Four years later, some ‘Obamacons’ disenchanted with Obama

Four years may have left some disillusioned and unsure, but several Obamacons remain committed — to varying degrees — in their support for the president.

“I’ll probably vote for him again,” said Francis Fukuyama, an economist and historian who is closely tied to the neoconservative movement, though he has moved away in recent years.

“I just think the Republican Party has drifted so far to the right that I just find most of the positions they’ve taken on a lot of things too extreme. So I just, you know, don’t think it’s the old party,” he said. “I mean I’ve had disappointments with Obama in a lot of ways as well, but between the two, I prefer him.”

Charles Fried, who served as U.S. solicitor general under Reagan, said that this year, “it’s very likely to be Obama again” that gets his vote, and said that decision had as much to do with Obama as it did his opponent.

Asked why he planned to vote for Obama, he replied, “Because the Republican nominee has shown himself to be a man of bad character.”

“He’s a man who is willing to say anything. And as Napoleon said, the man who is willing to say anything will do anything,” Fried said.

John Hutson, a retired Navy rear admiral and judge advocate general, and a lifelong Republican, switched parties for the first time to vote for Obama in 2008, and said he, too, is likely to vote for the president once again.

“Unless there is a phenomenal sea change that I can’t begin to anticipate, I will eagerly vote for [the president] again,” Hutson emailed. “He hasn’t done everything I wanted him to do; in retrospect I think he probably should have been tougher with Congress. Every one time he conceded something as a show of good will and compromise, that became the new starting point for negotiations. He should have let the tea party and House GOP hoist themselves on their own petard.”

“That said, I think he has done a remarkable job in the face of history-setting adversity. … We live in difficult and perilous times, but I can sleep well knowing the president is at the helm driving the ship of state,” Hutson added.

Jim Whitaker, the Republican former Mayor of Fairbanks North Star Borough, Alaska, said unequivocally that he planned to vote for Obama.

“I think he’s done the best he can. I think he has hit a very difficult period of time in the political landscape, and worked his way through it on the domestic side as best he could. I think he’s done a good job with regard to foreign affairs, and so, on balance, I think he has done the best that could be expected, all things considered. And I trust him. And I do not trust his opponent,” Whitaker said in a phone interview.

“I trust him because he has attempted to keep the commitments that he made, and I think he begins his consideration on issues from a perspective that is more center based, whereas Gov. Romney is very difficult to understand where he begins his consideration, and therefore very difficult to determine what his conclusions will be,” Whitaker explained.

Whitaker said he remains a “right of center” registered Republican.

Lou Thieblemont, the Republican former Mayor of Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, will also vote for Obama this year, according to his wife, Lynn Thieblemont.

“He’s not here right now, but I can tell you that he’s a very avid supporter of Obama still,” she told TheDC when reached by phone.

“I think there’s no hesitation there,” she said later. “He thinks Obama is doing a great job, and he’s horrified at the thought of Mitt Romney winning.”

Douglas Kmiec, who served as deputy assistant attorney general and assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel under Reagan, told TheDC in an extensive phone interview that he still stands firmly behind Obama, who appointed him U.S. ambassador to Malta.

“I’m unquestionably going to vote for him again because his work is unfinished, and his promise is great, and the need is even greater,” Kmiec said.

“He has made a few mistakes there. … But on balance, the things that motivated me to support him in the first place is decency; his discernment and judgment and intelligence; his concern for the poor; his concern for the average family — the family that’s trying to keep a house from foreclosure, the family that’s trying to live on a family wage; concern about the physical environment and the serious challenges that exist there because of our extensive use of fuels that create greenhouse gases and so forth that are ruining the atmosphere; and just the fact that he still embodies in so much of what he says and hopes to do and has started to do, the social justice mission of the Catholic Church, which I am of course a part of and work for constantly.”

Kmiec endorsed Romney in the Republican primary in 2008, but when he lost to Sen. John McCain, Kmiec endorsed Obama. Now, he said, he simply felt Obama was the better man for the job. Romney sees “only the most narrow conservative vision of how life needs to be,” Kmiec said, suggesting he still adhered to an outdated form of conservatism that was no longer appropriate for modern times. Obama, he said, was more willing to look for “common ground” and work in a bipartisan manner.

Andrew Sullivan, a blogger for The Daily Beast, still considers himself a conservative, but supports Obama in 2012 as he did in 2008. In a post on Monday, Sullivan once again made ““The Conservative Case for Obama,” in which he argues that Obama is actually the more conservative candidate.

“My post yesterday says it all,” he emailed TheDC. “The only nonpartisan non fanatical conservatives I know of are for Obama. No other option makes sense to me.”

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