Friday, October 17, 2008

"The Right Man for a Perilous Moment"

Today, the Washington Post editorial team announced its endorsement of a candidate.

Barack Obama for President

I want to emphasize the significance of the Post's endorsement, because it is the leading newspaper in Washington, D.C. To quote its Wikipedia page, "It is widely considered to be one of the most important newspapers in the United States due to its particular emphasis on national politics, and international affairs, and being a newspaper of record." On that, I agree.

While it is often considered the liberal, left-leaning rag of the two papers in this town--the Washington Times, owned by the Rev. Sun-Young Moon of the Unification Church (the Moonies), is the other and is unquestionably right-leaning--the Post is known for being conservative in its editorial viewpoints. The significance of this endorsement is that, it has only been in very recent elections that the Post has actively, openly endorsed a candidate. Prior to 2004, the paper's policy was not to endorse a national candidate.

With that in mind, you will find that conservative reservation as you read the Post's endorsement of Obama. The endorsement is not what I would call rousing or wholehearted. They are careful to outline, point-by-point, issue-by-issue, why they are throwing their support behind the senator from Illinois. The entire piece can be summarized in these sentences:
The choice is made easy in part by Mr. McCain's disappointing campaign, above all his irresponsible selection of a running mate who is not ready to be president. It is made easy in larger part, though, because of our admiration for Mr. Obama and the impressive qualities he has shown during this long race. Yes, we have reservations and concerns, almost inevitably, given Mr. Obama's relatively brief experience in national politics. But we also have enormous hopes.... It gives us no pleasure to oppose Mr. McCain.... We think that he, too, might make a pretty good president. But the stress of a campaign can reveal some essential truths, and the picture of Mr. McCain that emerged this year is far from reassuring.... Mr. Obama's temperament is unlike anything we've seen on the national stage in many years. He is deliberate but not indecisive; eloquent but a master of substance and detail; preternaturally confident but eager to hear opposing points of view. He has inspired millions of voters of diverse ages and races, no small thing in our often divided and cynical country. We think he is the right man for a perilous moment.

*****

Regardless of this mixed review, the Post has endorsed Obama. This is the beginning. The game is on and we're in the last sprint.

7 comments:

lacochran said...

Yeah, Baby!

Scenic Wheaton said...

I was surprised to read this, because I assumed the Post was in the practice of endorsing Presidential Candidates. Apparently, I'm not as politically savvy as I thought - and I usually read the Washington Post everyday - but must have missed this one. Thanks for the informative post!

J.M. Tewkesbury said...

Lacochran: That's right!


Scenic: I was surprised by that, too. I'm going to do a little more digging, because it seems odd that a paper as powerful as the Post has only just recently started endorsing candidates. I'll get back to you on this one...

Virginia said...

Bravo!

j.m. tewkesbury said...

VJ: Hear! Hear!

Bilbo said...

I was very impressed by the Post's endorsement of Senator Obama - it wasn't the fawning, gushing verbiage that those who criticize the "mainstream media" would have expected...it was fair, honest, and nuanced. I think it was the best endorsement editorial I've ever read.

J.M. Tewkesbury said...

Bilbo: I also liked it for that reason. The honest tone was refreshing and forthright, making it very clear just how Obama would be watched and scrutinized should/when he wins.