As a Republican for Obama (RFO), I've been all over the Internet for the past year and a half defending my belief that Barack Obama better supports founding Republican principles than John McCain. I believe the choice is clear for any true classic Republican who is willing to open his or her mind to defying the GOP leadership's commands.
While we understand that Barack Obama is a Democrat, we're encouraged by many of his policies that are conservative in the truest sense. There are some questions, though, that we'd like Senator Obama to answer. I've sent a request to the Obama campaign for a one-on-one interview by a Republican but have not heard back yet. I think they're a little busy right now - something happening in Denver from what I hear. Since I've been featured on television, local papers, the New York Times and XM Radio as a very active Republican for Obama, as well as being a Huffington Post citizen journalist, I'm hoping it is being considered.
While I've been waiting, I decided to come up with the questions I'd ask. Taking that a step further, I decided to ask other Republicans for Obama for help. I posted at barackobama.com RFO groups, at independent RFO sites, and personally asked RFOs that I know. Below is a list of questions that I received. For duplicates, I worded them to represent the overall sentiment, and have given credit to the first submitter. The first four are my original questions.
1. Republicans have historically been opposed to excess accumulation of power in any government branch. Hypocritically, President Bush has accumulated an unprecedented amount of power to the Executive Branch in the name of safety, with record use of Executive Orders and Presidential Signing Statements. Do you intend to work with Congress to roll back those changes to permanently avoid these attempts in the future, and if so, how?
2. Many Republicans are worried about your position on guns. However, you have expressed your respect for the Second Amendment and tradition. Can you explain why you believe the founding fathers created the Second Amendment, and why limiting some gun ownership is necessary in your opinion in 2008?
3. Your stated positions are mostly centrist, and from the very beginning you have stated your desire to "work across the aisle" with Republicans. President Bush called himself "a uniter, not a divider," but has been more divisive and partisan than any previous president in my lifetime. How can we believe you will not become a total partisan, caving to the extreme left wing of the Democratic Party and leaving us Republican supporters in the dust?
4. President Reagan's "trickle down economics" was based on tax cuts for the rich leading to the rich spending and investing their increased wealth in such a way to create jobs and increased money to the middle class and poor. What is your opinion on this philosophy, and why do you think it didn't work with the recent Bush tax cuts?
5. When selecting a Supreme Court Justice or federal judge, if a candidate has a strong history of wise discernment and consistent Constitutional interpretations, yet is strongly pro-life, would you still nominate the candidate?
- Steve Richardson, Texas
6. As an Eisenhower Republican, I have a question. Most Presidents have had budget deficits. It is immoral to pass on such huge debts to our grandchildren. You propose modest tax cuts for the middle class, modest tax increases on the rich, and some reductions from Iraq spending. Is that enough to reduce the deficit?
- William Morgan
7. You've talked vaguely about rebuilding our infrastructure. As a Rockefeller Republican, I'd like you to explain why you believe it is important to rebuild our roads, bridges and tunnels.
- Rev. Donald "Skull" Powell, South Carolina
8. Please explain how a windfall profits tax on oil companies will lower the price of a gallon of gas at the pump.
- Brian Lathe, Arizona
9. As a Senator from Illinois and an admirer of Abraham Lincoln, in what areas would Republicans be moving closer to Lincoln by supporting you?
- Sue Rudd, Massachusetts
10. After your Democratic Convention speech in 2004 several people branded
you as a "conservative" and said it was "Right Speech, Wrong Party." More recently
Andrew J. Bacevich wrote, "The conservative case for Barack Obama" and gives
his definition of conservatism: (1) A commitment to individual liberty, tempered by the conviction that genuine freedom entails more than simply an absence of restraint; (2) A belief in limited government, fiscal responsibility, and the rule of law; (3) Veneration for our cultural inheritance combined with a sense of stewardship for Creation; (4) A reluctance to discard or tamper with traditional social arrangements; (5) Respect for the market as the generator of wealth combined with a wariness of the market's corrosive impact on humane values; (6) A deep suspicion of utopian promises, rooted in an appreciation of the sinfulness of man and the recalcitrance of history. Would you say that you are a truer conservative than John McCain?
- Sue Rudd, Massachusetts
11. Every four years the Republicans come out as the party of national security, implying that Democrats are weak in this area. Can you address national security directly to overcome this perception?
- Gary Lehman, Indiana
12. What will you do to create more efficiency in government?
- Matt Theobald, Indiana
13. We Republicans know what our Party leadership is doing to you with smears and attacks. What are you going to do to fight back against those kinds of attacks while maintaining the integrity of your campaign?
- Ailene, Indiana
Some people might wonder about giving a candidate questions in advance. There's a certain desire for that "gotcha" moment. Personally, I just want to know the answers, even if they're prepared in advance. I'll let you know if the Obama campaign responds, and I'll post the interview here if I get it.