CNN.com has even acknowledged the number of conservative newspapers that have endorsed Sen. Obama.
The Chicago Tribune (in over 100 years) has never endorsed a Democratic nominee for president, so it is quite groundbreaking that they would rubberstamp their US Senator (they didn't even endorse Adlai Stevenson - of Illinois - when he ran against Dwight Eisenhower).
2:33 PM CDT, October 17, 2008
However this election turns out, it will dramatically advance America's slow progress toward equality and inclusion. It took Abraham Lincoln's extraordinary courage in the Civil War to get us here. It took an epic battle to secure women the right to vote. It took the perseverance of the civil rights movement. Now we have an election in which we will choose the first African-American president . . . or the first female vice president.
In recent weeks it has been easy to lose sight of this history in the making. Americans are focused on the greatest threat to the world economic system in 80 years. They feel a personal vulnerability the likes of which they haven't experienced since Sept. 11, 2001. It's a different kind of vulnerability. Unlike Sept. 11, the economic threat hasn't forged a common bond in this nation. It has fed anger, fear and mistrust.
On Nov. 4 we're going to elect a president to lead us through a perilous time and restore in us a common sense of national purpose.
The strongest candidate to do that is Sen. Barack Obama. The Tribune is proud to endorse him today for president of the United States.
On Dec. 6, 2006, this page encouraged Obama to join the presidential campaign. We wrote that he would celebrate our common values instead of exaggerate our differences. We said he would raise the tone of the campaign. We said his intellectual depth would sharpen the policy debate. In the ensuing 22 months he has done just that.
Many Americans say they're uneasy about Obama. He's pretty new to them.
We can provide some assurance. We have known Obama since he entered politics a dozen years ago. We have watched him, worked with him, argued with him as he rose from an effective state senator to an inspiring U.S. senator to the Democratic Party's nominee for president.
We have tremendous confidence in his intellectual rigor, his moral compass and his ability to make sound, thoughtful, careful decisions. He is ready.
The change that Obama talks about so much is not simply a change in this policy or that one. It is not fundamentally about lobbyists or Washington insiders. Obama envisions a change in the way we deal with one another in politics and government. His opponents may say this is empty, abstract rhetoric. In fact, it is hard to imagine how we are going to deal with the grave domestic and foreign crises we face without an end to the savagery and a return to civility in politics.
This endorsement makes some history for the Chicago Tribune. This is the first time the newspaper has endorsed the Democratic Party's nominee for president.
The Tribune in its earliest days took up the abolition of slavery and linked itself to a powerful force for that cause--the Republican Party. The Tribune's first great leader, Joseph Medill, was a founder of the GOP. The editorial page has been a proponent of conservative principles. It believes that government has to serve people honestly and efficiently.
With that in mind, in 1872 we endorsed Horace Greeley, who ran as an independent against the corrupt administration of Republican President Ulysses S. Grant. (Greeley was later endorsed by the Democrats.) In 1912 we endorsed Theodore Roosevelt, who ran as the Progressive Party candidate against Republican President William Howard Taft.
The Tribune's decisions then were driven by outrage at inept and corrupt business and political leaders.
We see parallels today.
The Republican Party, the party of limited government, has lost its way. The government ran a $237 billion surplus in 2000, the year before Bush took office -- and recorded a $455 billion deficit in 2008. The Republicans lost control of the U.S. House and Senate in 2006 because, as we said at the time, they gave the nation rampant spending and Capitol Hill corruption. They abandoned their principles. They paid the price.
We might have counted on John McCain to correct his party's course. We like McCain. We endorsed him in the Republican primary in Illinois. In part because of his persuasion and resolve, the U.S. stands to win an unconditional victory in Iraq.
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.
Obama chose a more experienced and more thoughtful running mate--he put governing before politicking. Sen. Joe Biden doesn't bring many votes to Obama, but he would help him from day one to lead the country.
McCain calls Obama a typical liberal politician. Granted, it's disappointing that Obama's mix of tax cuts for most people and increases for the wealthy would create an estimated $2.9 trillion in federal debt. He has made more promises on spending than McCain has. We wish one of these candidates had given good, hard specific information on how he would bring the federal budget into line. Neither one has.
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.
