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"Barack, I Am Your Father…"

Rod says of Obama:

A conservative’s dilemma: Is the pleasure one takes in watching the vaderish Clintons vanquished by Barack Skywalker worth the increasing possibility that not only will Obama win this fall, but he will transform the political landscape such that the GOP turns into what the Tories were under the Blair government?

There is a solution to this dilemma, which seems to be confronting more and more people, and it is simply this: stop cheering on Obama.  I drank a toast to him on caucus night, because it was satisfying to see those people humbled, but if you believe (I think incorrectly) that Obama represents a dire threat to your views and interests, stop giving him a pass.  Of course, if the Clintons are “vaderish,” that means that Bill Clinton fills the role of Obama’s father, which is a disturbing thought. 

Suppose that Obama admirers on the right are correct that he could be for the Democrats what Reagan was for Republicans.  Leave aside that only two post-war Democratic nominees have ever won over 50% of the vote in a national election (and Carter only barely achieved this under pretty unusual circumstances), and that a “liberal Reagan” would need to win by a margin of approximately nine points to get close to replicating the ’80 result. (That requires Obama to repeat Clinton’s ’96 re-election result and the Republicans will have to make a similarly, well, doleful effort.)  Forget for a moment that Obama has less experience in elective office than any major contender for the Presidency in at least a century and a half, or that his ADA is 95.  If that is right, and they can foresee the danger to their ideas and politics, why take the chance?  In a strange way, Republicans and conservatives have become so dead-set in their opposition to the Clintons that they would, by their own admission, embrace political and electoral doom rather than give them another chance at power.   

They take this view despite the fact that the Clinton administration was, relative to the current horror-show, more conservative in most of its effects and ultimately worked to the advantage of the GOP (an advantage they have shamelessly squandered).  The right reason to cheer on Obama is if you think he is the weaker of the two and the one likely to deliver the Democrats to unexpected defeat, while giving the GOP an entirely undeserved victory.  I am also not enthusiastic about going this route, since a failure to hold the GOP accountable in a presidential election will mean that they will ignore the ’06 elections as a fluke and will change little or nothing from the failed policies of the current administration.  If the Democrats nominate Obama, they let the GOP leadership off the hook.  Besides, what better way to drive home the error of their ways than to make it clear that the wages of Bushism are Bill and Hillary Clinton returned to power?   

What still puzzles me about the Obama-fear is how it can be driven by Obama’s delivery of speeches that are mostly about nothing.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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