Michael Brendan Dougherty looks in on the Obamacons — conservatives who voted for Obama in 2008. Will they repeat their vote in 2012? Excerpt:

 If an Obamacon’s primary concerns are fiscal and economic (Gutzman, McArdle), they are likely to support Romney with sighs and reservations. If their concerns are primarily about foreign policy (McConnell, Bacevich), they are more likely to vote for Obama, with some regret and trepidation.

This makes perfect sense to me. To the extent that I care about economics and foreign policy, I would be likely to vote Obama. It’s not because I particularly favor Obama’s policies, but he is less bad than Romney would be, in my view.

But what if your primary concerns are, like mine, social? That is, what if you are most concerned with the issue of religious freedom, given Obama’s record on same-sex marriage and the healthcare mandate? That really complicates things for social conservatives. I would far prefer a conservative Republican and an observant Mormon making the policies for the federal government, and nominating Supreme Court justices, than a functionally secular liberal Democrat. (I say “functionally secular” not as a judgment on Obama’s personal piety, about which I know little, but because I don’t see how his policies are any different from those supported by a secular liberal.)

We are not allowed to endorse political candidates at TAC, so don’t look for that from me, and don’t read anything I say as an endorsement of any candidate, ever.

More from MBD’s piece:

Unbidden, Bartlett, Bacevich, and McConnell all compare themselves and other dissident conservatives to the core group that launched National Review or the first generation of neoconservatives—a coterie on the edge of politics that has the potential to grow at the expense of an intellectually decrepit establishment. The difference, they acknowledge, is that they lack a leader.

“If you consider the career of someone like William F. Buckley, who founded National Review in 1955, when the word ‘conservative’ commanded no respect whatsoever, he seemed to be undertaking a fairly quixotic campaign,” says Bacevich. “It took him, what, 25 years before it yielded significant fruits? … If we take seriously the dictum that ideas have consequences, then we have to be patient.”

“The problem with Burkean conservatives is there are not enough of us and not enough rich ones. There’s a paucity of structures and institutions, but there could be more,” offers McConnell.

True enough. But they do have a magazine — The American Conservative. I hope you will subscribe. If you’re a conservative fed up with the narrowness of thought on our side, we could use your financial help in building up this institution. National Review didn’t become National Review overnight, or on its own. Bill Buckley didn’t build it all by himself. He needed the help of interested subscribers and donors. So do we. We want you and we need you to be part of our mission.