June 19th, 2008
12:35 PM ET
7 years ago

Roberts: The Obamacons

CNN

Watch John Roberts discuss Sen. Obama's historic candidacy with Armstrong Williams.

NEW YORK (CNN) - Conservative talk radio host Armstrong Williams has never voted for a Democratic presidential candidate. In fact, he says he has never even thought about the opposition. But this year – as Williams told me on today’s American Morning - things might be different. At the very least, he is thinking about the opposition. A lot. “You cannot help but look at and realize,” he told me, “that if Senator Obama wins, it’ll be the first time that someone would occupy the White House other than white men of America.”

For many Americans, that’s a heady thought – one that could be transformational in so many ways. Yet at the same time, Williams insists, Obama’s race is not a factor in his seesawing political emotions. “There’s no way I could vote for a candidate because of his race”, Williams said, “because it would contradict everything I’ve ever written and said in the past about racial politics. But, I’m open”.

So can we believe that race isn’t a factor in this rock-ribbed Republican’s potential conversion, particularly since Williams says about Obama’s policies “there’s not much I can embrace now”? Let’s consider former Republican Congressman J.C. Watts’ thoughts on the matter. Watts is one of a number of “Obamacons” – conservatives, including many African-Americans, who are giving the Senator a good, hard look. Obamacons believe he may be the best-equipped to take on poverty and urban policy, issues that are as important to them as low taxes and constructionist judges. Williams told me today “It would be foolish of me to say you cannot look at his candidacy and realize there’s something here that not only America but the world is ecstatic about.”

Obamacons believe he may be good for what ails the nation and the world.

As enticing as it might seem, the Obama medicine would be tough for Republicans to swallow. Pundits joke that the Senator’s policies make Ted Kennedy look like a conservative. Could they really set aside his views on taxes and abortion? Could they ignore the type of judges he would appoint to the Supreme Court? At this point, Williams isn’t sure. He hopes Obama might make enough progress on issues like capital gains and partial birth abortion to make him comfortable, but so far, there’s no suggestion of that. But William’s 82 year-old mother is committed. “She’s determined, and she’s voting for him,” he told me. “She never thought she would live to see the day that she would see the progress of America where we could show people that we’ve moved beyond this silly issue of race.” And for Obamacons, that may be the deciding factor.

soundoff (166 Responses)
  1. Beka

    My mom is an Obamacan (Obamacon is NOT the correct spelling) she is excited by his message, tax cuts for retired folks and banning pre-exsisting conditions.

    June 19, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  2. Jan From Boca Raton, Fl

    I know I am a racist and disgusting person. I some times can't even stand myself. I don't know why I am this way? Maybe, it's because I really haven't done anything in my life and now I feel that in order to make myself feel better because I am so disgusting I have to make racist statements. I know I know, I am horrible. At least this is my first step by admitting how disgusting I am. I hope one day I won't be so close minded and ignorant but for now it's all I know.

    June 19, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  3. west palm beach, Hawk

    John from La,

    Black Obamacans are not racist because they have voted for white people probably their entire life. The question is will white's support a minority canidate for president.

    June 19, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  4. Yes we can, PA

    Sen. Obama is making people in this nation of all colors, races, creeds, economic backgrounds and faiths seriously consider him as our next president. He is truly breaking down barriers. Yes we can!

    June 19, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  5. R.S.-St. Paul

    Don't vote for the Marxist!!! Save the "American Dream" from the the socialists who want to redistribute wealth from the hard-working folks to the lazy people who want it "spoon fed" to them!

    June 19, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  6. Bob Indianapolis, IN

    As the Chambers Brothers sang back in 1968:

    THE TIME HAS COME TODAY!

    June 19, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  7. Bulldog

    Obama is going to cream John McCain and the GOP. There are still a whole bunch of ignorant people who still blindly follow anything the GOP says or does even after all of their PROVEN lies and deceit, but for the most part people can see right through them and their lies. The GOP will make personal attacks that most of us would be fired at work if we dared to say about one of our co-workers. They have to do this because they don't have anything else positive to say about their own policies. All they can do is deceive, manipulate, and lie about their opponent hoping people will continue to have the wool pulled over their eyes. Most people will not allow it this time though, the GOP is the like "the Boy Who Cried Wolf" and the American people can't trust them anymore.

    June 19, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  8. Sue

    "“There’s no way I could vote for a candidate because of his race”, Williams said, “because it would contradict everything I’ve ever written and said in the past about racial politics. But, I’m open”. "

    I'm sorry, but that statement makes absolutely no sense. They're diametrically opposed on issues, but he's open to voting for Obama...because...? ...it's potentially historic for a 'black' man to become President.

    I was a Clinton supporter, but I'll be voting for Obama in Nov. (reluctantly) I can not see switching my ideals and convictions for anything.

    June 19, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  9. Linda

    Both Obamas out poll both McBushes. Barack's favorability leads Johnny's and Michelle's favorability leads the Barbie doll. Life is good!

    June 19, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  10. double standard

    Obama was installed as nominee by the DNC, helped by a biased media that sabotaged the better candidate- HRC- until she was lieterally forced to drop out. Obama has never done anything for his country and has no track record of any accomplishments. Yet... the left wingers managed to demand that he be the nominee.

