Jan C. Ting
(Jan C. Ting is a Temple University law professor and former Republican U.S. Senate candidate)
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell and conservative talk-show host Michael Smerconish are hardly alone among Republicans supporting Barack Obama.
A surprising number of recognizable Republicans are reportedly supporting the Democratic nominee:
Julie Nixon Eisenhower,
Rep. Wayne Gilchrest of Maryland,
former Rep. Jim Leach of Iowa,
former Sen. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island,
Bush fund-raiser Rita Hauser,
former National Review publisher Wick Allison,
former National Review columnist Christopher Buckley (son of William F.), and
former Reagan-Bush lawyer and pro-life legal scholar Doug Kmiec.
Even Jenna Bush, President Bush's daughter, told Larry King she's undecided.
According to a recent Pew Research Center poll, Obama has less support among Democrats and independents than John Kerry had four years ago. But Kerry trailed Bush by two points at this point in the 2004 campaign.
Obama leads John McCain by eight points today partly because of his significantly higher support among Republicans.
There are many reasons so many Republicans support Obama. For one thing, he proves that Republicans have been right all along:
- America is getting better and better, not worse and worse. And racism is becoming less of a problem, not more of a problem. Obama is the proof.
- Republicans also like Obama's personal history. Raised by a single mother and his grandparents, he nonetheless became successful through hard work and a good education. Republicans respect that story. It's a Republican story.
- Republicans who believe in traditional marriage appreciate that, of the two presidential candidates, Obama is the one still married to his first wife.
- Republicans are reassured by Obama's willingness to compromise on renewing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, continuing efforts to protect America from terrorism.
- Republicans also appreciate his commonsense embrace of faith-based organizations as allies in the effort to transform America.
- Republicans approve of Obama's analysis of recent Supreme Court opinions, supporting both the Second Amendment and the states' right to impose the death penalty for child rape.
- While the ideologues of the left lament that Obama does not take knee-jerk leftist positions, Republicans appreciate that Obama is not an ideologue. He uses his intelligence and education to think through the issues one at a time and seek workable compromises across partisan divides.
- Republicans are further reassured by the story of Obama's election as the first African American president of the Harvard Law Review. On an ideologically factionalized editorial board, Obama emerged as the victor. The conservative minority decided that, though he was not one of them, he would give them a fair shake. By all accounts, Obama went on to lead the politically divided board through an unusually challenging year.
- Like the majority of the American people, increasing numbers of Republicans regard the invasion of Iraq as a disaster. They also doubt that even more deregulation and privatization will solve our economic problems.
- Democratic control of Congress has proven inadequate to reverse the policies of a Republican president determined to "stay the course" on both Iraq and the economy. Only a president committed to change can do so.
"Reagan Democrats" were once the swing voters who decided presidential elections. In 2008, it may be "Obama Republicans."