Friday, October 17, 2008

Le Deluge?

The debate period of the past several weeks seems to have been a pause in the campaign in a way, with candidates disappearing for a day here and there to prepare for the debates, where a certain vetting went on.

That's all changing, as we've emerged into the final Act, less than three weeks to go, three Tuesdays from now. And while there's plenty of healthy fear of complacency, sudden GOP activation or hidden anti-Obama voting out there, we may also begin to witness the long-planned for flood. Starting with endorsements, maybe or maybe not including Colin Powell on Sunday, but with newspapers already weighing in, including some surprises.

For one, The Los Angeles Times rarely endorses a Presidential candidate in the General Election:
The Times without hesitation endorses Barack Obama for president.

Our nation has never before had a candidate like Obama, a man born in the 1960s, of black African and white heritage, raised and educated abroad as well as in the United States, and bringing with him a personal narrative that encompasses much of the American story but that, until now, has been reflected in little of its elected leadership. The excitement of Obama's early campaign was amplified by that newness. But as the presidential race draws to its conclusion, it is Obama's character and temperament that come to the fore. It is his steadiness. His maturity.
Without hesitation. They go on to how the McCain they once admired is no longer recognizable, and give large consideration to how his VP choice undermines any claim of superior judgment. And their closing paragraph is moving in a patriotic way:
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.
More stunningly, the Chicago Tribune gives their first-ever endorsement of a Democratic Presidential candidate:
On Nov. 4 we're going to elect a president to lead us through a perilous time and restore in us a common sense of national purpose.

The strongest candidate to do that is Sen. Barack Obama. The Tribune is proud to endorse him today for president of the United States...

...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.
They go on to recall how the newspaper's first great leader was a Republican Party founder (anti-slavery), how the current GOP has completely lost its way, how McCain is no longer comprehensible and, again, there's that Palin:
McCain failed in his most important executive decision. Give him credit for choosing a female running mate--but he passed up any number of supremely qualified Republican women who could have served. Having called Obama not ready to lead, McCain chose Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. His campaign has tried to stage-manage Palin's exposure to the public. But it's clear she is not prepared to step in at a moment's notice and serve as president. McCain put his campaign before his country.

Obama chose a more experienced and more thoughtful running mate--he put governing before politicking. Sen. Joe Biden doesn't bring many votes to Obama, but he would help him from day one to lead the country.
Country first, baby. Could be Obama's new slogan.

They go into more detail on Obama's reassuring past successes in Illinois legislature, and then close with this rather tear-provoking passage:
Obama is deeply grounded in the best aspirations of this country, and we need to return to those aspirations. He has had the character and the will to achieve great things despite the obstacles that he faced as an unprivileged black man in the U.S.

He has risen with his honor, grace and civility intact. He has the intelligence to understand the grave economic and national security risks that face us, to listen to good advice and make careful decisions.

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.
Again, no chickens before hatching time, but should a tall dark gentleman from Illinois fulfill the promise of an earlier under-experience, eloquent, tall thin President from Illinois...well, what an epic story that would be.

The next several weeks are crucial for America renewal, for making good on everything we like to say about ourselves, our good will, our strong backs and elbow grease, the miracle of a nation of many peoples united as in no other country in history.

If these editorials keep coming, if the early voting continues to look so strong for Obama, if a sense of a winner actually encourages more voting rather than complacency (after all, would you want your state to be left out when the new President looks to help those who helped elect him?), then we could see the deluge some dare not even imagine.

If you believe, then the time is now -- not November 5th or 6th or 7th -- to join the party.

Now is the time to come pitch in.

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