It may have seemed audacious for Obama to start his campaign in Springfield, invoking Lincoln. We think, given the opportunity to hold this nation's most powerful office, he will prove it wasn't so audacious after all. We are proud to add Barack Obama's name to Lincoln's in the list of people the Tribune has endorsed for president of the United States.
Copyright © 2008, Chicago Tribune
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution sits in the middle of red state Georgia (with a Republican governor and 2 US Senators), but Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) is getting pushed by upstart Democratic opposition in Jim Martin and with a large Black voting population, there is some talk of Sen. Barack Obama possibly turning this red state blue.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
The 44th president of the United States will take office in an uncertain and dangerous time for this country. The challenges we face both overseas and here at home are complex and unfamiliar, and the road ahead is likely to be very different from the road we have traveled to get here.
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.
In the past eight years, the policies and ideologies that have animated the Bush administration have proved disastrous in almost every field of endeavor, from foreign policy to economics to relatively straightforward tasks such as responding to natural disasters. As a consequence, President Bush’s approval rating is as low as or lower than that of any other president in the history of polling.
Naturally, both Obama and his opponent, U.S. Sen. John McCain, have promised to take the country in a new direction. Both are honorable men fully qualified and competent to be president.
McCain, however, faces a hurdle in his claim to be an agent of change because he shares a political party with Bush. To offset that fact, McCain has wisely chosen to campaign on his reputation as a maverick, a reputation that he once fully deserved.
However, in his current role as Republican nominee, McCain has yet to explain how most of his proposed policies and approaches differ from those of the current president. From deregulation of Wall Street and tax cuts that favor the richest 5 percent of Americans to a more aggressive foreign policy, McCain’s approach now reflects the same Republican orthodoxy that has governed this country since 2000. Time and again, he has been offered chances to explain how his philosophy differs from that of the current president, and he has not been able to do so.
And it’s not just a matter of policies. A third term under another Republican president would inevitably be populated by much the same cast of GOP staffers, executives and bureaucrats that has run Washington for so long and with such disastrous results. McCain’s campaign staff illustrates that problem perfectly because it is populated by many of the same people who ran previous Bush campaigns. They are also still trying to run the same basic Republican playbook that the party has used since 1980.
In fact, the competence of McCain’s campaign staff is itself cause to question the candidate’s executive abilities. To some degree, the rigors of creating and running a campaign organization can be a test of the skills needed to create and run an administration. And even many Republicans acknowledge that the McCain campaign has been poorly organized and erratic, lurching from one crisis to another without the sense of a strong hand at the tiller.
Columnist William Kristol, a longtime McCain backer, calls the McCain campaign “close to being out–and–out dysfunctional,” concluding that “its combination of strategic incoherence and operational incompetence has become toxic.”
And of course, the most unfortunate evidence of that “strategic incoherence and operational incompetence” was McCain’s selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate, a person utterly unprepared for the high post in question.
The contrast with the campaign run by Barack Obama could not be more stark. More than a year ago, when he was still a long shot without much money, Obama somehow managed to attract a staff talented and disciplined enough to defeat Hillary Clinton and the Clinton machine in the Democratic primaries. It has since gone on to demonstrate a great deal of political discipline, skill and innovation, running a 21st century campaign that appeals to 21st century America.
Different challenges require different strengths. Obama has demonstrated a calm, thoughtful leadership style that fits this time and this challenge well. He has laid out a wiser, more measured approach toward foreign policy that elevates diplomacy and negotiation while reserving the use of force if necessary to protect this country and its allies in a dangerous world. He understands that international respect and admiration can’t be forced at gunpoint.
Economically, Obama is better equipped to deal with a rapidly changing global situation, and his policies focus directly on the problems confronting the American working and middle classes. His tax plan, for example, proposes to cut taxes on 95 percent of American households while raising taxes only on households with an income of more than $250,000. That plan may have to be adjusted in light of a harsh new fiscal reality, but it demonstrates where Obama’s instincts and values lead him.
The same is true of his health-care proposal. It requires a comprehensive approach, including financial assistance to help small businesses buy insurance for their employees. It would also require large employers that do not offer health insurance to help their workers with the cost of buying insurance on their own.
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.
— Jay Bookman (jbookman@ajc .com) and Cynthia Tucker(cynthia@ ajc.com), for the editorial board.
The Los Angeles Times broke a decades long ban on presidential endorsements. Their board points to the temperment and character of Sen. Barack Obama as to why he receives their endorsement.
