Conservatives columnists, government officials, and elected officials who have endorsed Obama include:
Colin Powell, Four-star Army general, was national security adviser to President Ronald Reagan; chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the 1991 Persian Gulf war, when George H.W. Bush was president; and was President George W. Bush’s first secretary of State
I come to the conclusion that because of his ability to inspire, because of the inclusive nature of his campaign, because he is reaching out all across America, because of who he is and his rhetorical abilities -- and you have to take that into account -- as well as his substance -- he has both style and substance. . . .He has met the standard of being a successful president, being an exceptional president.Christopher Buckley, Son of National Review founder William F. Buckley & former NR columnist - stating:
Now that we have had a chance to watch [Palin] for some seven weeks, I don't believe she's ready to be president of the United States, which is the job of the vice president . . . And so that raised some question in my mind as to the judgment that Senator McCain made
John McCain has changed. He said, famously, apropos the Republican debacle post-1994, “We came to Washington to change it, and Washington changed us.” This campaign has changed John McCain. It has made him inauthentic. A once-first class temperament has become irascible and snarly; his positions change, and lack coherence; he makes unrealistic promises, such as balancing the federal budget “by the end of my first term.” Who, really, believes that? Then there was the self-dramatizing and feckless suspension of his campaign over the financial crisis. His ninth-inning attack ads are mean-spirited and pointless. And finally, not to belabor it, there was the Palin nomination. What on earth can he have been thinking? . . .
As for Senator Obama: He has exhibited throughout a “first-class temperament,” pace Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.’s famous comment about FDR. As for his intellect, well, he’s a Harvard man, though that’s sure as heck no guarantee of anything, these days. Vietnam was brought to you by Harvard and (one or two) Yale men. As for our current adventure in Mesopotamia, consider this lustrous alumni roster. Bush 43: Yale. Rumsfeld: Princeton. Paul Bremer: Yale and Harvard. What do they all have in common? Andover! The best and the brightest. . . .
So, I wish him all the best. We are all in this together. Necessity is the mother of bipartisanship. And so, for the first time in my life, I’ll be pulling the Democratic lever in November. As the saying goes, God save the United States of America
Buckley, in another column further explained:
While I regret this development, I am not in mourning, for I no longer have any clear idea what, exactly, the modern conservative movement stands for. Eight years of “conservative” government has brought us a doubled national debt, ruinous expansion of entitlement programs, bridges to nowhere, poster boy Jack Abramoff and an ill-premised, ill-waged war conducted by politicians of breathtaking arrogance. As a sideshow, it brought us a truly obscene attempt at federal intervention in the Terry Schiavo case. So, to paraphrase a real conservative, Ronald Reagan: I haven’t left the Republican Party. It left me. Thanks, anyway, for the memories, and here’s to happier days and with any luck, a bit less fresh hell.
Jeffrey Hart, National Review Senior Editor, former speechwriter for Nixon and Reagan, a founder of the Dartmouth Review
It turns out that these political parties are not always either liberal or conservative, Democratic or Republican. The Democrat, under certain conditions, can be the conservative.
Andrew Bacevich, Professor of International Relations at Boston University
The conservative ascendancy that began with the election of Ronald Reagan has been largely an illusion. During the period since 1980, certain faux conservatives—especially those in the service of Big Business and Big Empire—have prospered. But conservatism as such has not....For conservatives to hope the election of yet another Republican will set things right is surely in vain. To believe that President John McCain will reduce the scope and intrusiveness of federal authority, cut the imperial presidency down to size, and put the government on a pay-as-you-go basis is to succumb to a great delusion. The Republican establishment may maintain the pretense of opposing Big Government, but pretense it is. . . .For conservatives, Obama represents a sliver of hope. McCain represents none at all. The choice turns out to be an easy one.
David Friedman, Economist and son of Milton and Rose Friedman
I hope Obama wins. President Bush has clearly been a disaster from the standpoint of libertarians and conservatives because he has presided over an astonishing rise in government spending.
Andrew Sullivan, Columnist for the Atlantic Monthly
Obama's legislative record, speeches, and the way he has run his campaign reveal, I think, a very even temperament, a very sound judgment, and an intelligent pragmatism. Prudence is a word that is not inappropriate to him.
Wick Alison, Former publisher of the National Review
[T]oday it is so-called conservatives who are cemented to political programs when they clearly don’t work. The Bush tax cuts—a solution for which there was no real problem and which he refused to end even when the nation went to war—led to huge deficit spending and a $3 trillion growth in the federal debt. Facing this, John McCain pumps his “conservative” credentials by proposing even bigger tax cuts. Meanwhile, a movement that once fought for limited government has presided over the greatest growth of government in our history. That is not conservatism; it is profligacy using conservatism as a mask.
