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Many 2008 Conservative Obama Backers, or ObamaCons, Will Stay True
The Daily Beast ^ | September 4, 2012 | John Avlon, Sr. Columnist, Newsweek & Daily Beast

Posted on 09/04/2012 9:03:23 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet

Mitt Romney has failed to win over many of the prominent Republicans and conservatives who publicly backed Barack Obama in 2008. Charles Fried, Douglas Kmiec, and others tell John Avlon why they’re sticking with the president.

Back in 2008, Barack Obama boasted the support of more than 40 prominent Republicans and conservatives, including Colin Powell, Bush press secretary Scott McClellan, and Reagan solicitor general Charles Fried. These “ObamaCons” were offered as a barometer of Obama’s crossover appeal, evidence of his ability to unite the nation. And surprisingly, Obama won 20 percent of conservatives that fall.

But four years later, how many of these ObamaCons regret their decision to back the inspiring but untested Obama? In the absence of someone as polarizing as Sarah Palin on the GOP ticket, are they planning on returning to their roots as Republicans with Mitt Romney? Or are they sticking with President Obama—and if so, why?

I reached out to the 2008 ObamaCons to get their take on this year’s post-Hope-and-Change race. The responses offered a portrait of a president retaining some, but far from all, of his center-right support, conclusions driven as much by disaffection from the continued rightward march of the Republican Party and the Romney campaign as any overriding love for Obama. The undecideds (or uninspireds) among this group almost outnumber the Obama stalwarts. Romney, strikingly, has failed to convince many of them to return to the fold, at least so far.

Fried, now a Harvard Law professor, was one of the most prominent defectors from the conservative cause to Obama. Four years later, he remains defiantly pro-Obama.

“Having abandoned John McCain—a decent and independent-minded man—when he picked Sarah Palin, I most certainly could not support Governor Romney, who has been pandering to the extreme wing of my party from the start of his campaign for the nomination,” Fried wrote in an email. “Napoleon said that the man who will say anything will do anything.”

Wick Allison, former publisher of National Review under William F. Buckley and current publisher of The American Conservative, also reaffirms his Obama decision, albeit in anguished lukewarm tones. “I will probably vote for Obama, unless I have a Gary Johnson–inspiration in the voting booth. (My vote in Texas is wasted anyway.),” Allison wrote in an email. “Romney is the opposite of conservative, with a plan that is fiscally reckless and a foreign policy that is unnecessarily militant. Obama has done about the best that could have been done, considering the united GOP opposition in Congress. My questions about Obamacare and my disappointment that we are not already out of Afghanistan are not enough to make me embrace a candidacy that even George W. Bush would have been repelled by—and, having had time to reflect on his own record, perhaps is.”

One of the most contentious ObamaCon arguments was offered by Douglas Kmiec, also a veteran of Reagan’s Office of Legal Counsel and a law professor at conservative Pepperdine University. Kmiec, who served as ambassador to Malta during the first two years of the Obama administration, tried to square his Obama endorsement with his devout Catholic beliefs and remains an unrepentant ObamaCon, even as Catholic leaders have proclaimed the president’s “war on religion.”

“I am strongly in the president’s camp, even as his opposition has been doing its darnedest to overstate a few concerns about the usual subjects,” Kmiec wrote in an email. “Having served in Europe for the president, I know the very positive effect he has had on international relationships. His patience, discernment, and intelligence are much admired. Domestically, the president was handed the worst possible economic hand, and largely, though of course not perfectly, he has met the economic challenge … This is supposed to be Mr. Romney’s area of strength, but so far, his ideas are either indecipherable or a rather lame trickle-down do-over.”

“Yes, he could have handled the HHS contraceptive issue in a more accommodating and sensitive way to the formal teaching of my church, and he was again given some very poor advice on the scope of religious exemption that should have been provided an institution like his honorary alma mater, Notre Dame,” Kmiec added. “Obviously, there is much to do in terms of tax reform and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, but because that is so that is another basis for a second term.”

These surprising statements of continued conservative support echoed those sent by another half-dozen ObamaCons. (Another half dozen have died in the intervening four years, making them definitively unavailable for comment.)

An almost equal number of respondents said they were still undecided and/or uninspired in the 2012 race. Chief among these was the son of conservative patron saint William F. Buckley, Christopher Buckley, whose declaration in The Daily Beast that he was supporting Obama led to his separation from the magazine his father founded.