Barack Obama for president
He is the competent, confident leader who represents the aspirations of the nation.
October 19, 2008
It is inherent in the American character to aspire to greatness, so it can be disorienting when the nation stumbles or loses confidence in bedrock principles or institutions. That's where the United States is as it prepares to select a new president: We have seen the government take a stake in venerable private financial houses; we have witnessed eight years of executive branch power grabs and erosion of civil liberties; we are still recovering from a murderous attack by terrorists on our own soil and still struggling with how best to prevent a recurrence.
We need a leader who demonstrates thoughtful calm and grace under pressure, one not prone to volatile gesture or capricious pronouncement. We need a leader well-grounded in the intellectual and legal foundations of American freedom. Yet we ask that the same person also possess the spark and passion to inspire the best within us: creativity, generosity and a fierce defense of justice and liberty.
The Times without hesitation endorses Barack Obama for president.
Our nation has never before had a candidate like Obama, a man born in the 1960s, of black African and white heritage, raised and educated abroad as well as in the United States, and bringing with him a personal narrative that encompasses much of the American story but that, until now, has been reflected in little of its elected leadership. The excitement of Obama's early campaign was amplified by that newness. But as the presidential race draws to its conclusion, it is Obama's character and temperament that come to the fore. It is his steadiness. His maturity.
These are qualities American leadership has sorely lacked for close to a decade. The Constitution, more than two centuries old, now offers the world one of its more mature and certainly most stable governments, but our political culture is still struggling to shake off a brash and unseemly adolescence. In George W. Bush, the executive branch turned its back on an adult role in the nation and the world and retreated into self-absorbed unilateralism.
John McCain distinguished himself through much of the Bush presidency by speaking out against reckless and self-defeating policies. He earned The Times' respect, and our endorsement in the California Republican primary, for his denunciation of torture, his readiness to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and his willingness to buck his party on issues such as immigration reform. But the man known for his sense of honor and consistency has since announced that he wouldn't vote for his own immigration bill, and he redefined "torture" in such a disingenuous way as to nearly embrace what he once abhorred.
Indeed, the presidential campaign has rendered McCain nearly unrecognizable. His selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate was, as a short-term political tactic, brilliant. It was also irresponsible, as Palin is the most unqualified vice presidential nominee of a major party in living memory. The decision calls into question just what kind of thinking -- if that's the appropriate word -- would drive the White House in a McCain presidency. Fortunately, the public has shown more discernment, and the early enthusiasm for Palin has given way to national ridicule of her candidacy and McCain's judgment.
Obama's selection also was telling. He might have scored a steeper bump in the polls by making a more dramatic choice than the capable and experienced Joe Biden. But for all the excitement of his own candidacy, Obama has offered more competence than drama.
He is no lone rider. He is a consensus-builder, a leader. As a constitutional scholar, he has articulated a respect for the rule of law and the limited power of the executive that make him the best hope of restoring balance and process to the Justice Department. He is a Democrat, leaning further left than right, and that should be reflected in his nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court. This is a good thing; the court operates best when it is ideologically balanced. With its present alignment at seven justices named by Republicans and two by Democrats, it is due for a tug from the left.
We are not sanguine about Obama's economic policies. He speaks with populist sweep about taxing oil companies to give middle-class families rebates that of course they would welcome, but would be far too small to stimulate the economy. His ideas on taxation do not stray far from those put forward by Democrats over the last several decades. His response to the most recent, and drastic, fallout of the sub- prime mortgage meltdown has been appropriately cautious; this is uncharted territory, and Obama is not a master of economic theory or practice.
And that's fine. Obama inspires confidence not so much in his grasp of Wall Street finance but in his acknowledgment of and comfort with his lack of expertise. He will not be one to forge far-reaching economic policy without sounding out the best thinkers and practitioners, and he has many at his disposal. He has won the backing of some on Wall Street not because he's one of them but because they recognize his talent for extracting from a broad range of proposals a coherent and workable program.
On paper, McCain presents the type of economic program The Times has repeatedly backed: One that would ease the tax burden on business and other high earners most likely to invest in the economy and hire new workers. But he has been disturbingly unfocused in his response to the current financial situation, rushing to "suspend" his campaign and take action (although just what action never became clear). Having little to contribute, he instead chose to exploit the crisis.
