Throw in the fact the private sector leaves left and right (Auto industry etc), there is no reason to do business in Michigan anymore. 68,000 people left the state last year. That’s an entire football stadium leaving, and that’s without even an App St. win!New York liberals really have me baffled. You sit on one of the most important cities in the world that could really spur economic growth more than it has, then you support people that want to stifle your business and progress.There’s a few republicans that make sense. Ron Paul makes the most sense. It is a step backwards to limit government? It’s a step forward, because more businesses will bring opportunities to research, invest, and spend. If I am getting taxed less, I am going to invest and spend more. Do you see how that works? It’s very simple. The more you tax me ( Hillary & Obama) the less money I am going to have to buy all your applications you tout every day. It would be better if I had more money to buy your applications, thus your ventures would be valued more. You could then make more money, give more to charity, invest in really cool businesses, and the world would be a bettter place. The have nots would have more! Now isnt that what liberals really want deep down?Come on people. Don’t vote or support someone just because Tim Russert wants them in the race. Vote on the values this country was founded on – less government, and more personal freedom. I won’t be jumping off this soap box anytime soon.

    1. Henry Jones

      You have all the information you need and yet it still doesn’t click. Liberalism is the very origin of our economic system. It’s about cutting out unnecessary interference, and not prejudging things you know too little about. If you think liberalism is about taxes, you’ve been sold a bad bill of goods. All the major economic centres in the country are liberal. Why? Because open minds and an energy to get things done go hand in hand. This is why the truly brilliant business heads, like Warren Buffett and George Soros, are liberals, while the ones who rely on corporate welfare are conservative.

  26. Michael St. Hilaire

    The problem with the republican party is that most of the candidates think it’s a good idea to stay in iraq. I think thats a recipe for losing the election, because it’s the one thing the majority of americans are solidly against.

  27. Chris LaBossiere

    I may be a republican, but I honestly think that Obama will be more republican in many ways than the existing crop. He would have my suppport. Regrettably I won’t have a say, as I am Canadian. At least until y’all take us over for our resources.

    1. Gerald Buckley

      Chris, looks to me like the Ruskies are going to handle that “resources” job if the continental shelf is any indicator.

  28. Chris

    I attended the “regular folks” gathering in Washington Square Park, where Obama alluded to the “Republicans in the crowd, I know you’re out there…” and this appears to be a new edit to his stump speech. I’m sure it’s aimed at showing his electability, and I think Fred’s asking Republicans to comment is seeking further validation of Obama’s claim.Two comments, one on Fred’s position and one on Obama’s electability:1. Are there any other long-time readers of this blog who wonder about the “drama” that Fred is putting us through in picking a candidate to support? We’re four months from “Super Duper Tuesday” (2/5/08) and seven months since Obama’s candidacy announcement (when Fred complained about the streaming software on Obama’s site), and I think it’s more-than-clear that Mike Bloomberg is not running (just ask him). Is it really that confusing to figure out whom you support? My sense for some time is that Obama lines up most with Fred’s views (progressive, open, different), and it befuddles me that we’re being taken through this drawn-out decision-making process.2. Just as Fred (in my view) obfuscated the “real news” when he complained about Obama’s web site’s streaming capabilities, I think trying to verify GOP “silent support” misses a more substantive weigh-in on Obama’s views and support (or not) for them. If Fred attended a smaller gathering, what was special about that? Were there POLICY (not political) views that turned Fred on? I wrote a way-too-big check to attend a 500-person event in NYC back in March, and my view is that I did not get “special access,” it was just a slightly-more-mellow stump speech with a Michelle appearance and free beer. I left the Washington Square Park event early because (i) Obama was 90 minutes-plus late and (ii) I wasn’t hearing anything “special” for showing up. I am still a strong supporter, I wish he’d “step it up” and sharpen his words even further, but I am FAR from defection.I just don’t get from Fred’s post above what the “rub” is with Obama. Will the degree of GOP support for Obama (in this blog’s “comments” section) really swing Fred’s position on whom to support? I just don’t see any substantive concerns/issues, just non-scientific polling that’s missing the point.Time Magazine (published this weekend) has an updated piece of the subject:

    1. fredwilson

      ChrisThere is no “slam dunk” candidate for me. If Bloomerg runs, then I am with him 100%.Unless that happens, this is going to be a hard choice for me.Fred

  29. jeremy

    I vote on two issues. Foreign policy and economics. If Obama can convince me that he sees radical Islam as an existential threat to Western civilization (and has a plan to DO something about it) and generally believes that the private sector does a better job of creating wealth than government (I live in DC area, so see inefficiency first hand), he’s got a (slim) chance. I do like his charisma and his attitude and he’s inspirational. I am just concerned that we don’t see eye to eye on my big two. And, even if we do, I’m concerned that he’d be swayed by the bulk of the Dem party, with which I usually disagree.My candidate is Rudy.IF he makes it through the primaries, he’s my guy.

  30. Brooke

    Fred -As always, you know how to pick a topic for your blog that are going to get people charged. Whether it be an iPhone slam or something political, it’s always exciting to see what you’re going to come up with next. Either way, it seems pretty clear that people are pretty excited(able) when it comes to the upcoming elections.Seems that even the politicians are fed up with the current status too ……Disclaimer – I do work for the group but thought that it would be worth mentioning the article given the thread.

  31. Stewart Alsop

    I’m pretty well known as a Republican (at least amongst the 13 readers of my blog) and Obama made me waver at first. But his bonehead comments about foreign policy have me think he should wait and get some real life experience before trying to run the world…

  32. Jay Jamison

    i am a republican. i don’t buy the notion of an ‘obama republican,’ and it reinforces a perception i have of obama being long on sound bites and short on substance. i would more likely vote for hillary than obama, based on what i have seen.the history is worth reflecting on. when reagan took over, the problems imho were far more substantial: interest rates over 15%, inflation out of control, iran hostage problem, cold war, etc. reagan’s message and image of optimism, coupled with fast resolution of iran, getting a budget passed etc. exuded both a message of positive image backed with effectiveness. couple with that the vacuum in a countervailing force in the democratic party at the time (carter or kennedy)–neither of them were really credible.i think obama is great in getting out a positive message–just like reagan. my problem though is that while the times are (imho not as) tough, i’m not sure obama’s got the chops or achievements under his belt. by my count, he’s proven himself a talented speaker, author, and buzz builder. what’s the key *achievement* that he can really hang his hat on though? given his lack of concrete achievements, i find his tone struck to be ‘above it all’ comes across to me as shallow and vapid. i’d buy in a great deal more if he came across more as deep and detailed on what he’d do and how he’d do it. (kinda like bill clinton, who could wonk out on you at any time…)more than anything right now, i want competence, effectiveness and fiscal restraint. i’ll pull a switch for whomever can deliver it. on that dimension, hillary takes obama hands down–she’s obviously ruthless, and i don’t agree with many of her positions. but she would put together and run an effective office.but i’m with you, i wish bloomberg would run–to me, he threads the needle perfectly. he both exudes the positive, pulled together image obama’s trying to blend, and he backs it up with achievements and managerial capabilities under his belt.

  33. patty cee

    looks like you were on to something!