Tuesday, September 30, 2008

An Open Letter to Barack Obama from a Republican Supporter

Senator Obama, sir. If I may be so bold as to give you some of my thoughts. I believe this election will not be decided by Democratic or Republican loyalists. It will not even be decided by independents and centrists, because these groups mostly sided with John Kerry four years ago and Al Gore eight years ago, and they lost. This election will be decided by how many Republicans cross over and vote for you.

As a Republican for Obama, I've been involved with your campaign all year. I go to campaign offices, I speak and email with every level of Indiana campaign staffers, and I very publically promote my Republican for Obama status. I've held Republicans for Obama meetings, I write blogs and articles and letters to the editor. I've been on multiple local news shows, XM Radio, the New York Times, and on many blogs supporting your candidacy. Even though I'm such a strong supporter, I'm not 100% sure I'm truly included in your "big tent."

Your campaign has embraced the Republicans for Obama movement, and even created a section of barackobama.com dedicated to us. The page highlights several prominent Republicans who are supporting your candidacy, and there's even a little blog on there.

But that's it! Other than that bit of lip service, I have not seen you reaching out to Republicans, even those of us supporting you.

I was at your Terre Haute, Indiana, event last month, covering it for Huffington Post. A Republican asked if you intended to keep us in mind when you're president. Your answer started out fine, but you didn't answer the question. Your basic statement was the, "we are not Republicans or Democrats, we are all Americans" answer you've used before. However, you did not address the fact that a lot of us conservatives are putting our trust on the line here, believing you will not suddenly become a left wing nut.

When you chose Joe Biden as your running mate, you lost a lot of us. I've been a Republican for 27 years, and I've been very unhappy with Biden's liberalism. I was upset with your choice at first myself, but, based on my trust in your leadership, I researched Biden's voting record and looked at his character. I accept your choice now, but many Republicans who were supporting you do not. We need you to tell us how your selection wasn't a super-liberal move.

The polls are showing that possibly 9% of registered Republicans will vote for you in November. Being a resident of the most Republican county in Indiana, and having spoken with literally hundreds of people in this county alone, I believe the number will be more like 20%, giving you a massive victory. However, this will only happen if you reach out to us directly.

Let's be honest. While I'm a true "Obama supporter," most Republicans for Obama are actually "Republicans against McCain." We are all nervous, feeling like we're betraying our party, wondering if we're just enamored by your great speeches, hoping you're truly going to follow through with your centrist platform. But it would not take much, just a little gaffe here, a statement about guns or abortion or Nancy Pelosi there, to lose us by the millions.

So I have a simple request as a Republican for Obama, because I want you to win. Please address us directly. I'd like to interview you with the questions I've gathered from other Republicans for Obama, but I'd accept a speech directed to Republicans. It can be a major speech, unprecedented, like your race speech. Tell us how you'll pick your Supreme Court nominees, that you won't take our guns, how you truly feel about abortion, how you're strong on national security, how you intend to work "across the aisle," and how you'll return the balance of power after Bush's massive power grabs. We're out here, we're waiting, and telling us we're included in your campaign would change a close race to a major sweep similar to Ronald Reagan's second term election that brought in so many Democrats. Ignore us, though, and many Republicans for Obama will probably just stay home on November 4th.

8 comments:

jeannie said...

Is that from you Chuck? My husband and I were also republicans, or should I say we are still republicans like they were a long time ago. I do not find Barack much different than what I thought government officials should be when I was a child. Even republicans loved JFK and his inclusiveness…even if they didn’t love his programs. Barack is fiscally conservative compared to what we have had the last 8 years. Until the bail out, he had things paid for….now if it goes through, no one will have money…the difference is, Obama will pare down his expectations, McCain will keep funding things on credit.

What do you want. Perhaps my husband who REALLY was a REAL REPUBLICAN (I played guitar, sang folk songs, and wore long dresses when I was young (drug free)) he on the other hand wore hush puppies, cashmere sweaters and khaki pants. He has an MBA from Berkeley and likes Harden on the economy and sustainability….

What do you want to hear? I sent him your letter. He doesn’t do this stuff, he looks at what I send him. Why are you so morose? Get out there and fight with all your might. Even if Obama were not my dream candidate he sure the H…E.. double hockeystick mom is better than my senator from Arizona and his Barbie doll!
jeannie

jeannie said...

Is that from you Chuck? My husband and I were also republicans, or should I say we are still republicans like they were a long time ago. I do not find Barack much different than what I thought government officials should be when I was a child. Even republicans loved JFK and his inclusiveness…even if they didn’t love his programs. Barack is fiscally conservative compared to what we have had the last 8 years. Until the bail out, he had things paid for….now if it goes through, no one will have money…the difference is, Obama will pare down his expectations, McCain will keep funding things on credit.

