Kicking off the general election campaign in Raleigh, Barack Obama was introduced by Pamella Cash-Roper of Pittsboro, NC, who described herself as a lifelong Republican. A 54-year-old licensed nurse, she and her husband are now unemployed after both had heart surgery and have been unable to work. As Rob Christensen of the N&O reports:
Cash-Roper said she was forced to cash out her 401(k) plan, forgo some medicines and be careful about the automobile trips she has to make.
She had turned to the government for help, “but help was nowhere to be seen,” she's quoted in The New York Times. "I am a lifelong Republican who believes in the creed that if you work hard, you can make ends meet," Cash-Roper said. "[But] we found ourselves buried in medical expenses to the point where we almost filed bankruptcy." (source) She said she supported Mr. Obama because he had been working for “hard-working Americans like us for more than two decades.”
Bob Geary of the NC Independent Interviewed her after the speech and adds some details to her powerful story.
Cash-Roper said her 58-year-old husband, Keith Roper, who was an electrical technician at WakeMed, needed heart surgery in 2000 and couldn't work thereafter. He lost his job and their company-paid health benefits; and though federal law guaranteed him extended health insurance for 18 months, they couldn't afford the $600 a month insurance payments on top of the $1,800 a month for his prescriptions.
Meanwhile, Cash-Roper said, they were dropped by their disability insurance carrier, a decision they continue to dispute, so far, unsuccessfully. So they sold their house, moved to a smaller one and went without health insurance for two years until he became eligible, as a Social Security disability recipient, for Medicare.
A nurse, Cash-Roper continued to work as a home-health aide until 2005 when she, too, needed bypass surgery and also turned to disability payments.
Today, she said, the two live on combined disability payments of $1,164 a month. Each takes about 15 kinds of medicine paid for by a state prescription-subsidy plan enacted during the Easley administration and paid for from tobacco-settlement funds funneled through the Health & Wellness Trust Fund.
It cuts their costs to between $2 and $4 a month for each prescription, she said. "If that had not been implemented," she said, "we'd probably both be dead."
Obama Has More Appeal to Republicans Than McCain Does to Democrats
Fox News/Washington Times/Rasmussen polls tend to slant Republican, but their poll taken just days after Obama clinched the nomination (before Hillary offered her stellar endorsement of Obama), does not portend well for the GOP. "Asked whether they will vote for the Democratic nominee, 83 percent of Democrats said they will "definitely" or "probably" vote for Mr. Obama, and only 6 percent said they will probably or definitely vote for the Arizona senator." In contrast, among Republicans, 75 percent "said they will definitely or probably vote for Mr. McCain, but 15 percent said they would definitely or probably vote for Mr. Obama." (Hat tip to AndrewSullivan.com)
Dorothy King, a conservative and an archaeologist, has compiled a list
of "Obamacans" -- prominent Republicans who support Obama, with links
to their provocative essays. She calls Andrew Sullivan "the crown
prince of the movement." His Atlantic Monthly articles and daily blog are an enthusiastic mainstay of Obamacans.
In essence, the conservatives who support Obama think the invasion and occupation of Iraq was by no means a conservative action, and it's time for the U.S. to leave. Libertarian conservatives would like to see a rollback of the Patriot Act, and figure Obama will be more protective of the civil liberties of citizens than McCain will be. Some conservatives think Obama will phase out affirmative action based on race (he said his two daughters didn't need it), and that he might support vouchers for private schools in inner city neighborhoods, and that his election will mean the end of identity politics.
Some conservatives also dislike the huge growth in the size of the federal government over the last eight years, and think Obama could certainly be no worse than Bush in that regard. They don't like McCain's positions on global warming (he supports the Lieberman-Warner "cap and trade" bill to limit carbon emissions), campaign finance reform (he authored the bill on regulation), immigration (he favors a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants), or his waffling on domestic oil drilling, and they don't think he'll do anything to ban same-sex marriages. Since McCain has "sold out" on so many conservative issues, this thinking goes, why not let the liberals have the government for four years to give real conservatives a chance to regroup and recoup?
Doug Kmeic, a former constitutional legal counsel to two Republican presidents, endorsed Obama, pointing out that Obama's position on abortion emphasizes personal responsibility, "rather than legal bickering over potential Supreme Court nominations." In Kmeic's judgment, Obama's position "best moves this issue forward." Kmeic was denied communion at a Catholic church because of his support of Obama. He admits that a good part of his enchantment with Obama has to do with his disenchantment with the Republican Party:
Taking a leave of absence from my GOP home was not my first choice. As Ronald Reagan said, he didn't leave the Democratic Party; it left him. I feel the GOP left me...
In too many ways, the present administration was the most fiscally irresponsible of our lifetime, prayed aloud but ignored the teachings of faith to seek peace and pursue war only when warranted and, in so doing, jeopardized the well-being of every family in America.
Among prominent Republicans for Obama are Susan Eisenhower, President Dwight Eisenhower's granddaughter, and Julie Nixon Eisenhower, daughter of Richard Nixon, who quietly contributed the maximum $2000 to Obama.
The only prominent Democrat for McCain at this stage that I'm aware of is Joe Lieberman.
New York Times columnist Frank Rich points out that both the economic adviser to Newt Gingrich's Contract With America, Lawrence Hunter, and the neocon historian Francis Fukuyama, are supporting Obama. He writes:
The Hill reported that at least 14 Republican members of Congress have refused to endorse or publicly support McCain. Congressional Quarterly found that of the 62,800 donors who maxed out to Mr. Bush's campaign in 2004, only about 5,000 (some 8 percent) have contributed to his putative successor.
John Martin, a Navy reservist who served time in Iraq and Afghanistan, is founder of the website Republicans for Obama. Here are the issues this group focuses on, suggesting that Obama offers better solutions than John McCain.
Bruce Bartlett, author of “Imposter: How Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy,” has written an article about Obama’s conservative credentials. The article quotes Edmund Burke’s definition of conservatism: “In his view of history, in his respect for tradition, in his skepticism that the world can be changed any way but very, very slowly, Obama is deeply conservative.”