We may one day look back on this presidential campaign in wonder. We may marvel that Obama's critics called him an elitist, as if an Ivy League education were a source of embarrassment, and belittled his eloquence, as if a gift with words were suddenly a defect. In fact, Obama is educated and eloquent, sober and exciting, steady and mature. He represents the nation as it is, and as it aspires to be.
The Washington Post is a very conservative newspaper operating in the nation's capitol. But WaPo points to Obama's temperament and ability to make decisions in a deliberate manner as the reason why they are offering him their endorsement.
Friday, October 17, 2008
THE NOMINATING process this year produced two unusually talented and qualified presidential candidates. There are few public figures we have respected more over the years than Sen. John McCain. Yet it is without ambivalence that we endorse Sen. Barack Obama for president.
The choice is made easy in part by Mr. McCain's disappointing campaign, above all his irresponsible selection of a running mate who is not ready to be president. It is made easy in larger part, though, because of our admiration for Mr. Obama and the impressive qualities he has shown during this long race. Yes, we have reservations and concerns, almost inevitably, given Mr. Obama's relatively brief experience in national politics. But we also have enormous hopes.
Mr. Obama is a man of supple intelligence, with a nuanced grasp of complex issues and evident skill at conciliation and consensus-building. At home, we believe, he would respond to the economic crisis with a healthy respect for markets tempered by justified dismay over rising inequality and an understanding of the need for focused regulation. Abroad, the best evidence suggests that he would seek to maintain U.S. leadership and engagement, continue the fight against terrorists, and wage vigorous diplomacy on behalf of U.S. values and interests. Mr. Obama has the potential to become a great president. Given the enormous problems he would confront from his first day in office, and the damage wrought over the past eight years, we would settle for very good.
The first question, in fact, might be why either man wants the job. Start with two ongoing wars, both far from being won; an unstable, nuclear-armed Pakistan; a resurgent Russia menacing its neighbors; a terrorist-supporting Iran racing toward nuclear status; a roiling Middle East; a rising China seeking its place in the world. Stir in the threat of nuclear or biological terrorism, the burdens of global poverty and disease, and accelerating climate change. Domestically, wages have stagnated while public education is failing a generation of urban, mostly minority children. Now add the possibility of the deepest economic trough since the Great Depression.
Not even his fiercest critics would blame President Bush for all of these problems, and we are far from being his fiercest critic. But for the past eight years, his administration, while pursuing some worthy policies (accountability in education, homeland security, the promotion of freedom abroad), has also championed some stunningly wrongheaded ones (fiscal recklessness, torture, utter disregard for the planet's ecological health) and has acted too often with incompetence, arrogance or both. A McCain presidency would not equal four more years, but outside of his inner circle, Mr. McCain would draw on many of the same policymakers who have brought us to our current state. We believe they have richly earned, and might even benefit from, some years in the political wilderness.
OF COURSE, Mr. Obama offers a great deal more than being not a Republican. There are two sets of issues that matter most in judging these candidacies. The first has to do with restoring and promoting prosperity and sharing its fruits more evenly in a globalizing era that has suppressed wages and heightened inequality. Here the choice is not a close call. Mr. McCain has little interest in economics and no apparent feel for the topic. His principal proposal, doubling down on the Bush tax cuts, would exacerbate the fiscal wreckage and the inequality simultaneously. Mr. Obama's economic plan contains its share of unaffordable promises, but it pushes more in the direction of fairness and fiscal health. Both men have pledged to tackle climate change.
Mr. Obama also understands that the most important single counter to inequality, and the best way to maintain American competitiveness, is improved education, another subject of only modest interest to Mr. McCain. Mr. Obama would focus attention on early education and on helping families so that another generation of poor children doesn't lose out. His budgets would be less likely to squeeze out important programs such as Head Start and Pell grants. Though he has been less definitive than we would like, he supports accountability measures for public schools and providing parents choices by means of charter schools.
A better health-care system also is crucial to bolstering U.S. competitiveness and relieving worker insecurity. Mr. McCain is right to advocate an end to the tax favoritism showed to employer plans. This system works against lower-income people, and Mr. Obama has disparaged the McCain proposal in deceptive ways. But Mr. McCain's health plan doesn't do enough to protect those who cannot afford health insurance. Mr. Obama hopes to steer the country toward universal coverage by charting a course between government mandates and individual choice, though we question whether his plan is affordable or does enough to contain costs.
