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

Roberts: The Obamacons


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. mcshame

    his the man of our time. go obama

    June 19, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  2. Enlightened Voter

    Obama has inspired so many people in positive ways and made us look twice at ourselves. I find it beautiful that so many people of all nationalities are attracted to his altruism. He is truly a gift to us, I just hope we know what to do with him...

    June 19, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  3. Total Northern California Democrat for Obama

    I saw a car the other day on Hwy 101 with 2 bumper stickers:
    Obama 08

    It seems that the Republicans are crossing over from the dark side to the LIGHT....

    June 19, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  4. Veterans For Obama

    His mother sounds like she's still got it.

    No Flip Flopping Fossils in the Whitehouse!

    June 19, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |

    OBAMA IS EXACTLY WHAT AN AILING AMERICA AND THE WORLD NEEDS. just keep the clintons and all their baggage under the radar!

    June 19, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  6. AA

    Wow, what a joke, black conservative try anything to justify their choice. They are racists, but we can't say that because they are black. Only blacks can point the finger at us and say we are racists. When the stupid white American are going to wake up???

    June 19, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  7. obama=underhanded liar

    My God, there are so many stupid people in this country I guess they deserve what they'll get with oboma.You really have to be stupid to fall for his crap.

    June 19, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  8. sarah

    wow conservatives who will abandon their core principles to vote for a left wing liberal because he's the black guy, and they are either black or trying to prove they arent racist. too bad none of them even know what his nearly socialist agenda is. talk about scare tactics and racism.

    June 19, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  9. Olivia

    David, of Lake Forest.................ref your remark about McCain.

    That is the dumbest post I have ever read.
    You just critisized millions of men in this country..,..and hung it around McCain's neck.

    You also sound sanctimonious. Mr good guy, I didn't know you are best buddies with Obama.......seem to know him well.

    Don't be unfair to McCain.

    June 19, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  10. Scott, Newport KY

    Real conversatives won't vote for Obama. He's on the wrong side of almost every issue.

    June 19, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  11. Michelle

    Obama is not best equipped to take on anything.

    He has ZERO legislative accomplishments.

    June 19, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  12. sharon

    I could care less about the color or half color of anyone! But as a lifelong Democratic I will not vote for Obama BECAUSE he never gives a straight answer, and I simply DO NOT trust him and his lack of experience....I will write in Hillary Clinton or vote for
    cain. If anyone thinks Bush is a horrible President Wait until Obama shows his true agenda!

    June 19, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  13. john from NJ

    Roberts sounds about as dumb and hypocritical as WIlliams.

    June 19, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  14. Otto

    Tax and bigger government. Have the government take control of everything for me! Go Obama!

    June 19, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  15. Janet

    Please people do not take politics so personal. Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain are two great persons; however, I would like Mr. Obama to be the President and Mr. McCain in charge of implementing systems to maintain safety of all americans... He's probably too old though. On another thought he should be retiring and give the batton to Guliani or Huckabee.

    June 19, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  16. min in Nc

    What a PATHETIC reason to vote for someone to run our country, because he's black ( from what I read, he's not all that black) and if we don't, then we are racists. I'm sorry that it upsets some people that the White House has always had 'white' presidents, get a grip, it wasn't because we are all racists, that's what we had to choose from and now we have an inexperienced, arrogant, letting others play the race card for him, black candidate, I'm to vote for him to prove I'm not a racist? What in the world is the matter with us? Let's see if CNN will print this view point! Min

    June 19, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
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