“I’m not sure which lever I’m going to pull this time around, frankly,” Buckley said. “To paraphrase Mr. Obama the last time around, I think it’s time for change we can believe in. The only person on either side who seems actually to stand for something other than fatuous, bumper-sticker rhetoric, is Mr. Ryan. But I agree with David Brooks that Ryan fatally blew it by voting against the Bowles-Simpson commission. That said, the person who bears most responsibility for blowing the hard work of Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson—there’s a team I would vote for any day—must go to Obama, and I think history is going to hold him to account for that. In the end, he’s turned out to be just another pol.”

Bush press secretary Scott McClellan, perhaps mindful of the blowback he received from former colleagues in 2008, said in an email that he was not planning to make a public announcement of his support this time. Likewise, Susan Eisenhower, granddaughter of Ike, said she was waiting for the conventions to be completed before making a final decision. Talk radio host Michael Smerconish said he would announce his decision after Labor Day but offered that he had recently re-read his initial op-ed in favor of Obama and saw little to regret the sentiments four years later. Colin Powell’s office declined to comment on the election “at this time,” though the former secretary of state offered a gently critical assessment of Obama a year ago, expressing the disappointment of many independent voters.

Surprisingly, the only ObamaCon from 2008 I could find who is explicitly supporting Romney is former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld, who had endorsed his Bay State successor Romney in the ’08 primary and then switched his support to Obama in the general election. Weld was an early and enthusiastic supporter of the Romney campaign this time around, playing prominent surrogate roles in New Hampshire. “I supported Governor Romney in 2008 until he withdrew from the Republican contest,” Weld wrote in an email. “I’m supporting Governor Romney this time because I think his experience makes him best equipped to stimulate economic growth and job creation, which I see as our No. 1 issue.”

So what does the state of the ObamaCons in 2012 mean for Team Obama? While the president has experienced a significant erosion of cross-party support, it seems that a surprising number of prominent ObamaCons are still planning on pulling the lever for the president.

Their mindset reflects Obama’s overall edge with centrist swing voters, even if he is benefiting primarily from comparison to Romney and the rightward lurch of Republicans in Congress. But unquestionably enthusiasm has dimmed; uninspired indecision has replaced hope of change.

The resilience of the ObamaCons and Romney’s failure to win them over in a revived center-right Republican coalition indicates how much, for the centrist swing voters who ultimately will decide the next president, this race is still in play. Even in this hyperpartisan polarized era, the desire for a chief executive who can be a uniter, not a divider, continues, unfulfilled.


TOPICS: Campaign News; Issues; Parties
KEYWORDS: cinos; democrats; economy; obama; polls; rinos; romney; ryan
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Nothing about Peggy Noonan, Meghan McCain or Kathleen Parker?
1 posted on 09/04/2012 9:03:29 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

That’s only if one accepts the premise that the assholes are actually Republicans.


2 posted on 09/04/2012 9:05:51 PM PDT by Slump Tester (What if I'm pregnant Teddy? Errr-ahh -Calm down Mary Jo, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

If they ever supported 0 then I doubt they were ever conservatives.


3 posted on 09/04/2012 9:06:25 PM PDT by ABQHispConservative
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

If you vote for Obama twice you’re not conservative. Heck if you vote for him once you’re either not a conservative or very gullible.


4 posted on 09/04/2012 9:06:52 PM PDT by middlegeorgian
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Well, as far as I know.. there were NO Conservatives that backed Obama.. and the only Republicans, were moderate Dems anyway.... Even some of the Libs are crossing over to Repub now to get away from Obama; Haven’t heard of that going to other direction...


5 posted on 09/04/2012 9:07:31 PM PDT by Bikkuri (Hope for Conservative push in the next 2-4 years..........)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Sorry, the headline makes no sense.
No, actual conservative would support obama.


6 posted on 09/04/2012 9:08:50 PM PDT by svcw (If one living cell on another planet is life, why isn't it life in the womb?)
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To: Bikkuri

to = the (I am sure you all figured that out.. but didn’t want to look totally stupid ;))


7 posted on 09/04/2012 9:08:51 PM PDT by Bikkuri (Hope for Conservative push in the next 2-4 years..........)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
The only reason these folks might be considered conservative is in contrast to the hard left of most Obamabots.

