Thursday, September 18, 2008

Republicans for Obama

San Francisco Chronicle writer Carla Marinucci passes on the news that

California Republican Richard Riordan, the millionaire businessman and former mayor of Los Angeles, has announced he's endorsing Barack Obama for president. ....

''We want the best person to be president of the United States, whether they are Republican or Democrat, and clearly Obama is the best candidate,'' said Riordan, a former state secretary of education, adviser to and long-time supporter of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is backing John McCain.

''Senator Obama is the kind of leader we need to get us through these tough economic times.''

Riordan is a kind of Republican who is almost extinct in California: a plutocratic realist. Around here, Republicans have dwindled to a minority party, a fractious repository for intolerant Christianists, explicitly racist white people terrified of demographic changes, and wacky climate change deniers. The only way they get any political traction is stirring up fear and repugnance for other Californians.

There are a few other prominent Republicans endorsing Obama, among them a retiring Congressman from Maryland, Wayne Gilchrest, and former Rhode Island Senator Lincoln Chafee. These gentlemen also apparently think that being in government is about facilitating and preserving the country's wellbeing, rather than about purging the impure and enabling pillage by the lucky.

I doubt I share hardly any policy prescriptions with these Obama-endorsing dissenters from the GOP, but I can imagine I might share some values. What's frightening is that I don't believe I share any values with the other, much more numerous, kind of Republican. And since I think that in the end it is all about community, that's scary because we are stuck in this together.

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