Sunday, January 27, 2008

Seattle Times endorses Barack Obama

The Seattle Times endorsed Barack Obama today.

The Times recommends ...

Obama for the Democrats

After seven years of George Bush's failed presidency, after five years of unnecessary war in Iraq, America is ready to write a new narrative. All candidates favor the now-bromidic slogan: change. Only one candidate truly embraces the yearnings this word represents.

The Seattle Times endorses Sen. Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination for president. He has the grasp, temperament and skills to right our standing in the world. He has broad insight and specific ideas to assuage our own hardworking citizens' fears of an economy turning sour.

Obama has thoughtful plans to help citizens with everyday problems: middle-class tax breaks; elimination of income tax for seniors earning less than $50,000; health care for minors.

Critics ask a fair question about Obama's experience. He has been a U. S. senator for three years, Illinois state senator for eight, lawyer, lecturer, community organizer — a résumé some say is not executive enough for a president.

American voters tend to select governors rather than senators for president, President Bush being a recent example. Bush fit the mold — governor of Texas six years — but his résumé proved to be a failed indicator.

Judgment is more important. Bush's decision to invade Iraq was the most-wrongheaded decision of our time.

Voters this time have reason to focus on other qualities, such as the courage to tell people things they might not want to hear. Obama, for example, took his pitch for higher fuel-efficiency standards to the most-challenging audience, Detroit.

And in October 2002, when our country was horribly bruised by Sept. 11, he came out against the war in Iraq: "I don't oppose all wars. ... What I am opposed to is a dumb war. ... What I am opposed to is a rash war."

Such statements might sound unpatriotic — unless, of course, the speaker turns out to be correct. In an Obama administration, American troops have a chance to start coming home.

Americans have not selected a candidate for president directly from the Senate since 1960, when they elected Sen. John Kennedy, who offered similar charisma and hope.

Obama, more than other candidates, is gut-level inspiring. All candidates speak in platitudes that make us feel good. Sometimes their words actually move us.

"We want a politics that reflects our best values," Obama said early in the campaign. "We want a politics that reflects our core decency, a politics that is based on a simple premise that we stand and fall together."

We need that after the divisiveness of Bush-Cheney. Obama would rather talk to world leaders than rattle sabers at them.

That approach is likely to appeal to moderates and independents if they participate in Washington's Feb. 9 caucuses and Feb. 19 primary.

Obama's personal story offers progress in the ongoing struggle to be a more comfortable, racially diverse country. The son of a white mother from Kansas and an absent father from Kenya, he doesn't need to say much about diversity. He moves the issue forward just by waking up in the morning. Obama would be the first African-American president. But in his way of transcending the harshness of typical racial politics, he makes that almost a side point.

Obama has realistic ideas about education: performance pay and universal prekindergarten that is not mandatory; after-school and summer programs.

Obama would mandate health-insurance coverage for children, but not for adults. His approach to expanding coverage and stemming escalating costs is pragmatic enough to gain legislative traction.

Obama speaks eloquently about media issues. His positions encourage a public worried about a consolidated media. He supports network neutrality and laments media consolidation. He co-sponsored a bill to stop recent changes to the cross-ownership rule adopted by the Federal Communications Commission. Obama says he would appoint FCC commissioners who will work in the public's interest and against media concentration.

Obama has the smarts, the plans and, yes, the charisma to capably lead and transform a nation that aches for a new direction.

No comments:

Popular Posts