Monday, February 4, 2008

Tufts Daily Endorses Barack Obama

The Tufts Daily, the campus newspaper of Tufts University, endorsed Barack Obama today.

Editorial | Democratic Endorsement

Obama would unify a divided country

As the presidential election of 2008 draws near, we are standing at an extraordinary moment in American history. In the Democratic primary, the party will make history no matter which candidate represents it in the fall.

As voters, we may choose a divisive but battle-tested senator who will continue the 50-percent-plus-one political strategy and make hard-won incrementalism the political norm. Or we can select a transformative leader who stands for bold political realignment - a man who is respected by people of all political stripes even if they do not agree with all of his views.

Given this fundamental choice, the Daily offers its endorsement of Senator Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Our decision reflects our own basic understanding of American governance and the vision that we have for the American presidency.

Senator Hillary Clinton has made much of her experience in public service. As First Lady, she crafted America's first universal healthcare proposal and, as she says, "I have the scars to prove it." She has served in the Senate for seven years and has been a hard worker and a conscientious legislator. Certainly, experience is important - but the type of experience is even more significant.

As the son of an absent black farmer from Kenya and a white mother from Kansas, Obama was forced to struggle with his own identity. He saw the affluent corridors of Harvard Law School (where he excelled as the first black editor of the prestigious Law Review) and the poverty-stricken South Side of Chicago, where he went to work in community organizing and made thousands of people believe that their voices would be heard again. He taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago and reached across the political aisle in the Illinois State Senate to craft meaningful legislation.

In October 2002, Senator Clinton, who had all the intelligence reports at her disposal, voted to give the president the authority to go to war. She, along with 28 other Democrats and 48 Republicans, either exercised her best judgment or fell victim to the call of political expediency.

In Illinois, however, then-State Senator Obama eloquently and intelligently made the case against war. Experience is important, but when the advisors and cabinet members have left the room and the president stands alone in the Oval Office, it will be his judgment that we must believe in most.

From the Law Review to the Illinois Senate to the streets of this nation, Obama has been unyielding in his belief that Americans can come together to create a better nation - that they should not feel powerless in the face of the federal government. He has been honest about his strengths and his weaknesses in a way that those of us who remember Bill Clinton's equivocations about marijuana and George W. Bush's obfuscations concerning cocaine never believed we would hear from an elected official.

We have great respect for the senator from New York - she has been a pragmatic and thoughtful voice in the U.S. Senate - but the real difficulty in politics is finding the right leader for the moment. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a great president because he had the strength to face down the Great Depression and to unite the country in war and in peace. Abraham Lincoln, despite his lack of a national résumé, provided bold and courageous leadership during the most powerful schism in American history. John F. Kennedy was brought to the forefront as the world stood on the brink of nuclear war, and the young president pulled us back from the edge and strengthened our resolve to be the kind of nation for which our founding fathers fought.

A leader can only be truly great if he or she understands the exceptionality of the moment. We need a president who can heal this nation and bring us together after the backbiting and severe polarization of the last twenty years. The American people are tired of pessimism, tired of lies and equivocations, tired, as Obama said in 2004, of the pundits who like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue states - and tired of being angry.

Obama's presidency will not be perfect, and it would be foolish to expect the realization of a true Camelot on the Potomac. There will be difficult times in the years ahead.

But we believe that Barack Obama is the person most able to unite the country not just against a common enemy, but in the service of a common purpose. That is why we offer Obama our enthusiastic endorsement for the Democratic presidential nomination.

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