Obama for President

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Obama for President

Post by Guysanto » Tue Oct 14, 2008 8:06 am

From the Editorial Board of the Boston Globe
Obama for president

October 13, 2008

COME JANUARY, a new president will take charge of a nation diminished, an America that is far shakier economically, less secure militarily, and less respected internationally than it was eight years before. The nation needs a chief executive who has the temperament and the nerves to shepherd Americans through what promises to be a grueling period — and who has the vision to restore this country to its place of leadership in the world.

Such a leader is at hand. With great enthusiasm, the Globe endorses Senator Barack Obama for president. The charismatic Democrat from Illinois has the ability to channel Americans' hopes and rally the public together, at a time when the winds are picking up and the clouds keep on darkening.

Unlike many of his rivals this year of either party, Obama isn't refighting the political or cultural battles of the 1960s. Instead, he is asking Americans to take responsibility for the nation's problems now; no one else will take care of them, and the consequences of years of disunity and profligacy should not be visited upon future generations.

Obama shows great faith in the possibility of persuasion overseas and in the ingenuity of the American economy. While intransigent rogue states can't be finger-wagged into giving up on nuclear weapons, perhaps they can be talked back from the brink. As fossil fuels become scarcer, and the ecological damage more evident, Americans can put up windmills and solar panels and drive more efficient cars.

Encouragingly, Obama has assembled an impressive economic team that understands both the power of the market and the need to discourage recklessness and promote social equity. He would broaden access to health insurance, using a mechanism akin to this state's Commonwealth Connector. And he offers a tax plan that, in offering modest cuts to most taxpayers and taking back some past cuts for the highest earners, acknowledges the widening gap between the wealthiest Americans and everyone else.

The question, of course, is whether Obama can make good on his promises under the circumstances. For George W. Bush will leave a woeful legacy. The Iraq war, which was sold to Congress and the public on false pretenses, continues to consume billions upon billions of dollars, even as many of the plotters of Sept. 11 are still at large. In his efforts to cultivate democracy abroad, Bush has hacked away at its roots here: due process, the separation of powers, the conviction that there are some things that government must not do. Waterboarding and secret prisons abroad, warrantless wiretapping at home — these acts belie America's image of forthrightness, the nation's greatest asset in world affairs.

Meanwhile, as the planet gets warmer, its top energy consumer has no plan to wean itself from fossil fuels. Healthcare costs are strangling businesses. Real wages have declined for the average worker, even as the cost of food and fuel has skyrocketed. Vague unease about the economy has turned into outright fear as the financial system sank into quicksand and 500-point-plus plunges on the stock market have become a near-daily occurrence. Obama's opponent, Senator John McCain, would try to solve all these problems by going back to the same Republican set of tools: tough talk abroad, tax cuts for the richest at home. In contrast, Obama's presidency would benefit from the Illinois senator's formidable political gifts. A graduate of Harvard Law School and a former community organizer on Chicago's South Side, Obama debuted on the national political scene with a dazzling speech at the Democratic National Convention four years ago. Since then, every word of his books and his speeches has been closely parsed. Evident from all that scrutiny is a nimble mind, an ever more impressive grasp of policy detail, and an ability to listen to contradictory viewpoints. Obama is clearly a liberal. But when he led the Harvard Law Review, he won praise from conservative thinkers because he genuinely wanted to hear what they had to say.

Obama is hardly immune to political calculation. Though he has positioned himself as a supporter of campaign finance reform, he backed out of the public financing system after his ability to raise jaw-dropping sums over the Internet became apparent. In the general election campaign, he has been slow to admit how much the financial crisis would limit his policy options come January.

Even so, the way Obama has run his campaign has been a marvel of sound management: He laid down principles, put the right people in positions of authority, and spent money strategically. And he has shown a remarkable steadiness. Whether he was far behind Hillary Clinton before the Iowa caucuses or on the verge of locking up the Democratic nomination, whether he was leading or trailing McCain in the general election contest, Obama made the same forward-looking appeal to voters' best instincts.

As the first black major-party presidential nominee, Obama has strived to make voters comfortable with a ‘‘skinny kid with a funny name.'' And yet the historical significance of his bid is impossible to ignore. Voters can make no more powerful statement about America's commitment to inclusion and opportunity than to put forward this man — Barack Hussein Obama, son of a father from Kenya and a mother from Kansas — as the nation's representative to the world.

An early Obama campaign slogan declared, ‘‘We are the ones we've been waiting for.'' His critics deemed such rhetoric too ethereal. Now it seems prescient, as the nation confronts a financial crisis of historic proportions, as well as all the other policy failures and debt-fueled excesses of the last eight years. The United States has to dig itself out. Barack Obama is the one to lead the way.

© Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

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Barack Obama for president

Post by Guysanto » Sat Oct 18, 2008 8:08 am

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la- ... 6124.story
From the Los Angeles Times

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.

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Obama for president

Post by Guysanto » Sat Oct 18, 2008 8:58 am

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opin ... 1034.story

FROM THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE EDITORIAL BOARD
Tribune endorsement: Barack Obama for president

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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