Obama and Conservatives

The race for President has had lots of twists and turns in the last several weeks.  Right now I don't feel the angst I did before when McCain got a boost from using his convention to mock Obama rather than present compelling ideas.  It's also good news that Palin is being uncovered as a quality woman who is a strong leader and role model but who has no business being VP or President.  McCain could have chosen hundreds of other conservative leaders--women or men--who would have been much more qualified to lead. 

Here are a few points on why I think conservatives should definitely consider supporting Obama:

1. In addition to social values, conservatives should honor and uphold education and sophisticated thinking.  If you look at the great Presidents of the past--conservative and liberal-leaning alike--they were brilliant men.  John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt and Lincoln were all remarkably learned, thoughtful guys.  Where did this anti-intellectual strain come from that has basically dumbed down conservatism?  To some degree from Reagan.  But conservatives today should look to past conservatives in the mold of John Adams or his son John Quincy Adams and again absolutely insist on supporting candidates who are smart, well-educated and well-informed.

Here are two quotes from the John Adams Biography:

"I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy.  My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study paintings, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain."

To his son John Quincy he said, "A taste for literature and a turn for business never fails to make a great man."

2. Conservatives should recognize the importance of having a global world view, not just one that is completely Amero-centric.  I don't mean that we shouldn't continue to put America's interests first (that's what the leaders of all countries must do).  Rather that we need to understand and experience the world to function well in it.  Again, conservatives who dismiss Obama as un-American need to get acquainted with history.  Three of our greatest Presidents spent decades living abroad and it was crucial preparation for them to serve well: Jefferson (in France) John Adams (in England and France) and John Quincy (in Russia and elsewhere).  These guys were incredibly well-informed and were remarkable diplomats.  In today's world, we only need more of that given how interconnected we all are.  Obama has lived abroad several years growing up and that's only an asset.  It's sad and kind of funny that it's  viewed as "scary" by so many.

3. On conservative values issues, it's not so clear cut that McCain is the best choice.  I understand that there are some conservatives who would never vote for a candidate who's not pro-life (and vice-versa with liberals and non-pro-choice candidates).  Palin was selected mainly to operate as a "wedge" on these social issues and bring social conservatives into McCain's camp.  On other "values" issues, though, I find Obama to be very honorable and refreshing.  In fact, I think it's worth pointing out that Obama's been committed to his wife, appears to be a great father and has genuine Christian concern for the wellbeing of the weakest in our society.  I also think McCain is a good guy, but "values voters" should note that he divorced his first wife and then married an heiress worth $100M.  That's not so impressive.

Allright I'll stop there.  Longer than I planned.  Ciao.

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ImpactErick Widman