Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Connecticut Post endorses Barack Obama

The Connecticut Post endorsed Barack Obama today.

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Barack Obama for the Democrats

Experience matters. But it's not everything.

In staking her claim for the Democratic presidential nomination, Sen. Hillary Clinton has made her decades in public life her top selling point. She alone among the available choices, she says, is able to step in and be ready to lead the nation on her first day in office.

Her argument is not without merit. But there are many politicians with more years of experience than she who have no business in the White House. Years of service is important, but nothing can substitute for good judgment and an ability to lead.

It is in this regard that the Connecticut Post endorses Illinois Sen. Barack Obama for his party's presidential nomination in the Feb. 5 Connecticut Democratic Presidential Primary. It's true, he is only in his first term in the U.S. Senate, but his life experience was formed in other realms, not just in Washington. For years, he served as a community organizer and advocate in some of Chicago's poorest neighborhoods. As a state senator in Illinois, he championed progressive causes and offered a forward-thinking, positive alternative to politics as usual.

He is also experienced as a citizen of the world. He is well known as the son of a mother from Kansas and a father from Kenya. He spent time growing up in Hawaii, maybe our most diverse state, and overseas, in Indonesia. Alone among serious presidential candidates, he understands our place in the world, and how to bring America and other nations closer together.

Clinton and Obama offer similar platforms, and would likely make many of the same choices in foreign and domestic policy. But in one key aspect, Obama stands above. In 2002, when war fever gripped the nation and Democrats lined up behind President Bush and his war of choice in Iraq, Obama spoke against it. It's true, he was not in the U.S. Senate, and therefore was not under the pressure his counterpart faced. But there is no excusing Sen. Clinton for supporting a war for what was, to all appearances, political expediency. Obama's desire for higher office was apparent even then, but he did not fall into that trap.

Finally, do not discount the ability of a leader to bring people together. No, the gridlock of Washington will not magically disappear with his inauguration, but Obama has brought untold numbers of young people into the political process through his vision, his hope and his eloquence. Combined with his sound judgment and political skills, he has the potential to be a president who ushers our nation into a new era.

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