Newspaper endorsements are well-publicized events in the quadrennial hoopla Americans call the presidential campaign. Their actual impact is doubtful, yet no candidate has ever turned one down. So far this year, Obama dominates the endorsement derby, including nods from staunch Bush supporters like the Houston Chronicle and the Chicago Tribune. In fact, the Trib's endorsement of Obama marks the first time in the paper's 161-year history that it has supported a Democrat for president.
The endorsements, some exceptionally eloquent, some unreserved, some ambivalent, coalesce around four main themes:
Los Angeles Times: "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 wreckage of the Bush Administration leaves the next president with a nearly impossible job
- Obama's always impressive poise, command, and leadership have grown as the campaign lengthened and will serve to both inspire the nation and pull it together
- McCain's disappointing campaign shows that he has neither the solutions nor the temperament for the presidency, especially in trying times
- His choice of Sarah Palin as running mate was so reckless as to practically disqualify him by itself
Links to selected endorsements follow. The New Yorker provides an especially detailed and thorough analysis of the conditions the next president will inherit and a probing argument of why Obama is the best hope to address them.
Boston Globe: "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."
Chicago Tribune: "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."
Denver Post: "Republicans love to mock Obama's history as a community organizer. But here was a man with no money to offer, no patronage to dispense, no way to punish his opponents. All he could do was to work with people from all walks of life, liberals and conservatives, business people and the unemployed, and bring them together in common cause for a better community. Could there really be better preparation to reunite a worried and divided America to again pursue our 'more perfect union'?"
Houston Chronicle: "Obama appears to possess the tools to confront our myriad and daunting problems. He's thoughtful and analytical. He has met his opponents' attacks with calm and reasoned responses. Viewers of the debates saw a poised, well-prepared plausible president with well-articulated positions on the bread-and-butter issues that poll after poll indicate are the true concerns of voters."
New Yorker: "The election of Obama—a man of mixed ethnicity, at once comfortable in the world and utterly representative of twenty-first-century America—would, at a stroke, reverse our country’s image abroad and refresh its spirit at home."
North Carolina News & Observer: "[T]he junior U.S. senator from Illinois -- the son of a white mother from Kansas and a black father from Kenya, the product of humble beginnings and a raising by his extended family, the kid with big dreams, the young man with much ambition, the hard worker who made the most of his education and his opportunities and then went to Chicago to help others do likewise -- could not be more of an example of all that America is and all that it can be."
Oregonian: "Barack Obama can recall the United States to its own highest principles and priorities. He can change course after an administration that has often cut constitutional and legal corners, and frequently stumbled into policy and philosophical embarassment."
Salt Lake Tribune: "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."
Seattle Post-Intelligencer: "Obama is the best candidate for president. He has the vision, patience and fortitude to put America on a track to recovery after an eight-year run of financial irresponsibility, aggressive adventurism abroad and mismanagement, secrecy and dissembling on numerous fronts."
Washington Post: "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."