Today it is conservatives, not liberals, who talk with alarming bellicosity about making the world “safe for democracy.” It is John McCain who says America’s job is to “defeat evil,” a theological expansion of the nation’s mission that would make George Washington cough out his wooden teeth.
This kind of conservatism, which is not conservative at all, has produced financial mismanagement, the waste of human lives, the loss of moral authority, and the wreckage of our economy that McCain now threatens to make worse.
Barack Obama is not my ideal candidate for president. (In fact, I made the maximum donation to John McCain during the primaries, when there was still hope he might come to his senses.) But I now see that Obama is almost the ideal candidate for this moment in American history. I disagree with him on many issues. But those don’t matter as much as what Obama offers, which is a deeply conservative view of the world. Nobody can read Obama’s books (which, it is worth noting, he wrote himself) or listen to him speak without realizing that this is a thoughtful, pragmatic, and prudent man. It gives me comfort just to think that after eight years of George W. Bush we will have a president who has actually read the Federalist Papers.
Jim Leach, Former Congressman from Iowa
For me, the national interest comes before party concerns, particularly internationally. We do need a new direction in American policy, and Obama has a sense of that.
Lincoln Chafee, Former United States Senator from Rhode Island
As I look at the candidates in order who to vote for, certainly my kind of conservatism was reflected with Senator Obama, and those points are that we're fiscally conservative, we care about revenues matching expenditures, we also care about the environment, I think it's a traditional conservative value to care about clean air and clean water.
Richard Riordan, Former Mayor of Los Angeles
I'm still a Republican, but I still will always vote for the person who I think will do the best job.
Lowell Weicker, Former Governor and Senator from Connecticut
At issue is not the partisan politics of two parties, rather the image we have of ourselves as Americans. Senator Obama brings wisdom, kindness, and common sense to what is both his and our quest for a better America.
Jim Whitaker, Fairbanks, Alaska Mayor
If we are as a nation concerned with energy, then our consideration should be a national energy policy that is not predicated on crude oil 50 years into the future. We need to get to it, and I think Barack Obama is very clear in that regard.
Linwood Holton, Former Governor of Virginia
Obama has a brain, and he isn't afraid to use it.
Douglas Kmiec, Head of the Office of Legal Counsel under Reagan & Bush 41
I was first attracted to government by Ronald Reagan, who lives in our national memory as a great leader and an inspiring communicator. Senator Obama has these gifts as well, but of course, more rhetorical flourish without substance would be worth little. Is there more to Senator Obama? I believe there is
Jackson M. Andrews, Republican Counsel to the U.S. Senate
Barack Obama is a thoughtful visionary leader who as President will end the decline of American law, liberty, and fiscal responsibility that are the hallmarks of the extremist policies of the current Administration, now adopted by John McCain.
Susan Eisenhower, Granddaughter of President Eisenhower & President of the Eisenhower Group
Given Obama's support among young people, I believe that he will be most invested in defending the interests of these rising generations and, therefore, the long-term interests of this nation as a whole.
Francis Fukuyama, Advisor to President Reagan
...Obama probably has the greatest promise of delivering a different kind of politics.
Rita Hauser, Former White House intelligence advisor under George W. Bush
McCain will continue the wrong-headed foreign policy decisions of Bush, while Obama will take us in a new direction.
Larry Hunter, Former President Reagan Policy Advisor
I suspect Obama is more free-market friendly than he lets on. He taught at the University of Chicago, a hotbed of right-of-center thought. His economic advisers, notably Austan Goolsbee, recognize that ordinary citizens stand to gain more from open markets than from government meddling.
Bill Ruckelshaus, served in the Nixon and Reagan administrations
I'm not against McCain, I'm for Obama.
Lilibet Hagel, Wife of Republican Senator Chuck Hagel
This election is not about fighting phantom issues churned out by a top-notch slander machine. Most important, it is not about distracting the public-- you and me-- with whatever slurs someone thinks will stick.
Conservative newspapers/ newspaper that endorse Bush in 2004 that now endorse Obama include:
Chicago Tribune, Obama is the first democrat the paper has endorsed ever (over 161 years)
It is, though, hard to figure John McCain these days. He argued that President Bush's tax cuts were fiscally irresponsible, but he now supports them. He promises a balanced budget by the end of his first term, but his tax cut plan would add an estimated $4.2 trillion in debt over 10 years. He has responded to the economic crisis with an angry, populist message and a misguided, $300 billion proposal to buy up bad mortgages.
