Saturday, October 18, 2008

An historic endorsement from Obama's hometown newspaper

By Michael J.W. Stickings

As I noted yesterday, The Washington Post has endorsed Obama.

And as Mustang Bobby notes today, three other major newspapers -- the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution -- have also endorsed Obama. Another one is The Denver Post.

I can't say I'm surprised, except when it comes to Obama's hometown paper, the Chicago Tribune. Why? Because it's one of the most Republican newspapers in the country. In fact:

This is the first time the newspaper has endorsed the Democratic Party's nominee for president.

Over at TMV, Elrod has the full list of the paper's presidential endorsements: "Not a single Democrat, until now. No FDR. No JFK. No LBJ in 1964."

Yet, now, the Tribune is "proud" to endorse Obama. And it actually goes so far as to liken him to none other than Lincoln, a fellow Illinoisan:

Obama is deeply grounded in the best aspirations of this country, and we need to return to those aspirations.

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.

Simply put, the Tribune knows Obama well, and this editorial is astonishing in its praise:

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.

Yes he is. And maybe I shouldn't be surprised that even this most Republican of newspapers has endorsed him. As I have been saying for a long time -- and I myself endorsed Obama on February 5, Super Tuesday -- he is what America and the world need in the White House, and he has already proven himself to be one of the most brilliant political figures -- one of the most brilliant leaders -- of our time. With a message of hope and change, with the goal of achieving America's full potential, of realizing at long last that "more perfect union," and with a substantive policy platform that addresses our most pressing concerns, he has inspired many of us in a way and to a degree that we have never been inspired before.

The Chicago Tribune knows this because it knows him. Not even a long history of Republican partisanship can stand up to Obama in 2008.

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