Thursday, October 16, 2008
Although it is tough for a Democrat Preidential candidate to win in Missouri, this article is worth sharing from my hometown (St. Louis) newspaper.
The Post-Dispatch Endorses Barack Obama for President
Sunday, Oct. 12 2008
In January, nine days before the Feb. 5 presidential primaries in Missouri and
Illinois, this editorial page endorsed Barack Obama and John McCain in their
We did so enthusiastically. We wrote that either Mr. Obama's message of hope or
Mr. McCain's independence and integrity offered America 'the chance to turn the
page on 28 years of contentious, greed-driven politics and move into a new era
Over the past nine months, Mr. Obama, the junior senator from Illinois, has
emerged as the only truly transformative candidate in the race. In the crucible
that is a presidential campaign, his intellect, his temperament and equanimity
under pressure consistently have been impressive. He has surrounded himself
with smart, capable advisers who have helped him refine thorough, nuanced
In a word, Mr. Obama has been presidential.
Meanwhile, Mr. McCain, the senior senator from Arizona, became the incredible
shrinking man. He shrank from his principled stands in favor of a humane
immigration policy. He shrank from his universal condemnation of torture and
his condemnation of the politics of smear.
He even shrank from his own campaign slogan, 'Country First,' by selecting the
least qualified running mate since the Swedenborgian shipbuilder Arthur Sewall
ran as William Jennings Bryan's No. 2 in 1896.
In making political endorsements, this editorial page is guided first by the
principles espoused by Joseph Pulitzer in The Post-Dispatch Platform printed
daily at the top of this page. Then we consider questions of character, life
experience and intellect, as well as specific policy and issue positions. Each
member of the editorial board weighs in.
On all counts, the consensus was clear: Barack Obama of Illinois should be the
next president of the United States.
We didn't know nine months ago that before Election Day, America would face its
greatest economic challenge since the Great Depression. The crisis on Wall
Street is devastating, but it has offered voters a useful preview of how the
two presidential candidates would respond to a crisis.
Very early on, Mr. Obama reached out to his impressive corps of economic
advisers and developed a comprehensive set of recommendations for addressing
the problems. He set them forth calmly and explained them carefully.
Mr. McCain, a longtime critic of government regulation, was late to recognize
the threat. The chief economic adviser of his campaign initially was former
Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Texas, who had been one of the architects of banking
deregulation. When the credit markets imploded, Mr. McCain lurched from one
ineffectual grandstand play to another. He squandered the one clear advantage
he had over Mr. Obama: experience.
Mr. McCain first was elected to Congress in 1982 when Mr. Obama was in his
senior year at Columbia University. Yet the younger man's intellectual
curiosity and capacity — and, yes, also the skills he developed as a community
organizer and his instincts as a political conciliator — more than compensate
for his lack of more traditional Washington experience.
A presidency is defined less by what happens in the Oval Office than by what is
done by the more than 3,000 men and women the president appoints to government
office. Only 600 of them are subject to Senate approval. The rest serve at the
pleasure of the president.
We have little doubt that Mr. Obama's appointees would bring a level of
competence, compassion and intellectual achievement to the executive branch
that hasn't been seen since the New Frontier. He has energized a new generation
of Americans who would put the concept of service back in 'public service.'
Consider that while Mr. McCain selected as his running mate Gov. Sarah Palin of
Alaska, a callow and shrill partisan, Mr. Obama selected Sen. Joe Biden of
Delaware. Mr. Biden's 35-year Senate career has given him encyclopedic
expertise on legislative and judicial issues, as well as foreign affairs.
The idea that 3,000 bright, dedicated and accomplished Americans would be
joining the Obama administration to serve the public — as opposed to padding
their resumés or shilling for the corporate interests they're sworn to oversee
— is reassuring. That they would be serving a president who actually would
listen to them is staggering.
And the fact that Mr. Obama can explain his thoughts and policies in language
that can instruct and inspire is exciting. Eloquence isn't everything in a
president, but it is not nothing, either.
Experience aside, the 25-year difference in the ages of Mr. McCain, 72, and Mr.
Obama, 47, is important largely because Mr. Obama's election would represent a
generational shift. He would be the first chief executive in more than six
decades whose worldview was not formed, at least in part, by the Cold War or
He sees the complicated world as it is today, not as a binary division between
us and them, but as a kaleidoscope of shifting alliances and interests. As he
often notes, he is the son of a Kenyan father and a mother from Kansas, an
internationalist who yet acknowledges that America is the only nation in the
world in which someone of his distinctly modest background could rise as far as
his talent, intellect and hard work would take him.
Given the damage that has been done to America's moral standing in the world in
the last eight years — by a preemptory war, a unilateralist foreign policy and
by policies that have treated both the Geneva Conventions and our own Bill of
Rights as optional — Mr. Obama's election would help America reclaim the moral
It also must be said that Mr. Obama is right on the issues. He was right on the
war in Iraq. He is right that all Americans deserve access to health care and
right in his pragmatic approach to meeting that goal. He is right on tax
policy, infrastructure investment, energy policy and environmental issues. He
is right on American ideals.
He was right when he said in his remarkable speech in March in Philadelphia
that 'In the end, then, what is called for is nothing more, and nothing less,
than what all the world's great religions demand: that we do unto others as we
would have them do unto us. Let us be our brother's keeper, Scripture tells us.
Let us be our sister's keeper. Let us find that common stake we all have in one
another, and let our politics reflect that spirit as well.'
John McCain has served his country well, but in the end, he may have wanted the
presidency a little too much, so much that he has sacrificed some of the
principles that made him a heroic figure in war and in peace. In every way
possible, he has earned the right to retire.
Finally, only at this late point do we note that Barack Obama is an
African-American. Because of who he is and how he has run his campaign, that
fact has become almost incidental to most Americans. Instead, his countrymen are weighing his talents, his values and his beliefs, judging him not by the color of his skin, but the content of his character.
That says something profound and good — about him as a candidate and about us as a nation.
I wish I was there, my hometown came out in record numbers to hear Barack Obama speak in St. Louis October 18, 2008