McCain failed in his most important executive decision. Give him credit for choosing a female running mate--but he passed up any number of supremely qualified Republican women who could have served. Having called Obama not ready to lead, McCain chose Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. His campaign has tried to stage-manage Palin's exposure to the public. But it's clear she is not prepared to step in at a moment's notice and serve as president. McCain put his campaign before his country.
We do, though, think Obama would govern as much more of a pragmatic centrist than many people expect. We know first-hand that Obama seeks out and listens carefully and respectfully to people who disagree with him. He builds consensus. He was most effective in the Illinois legislature when he worked with Republicans on welfare, ethics and criminal justice reform. He worked to expand the number of charter schools in Illinois--not popular with some Democratic constituencies. He took up ethics reform in the U.S. Senate--not popular with Washington politicians.
His economic policy team is peppered with advisers who support free trade. He has been called a "University of Chicago Democrat"--a reference to the famed free-market Chicago school of economics, which puts faith in markets. Obama is deeply grounded in the best aspirations of this country, and we need to return to those aspirations. He has had the character and the will to achieve great things despite the obstacles that he faced as an unprivileged black man in the U.S. He has risen with his honor, grace and civility intact. He has the intelligence to understand the grave economic and national security risks that face us, to listen to good advice and make careful decisions.
When Obama said at the 2004 Democratic Convention that we weren't a nation of red states and blue states, he spoke of union the way Abraham Lincoln did.
The Salt Lake Tribune -
Then, out of nowhere, and without proper vetting, the impetuous McCain picked Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate. She quickly proved grievously underequipped to step into the presidency should McCain, at 72 and with a history of health problems, die in office. More than any single factor, McCain's bad judgment in choosing the inarticulate, insular and ethically challenged Palin disqualifies him for the presidency.
Still, we have compelling reasons for endorsing Obama on his merits alone. Under the most intense scrutiny and attacks from both parties, Obama has shown the temperament, judgment, intellect and political acumen that are essential in a president that would lead the United States out of the crises created by President Bush, a complicit Congress and our own apathy.
Kansas City Star
But the six issues highlighted below illustrate why we believe Sen. Barack Obama is the right person to lead the country forward. He is a man of strength, empathy, energy and intelligence…The world is watching and hoping Americans will choose a president who will reach out to allies. Obama will restore America’s reputation as a land of civil liberties, educational opportunities and good faith. Obama’s ascendancy is a tribute both to him and to the ideal that the United States is a land of opportunity for all. His achievements are the result of hard work and merit. His election as America’s first biracial president would be a milestone in the nation’s long journey toward racial equality. The Obama-Biden ticket offers the best hope of recovering from today’s economic difficulties, reclaiming leadership in the world and moving forward to a more promising future.
Leading the country in such a time will require someone of intellect, creativity, honesty and passion for those traits that have made America great. That person is U.S. Sen. Barack Obama . Those are new approaches, crafted by a new generation of leaders drawn to Obama by the chance to write their own chapter in the American story. Their time has come. His time has come. Obama is a leader of rare potential, and that’s precisely what the job of our 44th president demands.
Obama should be the next president of the United States because he is the most qualified change agent. Obama is a little young, but also brilliant. If he sometimes seems brainy and professorial, that's OK. We need the leader of the free world to think things through, carefully. We have seen the sorry results of shooting from the hip. . . . American optimism has been wracked by President George Bush and a previous Republican Congress. If you want change, you do not keep what is essentially the same team in power. You try something different. You vote for the stronger matchup, Obama and Sen. Joseph Biden, a smart and steady hand on foreign policy and other matters.
Our endorsement for President of the United States goes to Sen. Barack Obama, Chicago's adopted son. He has the unique background, superior intellect, professional accomplishments and first-rate temperament to lead our nation in difficult times.
The Denver Post, backed Bust in 2004 and is owned by Republican-leaning William Dean Singleton
[Obama is]better equipped to lead America back to a prosperous future. . . .In unsteady times, it may seem obvious to gravitate toward the veteran politician, but in this campaign, it's been the newcomer who has had the steady hand
While this list is extensive, it is not exhaustive. Other conservatives and former Bust endorsing papers have also endorsed Obama and/or expressed extreme dissatisfaction with the state of the Republican Party and McCain/Palin ticket (See Peggy Noonan and Kathleen Parker's comments). While I do not see Obama as the ideal candidate, he is the best available choice.