‘Conservatives’ Obama Listens To

Marc Ambinder has compiled a list of “The Six Top Conservatives Obama Listens To.”   As several of those who saw the link via Twitter have noted, arguably none of them are conservatives:

  1. The Mainers, Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe
  2. Dick Lugar
  3. John McCain
  4. David Brooks
  5. Harvard Law Professor Jack Goldsmith

A perfectly fine list of Republicans to whom I’m perfectly happy the president is listening.  But I’m not sure any of them are conservatives – and am quite sure some of them aren’t.  There are several on an “Others” honorable mention list but only George Will is inarguably a conservative.

UPDATE: Commenter Herb asks an interesting question:

For the sake of discussion: which conservatives do you wish Obama would listen to?

I’ll open that one up to the readers.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Herb says:

    For the sake of discussion: which conservatives do you wish Obama would listen to?

  2. G.A.Phillips says:

    1.The Mainers, Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe
    2.Dick Lugar
    3.John McCain
    4.David Brooks
    5.Harvard Law Professor Jack Goldsmith

  3. G.A.Phillips says:

    For the sake of discussion: which conservatives do you wish Obama would listen to?Me.

  4. Dave C says:

    1.The Mainers, Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe

    Do they honestly count as two people?

    I thought they shared the same brain..

    5 1/2 ‘conservatives’ that Obama listens to at best..

  5. Matthew Stinson says:

    Your characterization is not entirely fair, James.

    I think Lugar counts as a conservative in the pre-neoconservative foreign policy mold. Similarly, while McCain breaks from orthodoxy when it suits him, he’s still been reliably conservative.

    But the Mainers are ridiculously un-conservative, Brooks is ridiculously un-serious, and I have no idea about Goldsmith.

  6. Idiot says:

    The list has to include Rush.

  7. Steve Plunk says:

    Newt, the de facto head of the party. Cantor, up and coming idea man. Thomas Sowell, a non politician thinker. Krauthammer, big brain, big ideas.

  8. Anderson says:

    What *isn’t* conservative about Goldsmith? Good heavens.

  9. Herb says:

    I don’t think Obama should listen to Rush, if only because I think Rush is the type of guy to deliberately give him bad advice to watch him stumble.

    As for Newt… It seems strange to me that the only time Newt has any influence is when Democrats are in office. If and when Republicans are in charge once again, I suspect we’ll go back to “Newt who?”

    Eric Cantor lost me when he blamed Nancy Pelosi for his vote on the stimulus bill. Vote no because it’s a bad bill. Vote no because that’s what you believe. But don’t vote no because Nancy Pelosi said some mean things you didn’t like.

    If there’s one conservative I’d like Obama to listen to, it would have to be Andrew Bacevich.

  10. In no particular order:
    Edmund Burke
    William Buckley
    Russell Kirk
    Abraham Lincoln
    Milton Friedman
    Friedrich Hayek

    Isn’t one of the tenets of conservatism that there’s already plenty of wisdom out there without having to find a new idea whose primary virtue is merely that it is new? The advantage of picking deceased conservatives is that there is no time wasted in rebutting or responding to President Obama’s boilerplate rhetoric. Just read the writings of the above conservatives with an open mind and bounce their ideas off your plans.

  11. Idiot says:

    If the White House isn’t listening to Rush, then why do they always go out of their way to attack him?