I consider them anything but conservative.

8 posted on 09/04/2012 9:09:41 PM PDT by jdsteel (Give me freedom, not more government.)
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To: middlegeorgian

I am really past caring how these people will vote. The first vote for Obama told be all I need to know about them.


9 posted on 09/04/2012 9:09:54 PM PDT by happyhomemaker (Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Rom 12:12)
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To: Slump Tester; 2ndDivisionVet
That’s only if one accepts the premise that the assholes are actually Republicans.

Oh they can be Republicans, from the candy ass wing of the party.

What they can't be is conservatives.

10 posted on 09/04/2012 9:10:02 PM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I apparently need to brush up on my Photoshop skills Onoreder to respond to this one.


11 posted on 09/04/2012 9:10:54 PM PDT by sf4dubya (I rebelled against my parents by becoming a conservative. REJECT THEN STOP SOCIALISM THIS NOV!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I doubt they are Republicans. They’re just commie libs who are too embarrassed to admit it.


12 posted on 09/04/2012 9:10:57 PM PDT by FlingWingFlyer (Had enough of the freaks running the show yet?)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

There is no way any conservative would support Barack Obama. If they back BO, how can they be anything resembling ‘conservative’?


13 posted on 09/04/2012 9:11:08 PM PDT by GeronL (The Right to Life came before the Right to Pursue Happiness)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I always wait to see what Susan Eisenhower is going to do before I make any political decisions.


14 posted on 09/04/2012 9:13:46 PM PDT by Southside_Chicago_Republican (If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.)
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To: GeronL

Any so-called conservative who backs anyone but Romney, whether it be Virgil Goode, or that Libertarian guy, or woman, is backing Obama.

This is not the time to make a statement vote, or boo vote, as Obama calls it. This is the time to stand up and be counted as the anti-Obama voter for Romney Ryan.


15 posted on 09/04/2012 9:15:34 PM PDT by Eva
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To: middlegeorgian

“If you vote for Obama twice you’re not conservative. Heck if you vote for him once you’re either not a conservative or very gullible.”

IMO, if you can stand to watch him, or hear his voice, for more than 30 seconds than you are not a conservative!


16 posted on 09/04/2012 9:16:56 PM PDT by Batman11 (We came for the chicken sandwiches and a Sweet Tea Party broke out!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

The one thing I truly don’t understand about American politics is the lack of an exclusion rule in the republican party.

There should be a great zot.


17 posted on 09/04/2012 9:17:52 PM PDT by Hardraade (http://junipersec.wordpress.com (I will fear no muslim))
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To: FlingWingFlyer

Kmiec is for national healthcare, a “family wage” and opposes war. All that ‘social justice’ nonsense.

He was never a conservative.


18 posted on 09/04/2012 9:18:42 PM PDT by GeronL (The Right to Life came before the Right to Pursue Happiness)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Oh boy, Romney can't count on the "conservative Harvard Law professor, who previously voted for the most leftwing President in US history" vote!

That's so shocking, somebody should write an article about it.

Oh, and let me guess, Colin Powell will once again vote based on the color of the candidate's skin, rather than the content of their character. He must be proud of himself.

19 posted on 09/04/2012 9:20:28 PM PDT by dead (I've got my eye out for Mullah Omar.)
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To: Batman11

Charlies Fried was also for nationalized healthcare and does notn think the government forcing you to buy something is against the Constitution.

....

not a conservative


20 posted on 09/04/2012 9:21:30 PM PDT by GeronL (The Right to Life came before the Right to Pursue Happiness)
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To: Eva
I wont vote for Romney or Obama. I wont vote for a liberal. This idea of, come on conservatives trust us one more time, is crazy. If conservatives want to elect conservatives they have to stop voting for liberals..its not rocket science.
21 posted on 09/04/2012 9:21:58 PM PDT by montanajoe (Blame Flame Shame or Beg I won't vote for R/R)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Fie and foo on these twits. Especially Charles Fried.


22 posted on 09/04/2012 9:22:26 PM PDT by DemforBush
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To: DemforBush

BTW, this story reminds me of right before the election in 2008. There were a couple of FReepers (for the life of me, I cannot remember their handles) who also posted over at DU. I remember one of them saying how he was “proudly” voting for Obama this time over there (I was snooping around).