The next president is apt to have the chance to nominate one or more Supreme Court justices. Given the court's current precarious balance, we think Obama appointees could have a positive impact on issues from detention policy and executive power to privacy protections and civil rights.
Overshadowing all of these policy choices may be the financial crisis and the recession it is likely to spawn. It is almost impossible to predict what policies will be called for by January, but certainly the country will want in its president a combination of nimbleness and steadfastness -- precisely the qualities Mr. Obama has displayed during the past few weeks. When he might have been scoring political points against the incumbent, he instead responsibly urged fellow Democrats in Congress to back Mr. Bush's financial rescue plan. He has surrounded himself with top-notch, experienced, centrist economic advisers -- perhaps the best warranty that, unlike some past presidents of modest experience, Mr. Obama will not ride into town determined to reinvent every policy wheel. Some have disparaged Mr. Obama as too cool, but his unflappability over the past few weeks -- indeed, over two years of campaigning -- strikes us as exactly what Americans might want in their president at a time of great uncertainty.
ON THE SECOND set of issues, having to do with keeping America safe in a dangerous world, it is a closer call. Mr. McCain has deep knowledge and a longstanding commitment to promoting U.S. leadership and values.
But Mr. Obama, as anyone who reads his books can tell, also has a sophisticated understanding of the world and America's place in it. He, too, is committed to maintaining U.S. leadership and sticking up for democratic values, as his recent defense of tiny Georgia makes clear. We hope he would navigate between the amoral realism of some in his party and the counterproductive cocksureness of the current administration, especially in its first term. On most policies, such as the need to go after al-Qaeda, check Iran's nuclear ambitions and fight HIV/AIDS abroad, he differs little from Mr. Bush or Mr. McCain. But he promises defter diplomacy and greater commitment to allies. His team overstates the likelihood that either of those can produce dramatically better results, but both are certainly worth trying.
Mr. Obama's greatest deviation from current policy is also our biggest worry: his insistence on withdrawing U.S. combat troops from Iraq on a fixed timeline. Thanks to the surge that Mr. Obama opposed, it may be feasible to withdraw many troops during his first two years in office. But if it isn't -- and U.S. generals have warned that the hard-won gains of the past 18 months could be lost by a precipitous withdrawal -- we can only hope and assume that Mr. Obama would recognize the strategic importance of success in Iraq and adjust his plans.
We also can only hope that the alarming anti-trade rhetoric we have heard from Mr. Obama during the campaign would give way to the understanding of the benefits of trade reflected in his writings. A silver lining of the financial crisis may be the flexibility it gives Mr. Obama to override some of the interest groups and members of Congress in his own party who oppose open trade, as well as to pursue the entitlement reform that he surely understands is needed.
IT GIVES US no pleasure to oppose Mr. McCain. Over the years, he has been a force for principle and bipartisanship. He fought to recognize Vietnam, though some of his fellow ex-POWs vilified him for it. He stood up for humane immigration reform, though he knew Republican primary voters would punish him for it. He opposed torture and promoted campaign finance reform, a cause that Mr. Obama injured when he broke his promise to accept public financing in the general election campaign. Mr. McCain staked his career on finding a strategy for success in Iraq when just about everyone else in Washington was ready to give up. We think that he, too, might make a pretty good president.
But the stress of a campaign can reveal some essential truths, and the picture of Mr. McCain that emerged this year is far from reassuring. To pass his party's tax-cut litmus test, he jettisoned his commitment to balanced budgets. He hasn't come up with a coherent agenda, and at times he has seemed rash and impulsive. And we find no way to square his professed passion for America's national security with his choice of a running mate who, no matter what her other strengths, is not prepared to be commander in chief.
ANY PRESIDENTIAL vote is a gamble, and Mr. Obama's résumé is undoubtedly thin. We had hoped, throughout this long campaign, to see more evidence that Mr. Obama might stand up to Democratic orthodoxy and end, as he said in his announcement speech, "our chronic avoidance of tough decisions."
But Mr. Obama's temperament is unlike anything we've seen on the national stage in many years. He is deliberate but not indecisive; eloquent but a master of substance and detail; preternaturally confident but eager to hear opposing points of view. He has inspired millions of voters of diverse ages and races, no small thing in our often divided and cynical country. We think he is the right man for a perilous moment.
