Kmiec isn't a big name, and I already gave away what salience there is by noting Kmiec's significant links to the modern Republican Party. But it raised my eyebrow because Kmiec is not an ex-conservative who's seen the light. Even as recent as last July I sparred with him (I'm vastly overstating my relevance, of course -- he wrote a column, and I responded to it. The odds he ever read my response are rather slim), and it was not the first time.
As best as I can tell, Kmiec's endorsement is based solely upon disgust with the war in Iraq. He reiterates his opposition to gay marriage and abortion, his support of federalism and limited judiciary -- the works. And while he expresses hope (audacious hope?) that Obama's actions will match his rhetoric on such issues as race and human rights, his only positive reason for his decision came in this passage:
Our president has involved our nation in a military engagement without sufficient justification or clear objective. In so doing, he has incurred both tragic loss of life and extraordinary debt jeopardizing the economy and the well-being of the average American citizen. In pursuit of these fatally flawed purposes, the office of the presidency, which it was once my privilege to defend in public office formally, has been distorted beyond its constitutional assignment.
This, more than anything else, shows how the GOP coalition is fracturing at the seams. At the same time as moderate Republicans are finally recoiling from their affiliation with far-right social conservatives, social conservatives (at least in the rank and file) are beginning to rebel from supporting the Iraq war. Which leaves a Republican Party consisting of Paul Wolfowitz...and very little else.