Daniel W. Drezner

Can Obamacons make a positive argument for Obama?

Daniel Larison has an excellent post at Eunomia on the Obamacan phenomenon, of which I guess I’m a reluctant member.  His main point:  Pretty clearly, the Obamacon phenomenon is on the whole not really an endorsement of Obama or anything he proposes to do, which is why most of the endorsements coming from the right cannot ...

Daniel Larison has an excellent post at Eunomia on the Obamacan phenomenon, of which I guess I’m a reluctant member.  His main point: 

Pretty clearly, the Obamacon phenomenon is on the whole not really an endorsement of Obama or anything he proposes to do, which is why most of the endorsements coming from the right cannot withstand much scrutiny.  That’s the whole point: the Republican ticket is so unappealing to these people that they will vote for its defeat in full knowledge that there is little or nothing to say on behalf of the man they’re electing.  

He’s got a point — when I read the policy platforms of both candidates, I like more of McCain’s than Obama’s.  But recall what I said way back in January

[T]hings like pesonality and leadership style are relevant to voting decisions (and are tough to capture in suveys). A candidate’s policy positions are not the only thing that matter. The way in which the candidate will try to implement these policies matters too. I wouldn’t vote for a candidate who shared my precise policy positions but decided to implement them by constitutionally questionable methods, for example. Process matters just as much as substance.

And this is where I disagree with Larison.  The one positive trait that conservatives of all stripes have linked to Barack Obama is his first-rate temperament.  A more conservative way of saying this is that Obama understands and practices prudence.  This doesn’t mean that he’s timid — simplu put, he reflects before he acts.  Does this mean that I agree with everything Obama says and does?  Hardly.  I do, however, respect the way in which he arrives at his decisions.  I can’t say the same thing about John McCain’s decision-making process. 

 Twitter: @dandrezner

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