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.The Tribune Editiorial Board stated that they've worked with Obama over the last dozen years as he rose to this historic position. They say they have confidence in "intellectual rigor, his moral compass and his ability to make sound, thoughtful, careful decisions. He is ready." And they talk about the substance of the "Change" Obama puts forth: the Tribune says that "Obama envisions a change in the way we deal with one another in politics and government. His opponents may say this is empty, abstract rhetoric. In fact, it is hard to imagine how we are going to deal with the grave domestic and foreign crises we face without an end to the savagery and a return to civility in politics."
But the real significance of the Chicago Tribune's endorsement is this: in the paper's history, they have never before endorsed the Democratic Nominee for President.
The Tribune in its earliest days took up the abolition of slavery and linked itself to a powerful force for that cause--the Republican Party. The Tribune's first great leader, Joseph Medill, was a founder of the GOP. The editorial page has been a proponent of conservative principles. It believes that government has to serve people honestly and efficiently.The Tribune editorial in full cites Obama's ability to listen carefully to people who disagree with him; his ability to build consensus; how he worked with Republicans in the Illinois legislature on several key issues in the state.
Obama, they say, "is is deeply grounded in the best aspirations of this country, and we need to return to those aspirations." Frankly, when the Chicago Tribune endorsed Obama, that was a huge step in returning to those aspirations.
The other truly significant endorsement from this weekend was from former Sec. of State Colin Powell. Describing Obama as "a transformational figure", Powell broke ranks with the Republican Party in his endorsement. Powell cited the negative nature of McCain's campaign, and said that Obama's nature is better-suited to solving the problems the US faces.
Rush Limbaugh says Powell's endorsement is about race.
OK, fine. I am now researching his past endorsements to see if I can find all the inexperienced, very liberal, white candidates he has endorsed. I'll let you know what I come up with.Of course, Powell donated money to John McCain's campaign last year, and waited until two weeks before the election to make any endorsement. Powell said it was about the way the campaigns were being run, and the candidates they have both become. Had it been about race, Powell said he would have endorsed Obama when he first announced he was running for President.
Obama's full list of endorsers includes a host of Republicans, conservatives. The reasons they all give talk about his ability to remain calm and build consensus. This gives me hope.