Assuming the poster wasn’t a DU troll all along, one wonders if he’s still proud of Obama. Could be, as it’s awfully hard to fix stupid.


23 posted on 09/04/2012 9:25:12 PM PDT by DemforBush
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Yup, I waiting for Megaton to tell me who to support.


24 posted on 09/04/2012 9:25:47 PM PDT by RightGeek (FUBO and the donkey you rode in on)
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To: Eva

People should vote for the person they feed best represents their views. If Romney cannot convince conservatives to vote for him, then only Romney is to blame.


25 posted on 09/04/2012 9:30:35 PM PDT by GeronL (The Right to Life came before the Right to Pursue Happiness)
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To: RightGeek

Looks like daddi bought her a golden ticket to the chocolate factory.


26 posted on 09/04/2012 9:31:30 PM PDT by RegulatorCountry
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
“Yes, he could have handled the HHS contraceptive issue in a more accommodating and sensitive way to the formal teaching of my church, and he was again given some very poor advice on the scope of religious exemption that should have been provided an institution like his honorary alma mater, Notre Dame,” Kmiec added.

Kmiec shows he's STILL a useful idiot. Obama didn't make a mistake and follow someone else's 'poor advice' regarding the HHS mandate. It was Obama's intention all along to try to limit religious liberty, and Obamacare was a useful tool for that end.

27 posted on 09/04/2012 9:33:34 PM PDT by SuziQ
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To: GeronL

Doug is neither Catholic not conservative


28 posted on 09/04/2012 9:33:48 PM PDT by scooby321 (AMS)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Conservatives....my dog’s butt.


29 posted on 09/04/2012 9:36:06 PM PDT by Osage Orange ( Liberalism, ideas so good they have to be mandatory.)
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To: scooby321

bump


30 posted on 09/04/2012 9:37:21 PM PDT by GeronL (The Right to Life came before the Right to Pursue Happiness)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

First of all, no true conservative is going to vote for Obama, so call these nuts Obamapubs, and ask them what they think Obama will do for this nation in the next four years, or more specifically, what conservative thing they think Obama will do. These people know where they belong politically and socially, and it isn’t with conservatives. It is one thing to be duped by Obama the first time, but after watching him for more than three and a half years, after watching the media betray the American public, it is pure foolishness to vote for Obama again. With the exception of Colon Powell, we should look for another reason why these people have split with the Republican Party to support a dangerous megalomaniac. Could it be the Defense of Marriage Act, homosexuality, abortion, or just a cultured ignorance about rural America and Christian values? For the sake of immorality, they would destroy this nation.


31 posted on 09/04/2012 9:41:15 PM PDT by pallis
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
nothing about freeper obamists?....

as far as Sarah Palin, she was the only bright star in that last election, for her wit, her directness, her passion, her life story, her common sense, and there is no conservative who ever ever would support the dicator obama ever, and if they have to keep telling us that these obamists are conservative, then they are NOT....

32 posted on 09/04/2012 9:42:05 PM PDT by cherry
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Maybe these fools know that they’ve been suckered, but they just don’t want to admit it.


33 posted on 09/04/2012 9:50:56 PM PDT by Jacob Kell
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Methinks the Obamacons may have been cons, but not conservatives...


34 posted on 09/04/2012 10:04:35 PM PDT by Unam Sanctam
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To: happyhomemaker

I’ll second that, Happy!


35 posted on 09/04/2012 10:06:49 PM PDT by TheWriterTX (Riding the Long-Wave Economic Contraction, Baby!)
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None of the people in the srticle were ever conservatives they were RINO’s big government Republicans.

Hoe the door didn’t hit them in the butt on the way out.


36 posted on 09/04/2012 10:15:55 PM PDT by Leto
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To: Unam Sanctam

Exactly. It’s like “Anti-Communists for Mao Tse-Tung!”


37 posted on 09/04/2012 10:31:33 PM PDT by ReformationFan
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

If you are actually conservative and voted for Obama you most likely have a severe mental defect which prevents rational decisions. Such an individual should be committed for their own safety.


38 posted on 09/04/2012 10:49:12 PM PDT by JimSEA
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To: ABQHispConservative

What’s not to love about the Obama Debt? Who needs a budget when you have hope and change?

Why the Republicans don’t simply refer to it as the “Obama Debt,” I have no clue. Hang that hat where it belongs—squarely on the head of our dictator in chief.


