Obama has in him—I think, despite his sometimes airy-fairy ‘We are the people we have been waiting for’ silly rhetoric—the potential to be a good, perhaps even great leader. He is, it seems clear enough, what the historical moment seems to be calling for.
—Christopher Buckley, writing in The Daily Beast. Buckley resigned from The National Review, the conservative magazine founded by his father, William F Buckley, shortly after his endorsement of Obama.
We have tremendous confidence in [Obama’s] intellectual rigor, his moral compass and his ability to make sound, thoughtful, careful decisions. He is ready.
—The Chicago Tribune, in its first endorsement of a Democrat for president in the 161 years since the paper was founded.
…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 Los Angeles Times, in its first general election presidential endorsement since 1972, when it endorsed Nixon.
It will come as little surprise to our readers that The Santa Fe Reporter endorses Democrat Barack Obama for president. We also endorsed Obama in the February, 2008 Democratic presidential caucus, writing then: “The choice of Barack Obama as the Democratic presidential nominee would signify a turning point in the leadership of this country, one that is long overdue, one that should not, cannot, be put off any longer.”
That sentiment rings even truer now than it did nine months ago when Obama faced off in a rigorous contest with Hillary Clinton.
We believe there are numerous ways in which Obama’s policies would be better for the country.
His proposals for health insurance, though not the expansive single-payer plan oft backed by progressives, would provide coverage for the appalling number of uninsured Americans.
His tax proposals, contrary to what Republican opponent John McCain and his friend Joe the Plumber say, would help the middle class and provide tax savings to those who make under $250,000 per year.
His commitment to draw down troops from Iraq would, we hope, come to pass in the next two years. Obama has been a critic of the war in Iraq since he was elected to the Senate in 2004.
Should there be openings on the US Supreme Court during his term, as is expected, we trust Obama, a highly educated and intellectual thinker, to appoint qualified people, not ideologues.
Under an Obama administration, we believe the damage done to Americans’ civil rights—from the USA Patriot Act to electronic eavesdropping—would be addressed.
His education plan emphasizes early-childhood education, teacher recruitment and reform of No Child Left Behind, a mandate even its supporters agree has been underfunded and largely ineffective.
His foreign policy approach backtracks from the Bush administration’s dangerous saber-rattling and promotes diplomacy.
He chose Joe Biden as his vice-presidential running mate, a US Senator who has represented Delaware since 1972 and has deep and undisputed expertise in foreign affairs.
Arizona Republican US Sen. John McCain’s positions, on the other hand, bear too many of the same marks as George W Bush’s policies. In both his approaches to the economy and foreign affairs, we believe McCain has been utterly unconvincing that he wouldn’t bring more of McSame.
And it is clear, to many on both sides of the aisle, that major changes in policy, style and thinking are needed.
The tragic events of 9.11 were used by the Bush administration to launch a war the majority of citizens now oppose, a war that continues to cost the country in both dollars and lives. Civil rights have been trampled upon and, whether in Guantanamo or the Department of Justice, many of the basic tenets of our democracy have been damaged. The economy is in the worst shape since the Great Depression. Thousands of Americans have lost their homes, their jobs, their savings.
And yet, with all this, John McCain’s Republican candidacy need not have been a referendum on the Bush administration. From the outset, McCain, who has enjoyed a long career in which many viewed him as a viably moderate Republican, seemed as though he would run a fair campaign focused on the issues.
McCain’s string of misfires since then—from confusing and contradictory positions on the economy to his choice of a vice-presidential running mate who makes good fodder for the media but would be a disaster as a president—have been well-documentedThe McCain campaign also wrote yet another tired, and disturbing, chapter in the story of America’s culture wars. Additionally, we have seen America’s dark shadow: the latent bigotry, the fearmongering, the McCarthyesque questioning of patriotism.
It was Obama who called stirringly for an end to this type of cynical political architecture, in his 2004 address at the Democratic National Convention. And despite a campaign season that has attempted to vilify him as, among other things, a terrorist sympathizer and/or a socialist, he has remained calm and steadfast. Many wished he would fight back harder, call McCain and Palin out for their past indiscretions, orate them into oblivion. But if he wins without waging a dirty campaign, it will help knock back the cynicism that pervades our political system.
Most years, we simply encourage you to vote. This year, go a step further and take responsibility for another Obama voter who might not get to the polls. Nothing should be taken for granted this year. Give a neighbor a ride to the polls or call a friend or relative in another swing state who is undecided and tell that person why you believe Obama is the right choice.
The quotes that begin our endorsement are from unlikely sources. Even resolute conservatives recognize 2008 needs to be the year America begins a new chapter in its history. Obama’s
election will signify a generational shift long in coming.
The next president faces massive challenges at home and abroad. We are living in uncertain times and are in need of fresh perspectives, steady leadership and, perhaps most of all, inspiration.
Barack Obama, whose life story reflects the best of America’s promise, already has brought these factors to the campaign trail. Now it’s time for him to bring them to the White House.