What do you want. Perhaps my husband who REALLY was a REAL REPUBLICAN (I played guitar, sang folk songs, and wore long dresses when I was young (drug free)) he on the other hand wore hush puppies, cashmere sweaters and khaki pants. He has an MBA from Berkeley and likes Harden on the economy and sustainability….

What do you want to hear? I sent him your letter. He doesn’t do this stuff, he looks at what I send him. Why are you so morose? Get out there and fight with all your might. Even if Obama were not my dream candidate he sure the H…E.. double hockeystick mom is better than my senator from Arizona and his Barbie doll!
jeannie

Scott said...

It's a great question. I think right now, we're operating off an impression of Obama that he'll be less partisan as President. I liked the fact that in the current financial crisis, he recommended raising the FDIC insurance from 100k per account to 250k. As a business owner, the 100k limit has always been a pain. You can easily need to have more than that in the bank to make payroll and keep funds in reserve. I felt like that proposal (while admittedly very modest) was aimed squarely at Republicans.

Another area was off-shore drilling. Obama basically said, "I'm not sure it's a great idea, but if opening up off-shore drilling let's us get a more comprehensive energy plan done, then let's not let off-shore drilling be an obstacle." Good enough for me.

I have no illusions that he's really going to be right in the center. He's going to lean to the left, sometimes more than I would like, but I know there's going to be something in it for me. It's not going to be all-in liberal packages. And, whether your left or right, I think you can be a good president. Right-wing presidents are going to focus on certain problems that lefties have little interest in solving (because they refuse to believe that it's a real problem) Lefty presidents will focus on a different set of issues that us righties care less about.

The real question is, will the president - left or right - actually solve real problems and make the country better? I think Obama's got the stuff. Maybe in 4 years, the mess we're in will be behind us, and I can vote for a Republican who knows how to govern, but I unfortunately don't have that option this election.

Brian said...

"Tell us how you'll pick your Supreme Court nominees, that you won't take our guns, how you truly feel about abortion, how you're strong on national security, how you intend to work "across the aisle," and how you'll return the balance of power after Bush's massive power grabs."

Based on Obama's voting record if he told you the truth about how he feels on any of these items you'd run in horror from his candidacy.

I understand your more of a moderate Republican than I am, but Obama's answers would scare even a Rockefeller Republican.

I literally am almost in tears that someone as smart as you could be so deceived. And I say that with all due respect and not to be insulting, but it is really that upsetting to me.

Sincerely,
Brian Craig

Scott said...

This is going to sound odd, but voting records only mean so much. It's one thing to have a bill come up and say, "I guess I'm slightly more in favor of it than against it." Obama's not a conservative. Every republican voting for him knows that. They just want to make sure he's not going to go on a mission to attack everything they hold dear.

When you're president, things are different. It's not about a voting record, it's about what you make the centerpieces of your administration? As president, you're only going to have time to work on a few big things. I see no indication that Obama's going to make his administration all about taking away guns. It seems like healthcare, middle class tax cut, and education will be big. If you think those are all campaign lies, then it's worth looking at legislation that he actually sponsored, vs. just a thumbs up or down vote. You can find a list here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_bills_sponsored_by_Barack_Obama_in_the_United_States_Senate

If the list of sponsored legislation terrifies you, then Obama's probably not your man. Looks pretty moderate to me.

Chuck Lasker said...

It's hard to count voting record for a Democrat fighting against a corrupt Republican majority in the House and Senate plus a Republican President (except last 2 years). His whole effort has been to try to overcome Bush's cronyism - so it looks totally liberal. He couldn't push through any agenda of his own in that situation.

If you look at McCain's voting record, you'll see a huge discrepancy compared to what he's saying in his campaign.

It boils down to character and trust. I trust that Obama has the nation's best interests at heart, and that McCain is a corrupt politician in the pockets of the military industrial complex and large corporations - the exact same handlers who have handled Bush for 8 years. I promise you - if McCain wins, it will be 4 more years of destruction that will make the last 8 years look like Heaven. If you can see the last 8 years, and you vote for McCain, you're simply deluded.

Brian said...

"I trust that Obama has the nation's best interests at heart"

Based on what?

Chuck Lasker said...

Based on his history. He had a non-privileged upbringing, he earned his way through school, he turned down huge law income for community service for 3 years, he ran for Illinois office also at a low income. He only became wealthy based on his books, not on politics and connections. There is no reason not to trust him - no record to think otherwise. His speeches, his writing, his votes - all consistent over the years.

I've also met him, and saw him speak live 3 times (will again on Wednesday), have spoken with several people who knew him years ago and vouch for him, and my gut. That's as much as anyone can go on.

Alternatively, with McCain's last 4 months of campaign lies and smears, the lobbyists he says he will "fight" that work on his campaign, his complete sell out of his supposed positions, his choice of a glitter-star for VP to try to get female votes without regard to her danger to the country - we KNOW he is a liar, a corrupt politician in the pockets of the corrupt Washington influencers. And THAT's good enough for me, too.

What do you base your support of McCain on, Brian?