39 posted on 09/04/2012 11:21:19 PM PDT by CaspersGh0sts
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

You pull the lever for this left-wing a-hole, there is NO way you can ever refer to yourself again as remotely conservative. These are just attention-whore morons.


40 posted on 09/04/2012 11:53:08 PM PDT by SoDak (Obama..change you can step in.)
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To: ABQHispConservative

“If they ever supported 0 then I doubt they were ever conservatives.”

This.


41 posted on 09/05/2012 1:20:23 AM PDT by ModelBreaker
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To: RegulatorCountry
"Looks like daddi bought her a golden ticket to the chocolate factory."

Yeah, I am soooo, stealing that line...!

42 posted on 09/05/2012 1:31:21 AM PDT by Mad Dawgg (If you're going to deny my 1st Amendment rights then I must proceed to the 2nd one...)
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To: Slump Tester

On October 24, 2008, despite his previous support for the presidential aspirations of Senator John McCain, Fried announced that he had voted for Senator Barack Obama for President by absentee ballot. Fried cited Senator McCain’s selection of Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate as the principal reason for his decision to vote for Senator Obama. As president of the Harvard Law Review in 1990, Obama had published an article Fried wrote criticizing the effects of race-based affirmative action.

In February 2011, Fried testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in support of President Obama’s health care reform law.


43 posted on 09/05/2012 1:33:03 AM PDT by kcvl
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To: Slump Tester

Although he initially supported Republican Mitt Romney, Kmiec “caused a stir” when he endorsed Democrat Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election in a piece on Slate. As he explained in an interview with the Chicago Tribune, “One of the things I kept discovering...was that Obama was sounding more Catholic than most Catholics I know.” The issues that drew Kmiec’s attention were wages, health care, and the cost of the Iraq War.

On July 2, 2009, President Obama nominated Kmiec as Ambassador to Malta.


44 posted on 09/05/2012 1:37:15 AM PDT by kcvl
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

The laughable premise that these blobs are “conservatives” kills their whole argument. Colin Powell? Please.
What, exactly, has been “conservative” about 0bama that attracts them?
Would it be the divisiveness?
How about 0bamacare?
The slow-burn destruction of our Armed Forces through the cultural infestation of political correctness?
Cap and Trade?
The $850 billion stimulus?
The abysmal economy?
The absence of U.S. leadership during “Arab Spring?”
Obama`s submissive bowing to foreign kings?
The 33 unvetted and unaccountable czars?
0bama`s stance on taxpayer-funded abortion?
The fact large swaths of formerly American territory are now under Mexican drug cartel control on our southern “border?”

They have no standing to call themselves “conservatives.” No self-respecting conservative.. or American, for that matter... would even remotely consider the idea of voting for 0bama.


45 posted on 09/05/2012 1:39:07 AM PDT by ScottinVA (If Obama is reelected, America will deserve every mockery that follows.)
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To: ABQHispConservative

John Phillips Avlon (born 1973) is an American journalist and political commentator who is currently a senior columnist for Newsweek and the Daily Beast as well as a CNN contributor. He is also the author of Independent Nation: How Centrists Can Change American Politics and Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America

Avlon wrote the Newsweek cover-story published on February 28, 2011, “A 21st Century Statesman,” after traveling to South Sudan with the actor George Clooney.


46 posted on 09/05/2012 1:42:18 AM PDT by kcvl
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To: kcvl
On July 2, 2009, President 0bama nominated Kmiec as ambassador to Malta.

Ah.. the 30 pieces of silver... I wonder what other payouts were granted as rewards.

47 posted on 09/05/2012 1:53:20 AM PDT by ScottinVA (If Obama is reelected, America will deserve every mockery that follows.)
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To: Slump Tester
That’s only if one accepts the premise that the assholes are actually Republicans.

They may be Rinos, but they sure as heck aren't conservatives!

48 posted on 09/05/2012 3:16:43 AM PDT by fellowpatriot
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
An ObamaCon must be the most confused person on the planet.
49 posted on 09/05/2012 4:24:11 AM PDT by Mister Da (The mark of a wise man is not what he knows, but what he knows he doesn't know!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Many 2008 Conservative RINO Obama Backers, or ObamaCons, Will Stay True

There fixed the B.S.

50 posted on 09/05/2012 4:27:29 AM PDT by Robert DeLong (u)
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