June 19th, 2008
12:35 PM ET
13 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. rajah kahn

    Look, I am a republican who will voterfor Obama, I am white. and i do not consider race as a factor for.me. I like Obama, and his policies etc. and for the first time I will vote democratic.

    June 19, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  2. Venus

    I am loving it!

    One love
    One world...
    Let's get together and feel alright!
    Go Bam!

    June 19, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  3. We Welcome Every Vote

    I think people should vote on issues though, not just because Obama is black. If that’s the case then you can’t be mad at folks who will vote against Obama because he’s black.

    Stick to the issues 08!!!

    But if republicans vote for Obama no protest from me.

    June 19, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  4. Bob, San Francisco, CA

    This country would be so much better off if we could escape the EITHER / OR mindset. Why do people have to jump on the partisan bandwagon for every issue? So what if you're against abortion or gay marriage (i.e., culturally bigoted)–there are much larger issues at hand facing the nation.

    We need to come together as Americans and make this country a better place. Let's bring back some of the pride for ourselves and for our world reputation.

    Obama is the only chance we have right now of getting there. He is honest about his power as an individual. He not only will choose a strong team, but he needs all of us to do our part as well.

    June 19, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  5. Jacob in North Carolina

    I have no problem with people who want to vote for Obama or McCain. What I have a problem with is people who will vote for Obama just because he's black, or McCain because he isn't. I'm tired of people calling me a racist because I'm a white man voting for McCain, but then they're telling me they're voting for Obama because he's black. So much for progress.

    June 19, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  6. tedious898

    Ok....haters...in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 – your on! We all expect every stupid, hateful and racist comment about Obama. Why? Because that's what you truly uneducated, ignorant americans do best.

    Please...I hope we make it a requirement to at least finish high school or no public posts allowed.

    June 19, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  7. Terciary Adjunct (20 of 18,000,000)

    Surrender your foolish dreams of continuing Bush policies. You will soon learn to love the OBAMA way. Resistence is futile.

    June 19, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  8. Carl from MI

    Democrats have been forced to swallow 8 years of George W. Bush's toxic waste... it's time for the pendulum to swing the other way. Close your eyes and pinch your nose, because this dose of Democratic tonic is going to burn all the way down like bad cough medicine.

    Time for Republicans to realize they've been infected with the nation-ravaging 'W' virus for 8 years. It's NOT going to be pretty watching them go through the necessary treatments to kill what's infected their Party. I'm betting Ron Paul will be the only survivor once the infection is gone.

    June 19, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  9. JIM...TX

    It's good to see Williams looking past Obama's "color" and considering his policies in considering voting for him. Too bad more Republicans don't/won't look at the REAL issues in this election an think about the country's well fare an where the last 8 yeras has gotten us...........

    June 19, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  10. JDM

    This is a moment in time to vote for something totally diffirent.
    USA has tried the same election formula for 200 years!
    Rep-Dem-Indpen. All of us have to admit this is history in your face,
    today, and rigth now! After 8 years of BUSH, We have all suffered.
    1.Show me a Rep gas station that has cheap gas!
    2. Show me a Rep that bleeds and die's a diffirent color than red!
    3. Show me a job or health care that is better because you are a Rep!

    IF YOU CAN?!

    June 19, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  11. Tonya, Richmond, VA

    African Americans are just as capable of running a country as whites are. It's sad that after all these years a black man has just now become a presidential nominee.

    It's always about the white folks. They swear they are superior and smarter than any other race, especially blacks.

    Obviously that is so not the case.

    June 19, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  12. Catty

    He still hasn't convinced me. I have a hard time listening to someone tell me it's wrong for our soldiers to be in Iraq fighting for freedom, yet "partial birth abortion" is totally OK! I guess murder and death is only ok when we americans do it to ourselves!

    June 19, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  13. Marc in DeKalb, IL

    As interesting as the thought may be to some, I will never vote based on racial issues, even if it is historically exciting.

    The issues facing the United States of America are what we should all be considering, and if Obama is the best man for the job, wonderful... what a great way to open the door!

    ... but if he isn't, and he got elected, what damage would that do for future candidates?

    I'm still making up my mind on this one, myself.


    June 19, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  14. Peter E

    So... when somebody, for any reason, votes for Obama's opponent he's labeled a racist? But when somebody votes FOR Obama BECAUSE he has African roots he's labeled a progressive thinker?
    But then again what else do you expect reported from the Obama News Network...

    June 19, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  15. Tonya, Richmond, VA

    and watch my comment won't be posted.

    June 19, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  16. Kelby from Houston, TX

    "Obamacons” – conservatives, including many African-Americans, who are giving the Senator (Obama) a good, hard look.


    Turn away from the darkside of conservative politics and join the advancement of better polices.


    June 19, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  17. Sindu

    WOW.... an eye opening, specially his 82 year old mother is going to vote for Senator Obama. This show the exictment on this campaign not only in USA but the world.

    June 19, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  18. bridgette

    This is election is getting really silly. You have a woman who is being judged by something she wrote when she was a no it all teenager. Everybody thinks they have all the answers in their tweties. Your views drastically change when you grow up, get a job, and have a family. In my tweenties I read the Malcom X biography for the first time and convinced myself that I was angry and that lasted for about two weeks, because I decided I would rather party. So don't judge people by the stupid things we say when we are still discovering who we are. Let's everyone chill out for a second and take a deep breath and think of all the stupid stuff we do and say when we are young. And imagine those things coming back too hunt you. These people the Obama's must have lived an extremely boring life if all they can find on them is a crazy old preacher and a thesis paper from almost twenty years ago.

    June 19, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |

    If we were a Nation of blind people and could only listen to the candidates, who do you think would win by an overwhelming majority? Duh!!! Drop the race crap-it's old and boring.

    Obama '08

    June 19, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  20. Jackson

    Terciary Adjunct (20 of 18,000,000) June 19th, 2008 2:27 pm ET: If < 1 ohm 🙂

    June 19, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  21. College-bound going for Obama

    I'm so sick of people insinuating that the only reason blacks are voitng for obama is because he is black. It a horrible remark that degrades the opinons of African American who support him.

    June 19, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  22. TESAP

    I will believe it when I see it..... ARMY we shall see................

    BARACK THE VOTE PEOPLE................... 🙂

    June 19, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  23. Tom ....... Texas

    Yep......his policies of raising taxes, not allowing additional drilling, talking to Iran unconditionaly, nationalizing Health Care (not to mention the democrats that want to nationalize the Oil Refineries), and all his other socialist/communist views and policies. The problem with Bush is that he is not a true conservative either (not cutting spending) – but hey at least the Pelosi ran congress has a lower approval rating than he does.

    June 19, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  24. A Change will Come

    CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — Republican presidential contender John McCain on Friday used the term "tar baby," considered by some a racial epithet, and later said he regretted it.

    Answering questions at a town hall meeting, the Arizona senator was discussing federal involvement in custody cases when he said, "For me to stand here and ... say I'm going to declare divorces invalid because of someone who feels they weren't treated fairly in court, we are getting into a tar baby of enormous proportions and I don't know how you get out of that."

    After the event, McCain told reporters: "I don't think I should have used that word and I was wrong to do so."

    June 19, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  25. norb

    As Dylan said, " these times they are a changin". It's about time!

    June 19, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
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