The Salt Lake Tribune points to Sen. John McCain's choice of an unvetted Gov. Sarah Palin as proof positive of his inability to make sound decisions. On the other hand, Sen. Barack Obama has provided a clear vision to the 21st century for the country and thinks that his brand of leadership is much better for America during these trying economic times,
A simple choice: The nation needs Barack Obama in the White House
Article Last Updated: 10/18/2008 12:52:35 PM MDT
The next U.S. president will lead a nation that remains embroiled in two wars and is beset by an economic meltdown more severe than any since the Great Depression.
By necessity, the country's next commander in chief must also be its mender in chief, capable of inspiring his angry and divided constituents to join together in a recovery project to restore the peace, prosperity, and self-confidence we once knew.
We fear that a lesser effort may be insufficient to reverse America's slide toward economic, political and societal chaos. The times require dramatic and comprehensive change.
The presidential candidates know it, and have made it their mantra.
Most Americans know it, and, in growing numbers, are demanding it.
The countries that have long depended upon the United States for enlightened global leadership long for it.
For the sake of all, and for those who follow us, we must have it.
The editorial board of The Salt Lake Tribune believes that Barack Obama can deliver it.
Over the 22 months since announcing his improbable candidacy, Obama has transcended his image as a mere political and racial phenomenon. Though blessed with uncommon skills as a writer and orator, he was mistakenly thought to possess too little political experience, too little backbone, and too little evidence of the tangible, and intangible, qualities we ascribe to the best of our leaders. Democrats and Republicans alike thought Hillary Clinton would make short work of him.
Admittedly, we thought so too, and endorsed Clinton, not Obama, for the party's nomination.
Yet, Obama mounted an extraordinary grass-roots campaign, raised gobs of cash, and showed great fortitude and equanimity in the face of the Clinton juggernaut. He endured, and once the nomination was his, he set about uniting his divided party with an impressive display of magnanimity and diplomacy.
John McCain, meanwhile, crushed Mitt Romney to gain his party's nomination, but then blundered badly by not bringing the business-savvy Romney onto the ticket. Romney would have shored up McCain's poor grasp of economic policy.
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.
The candidates' positions on issues are, in most cases, distinctly different, and no more so than in health care reform. McCain would make a bad system worse by deregulating an insurance industry that is the root of the problem. He would give every family a $5,000 refundable tax credit for purchasing the insurance of their choice, but would tax employer-provided health benefits. Obama's plan would require large employers to offer insurance, or contribute a percentage of payroll to offset the cost of taxpayer subsidies. People could buy into a private or a government-run plan, and the premiums would be subsidized by tax credits based on income.
On tax policy, Obama would sensibly increase taxes for individuals making more than $250,000 a year, while cutting taxes for everyone else. He also would send money to the states for public works improvements that would generate jobs. His intent to increase the capital gains tax, however, is foolhardy while businesses struggle to weather the economic meltdown.
McCain would cut taxes for people in all income brackets, as well as mandate big reductions in corporate income taxes. It is a trickle-down plan that would do little to reduce the deficit.
McCain's foreign policy objectives virtually replicate Bush's disastrous course. His disdain for diplomacy is troubling, and his faith in eventual U.S. "victory" in Iraq is ill-defined. We simply cannot afford perpetual war. Obama knows this. And his nuanced approach would help America recover it's global prestige.
Indeed, we see too many of Bush's failed policies in McCain's recipe for recovery. The country desperately needs a new and well-defined road map for the 21st century and leadership that can unite the country behind it.
We believe that Barack Obama can give us both.
plez sez: i usually put very little stock into the endorsements of the editorial boards of newspapers, as my concerns and views may not necessarily be those of the editorial board in question. but this national trend in major metropolitan newspapers not only shows how ready the united states is for the leadership of sen. barack obama, but it shows how out of touch sen. john mccain is with the needs of most americans. mccain's style of leadership is erratic and scary(cancelling his campaign, changing tactical approach on a weekly basis, etc.), his judgement has a basis in all of the wrong things (i.e., pandering to the lowest in his constiuency, picking an unvetted unknown running mate, etc.), and his temperment runs counter to what we need after eight years of george w. bush.
it is obvious that Sen. Barack Obama possesses the leadership and CHANGE that we can ALL believe in!