Friday, October 17, 2008

The Post Endorses Obama

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.
There's also this:
...[O]utside 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.

Go read the rest. Home stretch time, ladies and gentlemen.


mike said...

Re: "Not even his fiercest critics would blame President Bush for all of these problems...."

Hell yes I would. Not exclusively -- Bill Clinton contributed, and so did Papa Bush (remember the Council on Competitiveness?) and of course Reagan, only recently dethroned as the most stunningly incompetent and ignorant elected head of state in modern history (and dethroned as such only if you concede the debatable point that George W. Bush was ever really elected president).

The Post is kind to McCain, taking extended note of his past laurels. I'll say it too: McCain usedta be cool. In 2000, as a losing contender for the Republican nomination, he was well to the left of the eventual Democratic nominee. (Al Gore was a big oil stockholder, though I don't know if he still is, and along with the Clintons he was involved in some of the most disastrous steps backward on clean air issues. Having written a book about environmental issues, he got a free pass from the media and the electorate on all that. Also on his true and then-current cronyism with a minor governor facing a serious ethics investigation, apparently a recurring theme.)

But McCain, like a lot of people, changed after September 11. He became a warmonger -- an odd development in a guy who really, really oughta know better. My own party's 2008 nominee, Cynthia McKinney, changed too -- she started picking her battles rather poorly and accusing the Bush regime of deliberately ignoring detailed advance knowledge of the September 11 attacks. (She is still, however, the only person running for president today who can be entirely trusted on universal health care and Patriot Act issues and torture and the death penalty and rapid weaning from unsustainable energy sources and ending the war expeditiously and safely and bringing Bush Administration criminals to justice and Wall Street criminals too.

Independent candidate Ralph Nader and his awesome Green running mate, Matt Gonzalez, are pretty good on all these issues, too, but they're definitely not foreign policy candidates. Also, Nader is the only real maverick in the race, and the unspoken truth is: real mavericks are a pain in the ass. I no longer want Nader to be president. Arguably there has never been a moment when America needed Ralph Nader more than right now, as he is the ideal person to clean up Wall Street, but that's the Treaury Secretary's job and it's tempting to hope President Obama will recognize that. (McKinney certainly would, but she's not going to get half a percent of the vote.)

It would take the political equivalent of a giant meteor falling on Joe the Plumber's neighborhood to change the obvious outcome of this election. Obama will not just win, but win the first definitive mandate since Reagan. He will win that with or without my vote, as my state's electoral votes are securely in his bag (not to mention my big union's endorsement and substantial get-out-the-vote machine). So I'm perfectly free to vote for my party's good candidate without needing to take any crap about "spoiling" the outcome. And, all that said, there have been many times since the conventions -- Obama's acceptance speech, all three debates especially the last, reading the New Yorker's endorsement and the Post's -- when I have found myself thinking, "Hey, I actually want to vote for this guy."

It's a tough decision either way. I worked essentially full time without pay for four years to undermine the two-party "system" and build the Green Party, and I was on the committee that first recruited McKinney to run for president. I'm glad she's running, though it was a better idea in 2001 when we approached her about 2004. But it is exciting to see Obama building up -- earning -- a mandate for the best presidential mandate we can realistically hope to see anytime soon, and there's something to be said politically, if not electorally, for an overwhelming popular margin.

Point is, a Democratic nominee who can make me even consider the possibility of voting for the Democratic nominee has already accomplished a lot. Enough to invite, with optimism, President Bartlet's signature question, "What's next?"

Rob said...

Mike, I wish you'd consider doing a blog of your own. Your voice is one that needs to be heard more widely.

mike said...

Thanks... but why should I bother writing a blog when I can just ride the coattails of everyone else's?

T said...

Here's another enthusiastic vote for a Mike blog!