    That is NOT winning. That is cheating.

    June 19, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  11. K of TX

    Most Americans see that the brand of leadership Barack Obama represents is what we need NOW. Right now the world is waiting to celebrate the progress America would display by electing Barack Obama as President of the United States.

    And not just because of his bi-racial background. His presidency is and will be celebrated because he has displayed the kind of competent leadership, judgement and foresight that will increase our standing in the world and propel us into a period of reconciliation and prosperity that hasn't been seen in a generation.

    June 19, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  12. PROTEST with your one vote

    Obama did not win the nomination.

    He advanced himself... just so far...by playing the race card, by strong-arming himself to caucus wins, and by refusing to allow a revote in Fl and Mi.

    Then... still far from winning any mandate...he went negative on his opponent.

    The DNC, democratic party leaders and the very pro-Obama biased media, did the remaining dirty work of trashing his opponent. It was clear that HRC was the better qualified, so the attacks on her were relentless. Obama was advantaged and HRC was throttled.

    Finally, the superdelegates dragged Obama over the finish line.

    Obama did not win fair and square. I will protest the corruption.

    June 19, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  13. rw in ct

    the media continues to push this shyster real hard. the harder the push, the harder the counter-push.

    come on CNN, get to the frigin issues, start vetting Obama, start calling him on his flip-flops and brain freezes. You are doing this country a disservice with the bs you pose as news. It is a sad day when one has to turn to the Internet, blogs, and youtube to get the truth.

    country before party...vote McCain

    June 19, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  14. Jon, Pittsburgh, PA

    It's so exciting that blacks are voting for a black candidate???? Even conservative ones that ripped on Bill Clinton for years. Not racist though....

    June 19, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  15. Bobby in Atlanta

    See this is the CNN bias I – as well as many others – are always talking about.

    No matter what the topic of conversation is, or who is discussing, it seems that the writers at CNN are constantly trying to remind Republicans how different Obama is from them. Clinton did not and McCain does not come under the same level of scrutnity. Was it really necesesary to highlight his voting record? How is that vital to the rest of the article?

    June 19, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  16. Kiah

    McCain and the Republicans must be shaking in their boots! HA!

    June 19, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  17. Val, Atlanta, Ga

    You go Obama I am very excited and proud of you, you are turning people thoughts around, you are as close to another Dr. Martin Luther King as we will ever see. And I was reading another post about WHEN you become President will the name of the white house still be that. My suggestion is, that name should not have ever been. The new name for the White House should be " The House of The Founding Fathers".

    June 19, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  18. How Does Brian from Knoxville get on EVERY BLOG and who does Sharon Minnesota have compromising pictures of????

    OBAMA, AS AMERICAN AS APPLE PIE

    June 19, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  19. Jana

    Are we talking about affirmative act here? He must be a president because he is minority? I thought president of this country must have knowledge and experience? Longer I look at Obama more he remains me of Bush: lazy, ignorant to the facts, have no knowledge of geography and history. They even walk the same way. Is seems more then he has no clue what he is talking about. Obama is puppet of DNC.

    June 19, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  20. Uncle Sam

    Issues come and go, but character, judgment and leadership are forever.

    Americans for McCain '08

    June 19, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  21. ultranol

    Americans have a one-in-a-lifetime chance to show the world that they are intelligent, open-minded and care about the planet they live in. Please, Americans, don't disappoint us again like last two elections. Show us that you've grown up.

    June 19, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  22. d

    enough of this black/white bullcrap. Whooptey dang do, Obama is half white/half black..more importantly, he is a human being, his blood is the same color as mine! To all you racists out there, get used to it. The world is changing, we are becoming a multicultural society. Eventually we will ALL be multicultural, there will be no black, no white. GEEZ, you folks who harp on the race issue are living in the past get over it already.

    June 19, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  23. Shawn

    Commrades! The success of people's revolution is at hand! All hail Chairman Obama! We're going to bring back the 5 year plan!

    I wish I was joking more about that than I am...

    June 19, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  24. Tina

    NOBODY SAID A WORD WHEN WOMEM VOTED FOR HILLARY BECAUSE SHE IS A WOMEN AND WHITE MEN VOTED FOR HER WELL BECAUSE SHE IS WHITE. THERE HAVE BEEN A HANDFUL OF AFRICAN AMERICAN WHO RAN FOR PRESIDENT BUT NOT ONE OF THEM AS GOTTEN THIS FAR, HISTORY HAS SHOWN THAT WHITE MEN SHOULD BE THE ONLY ONE'S WHO CAN RUN AMERICAN AND LOOK WHERE WE ARE NOW I AGREE THIS IS A TIME FOR A CHANGE BE IT A WOMEN OR AFRICAN AMERICAN. AND BY THE WAY THERE ARE JUST AS MANY POOR WHITE PEOPLE SITTING AT HOME JOBLESS DOING NOTHING.

    June 19, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  25. JB Sacramento

    To Jan from Boca Raton, you might want to check on who benefits the most from those benefits. You might be suprised, or maybe not. Also, you might want to get a repairman to check on that button of yours. It appears to be stuck on stupid again.

    June 19, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
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