Friday, October 17, 2008

The Washington Post endorses Obama "without ambivalence".

The Washington Post, a newspaper that is basically neo-conservative, has today issued it's endorsement of Barack Obama "without ambivalence".

That's extraordinary.

Their reasons for doing so?

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.

Mr. Obama is a man of supple intelligence, with a nuanced grasp of complex issues and evident skill at conciliation and consensus-building. At home, we believe, he would respond to the economic crisis with a healthy respect for markets tempered by justified dismay over rising inequality and an understanding of the need for focused regulation. Abroad, the best evidence suggests that he would seek to maintain U.S. leadership and engagement, continue the fight against terrorists, and wage vigorous diplomacy on behalf of U.S. values and interests. Mr. Obama has the potential to become a great president. Given the enormous problems he would confront from his first day in office, and the damage wrought over the past eight years, we would settle for very good.

The choice of Palin, as I said at the time, was enough on it's own to prove that McCain was unfit for the presidency as it showed that - despite his campaign claims - he was more than willing to put his chances of winning before what was good for the country. The notion that anyone could propose putting someone so dreadfully under qualified within a heart beat of leading the free world was simply scandalous. And I am pleased that an organisation as conservative as The Washington Post have listed that amongst their reasons.

I am also pleased that they accord Obama's intelligence as a reason to elect him over McCain.

McCain has campaigned for the presidency on the grounds that he was once a POW and little else. There is actually nothing about having once been a POW that prepares someone for the presidency, admirable as that history may be.

Obama, on the other hand, has shown time and again that he is a unique politician with a firm grasp of what the US needs to face it's current formidable challenges.

And they make very clear that McCain would normally be their default choice of candidate:

IT GIVES US no pleasure to oppose Mr. McCain. Over the years, he has been a force for principle and bipartisanship. He fought to recognize Vietnam, though some of his fellow ex-POWs vilified him for it. He stood up for humane immigration reform, though he knew Republican primary voters would punish him for it. He opposed torture and promoted campaign finance reform, a cause that Mr. Obama injured when he broke his promise to accept public financing in the general election campaign. Mr. McCain staked his career on finding a strategy for success in Iraq when just about everyone else in Washington was ready to give up. 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. To pass his party's tax-cut litmus test, he jettisoned his commitment to balanced budgets. He hasn't come up with a coherent agenda, and at times he has seemed rash and impulsive. And we find no way to square his professed passion for America's national security with his choice of a running mate who, no matter what her other strengths, is not prepared to be commander in chief.

His temperament causes worry. And the most obvious result of that rash temperament was the naming of Sarah Palin for his choice of VP.

Even a publication as conservative as The Washington Post recognises that this was one Hail Mary pass too far. McCain crossed a line with that choice, and put pleasing his insane base before the security of the nation.

When even The Washington Post name that as a reason for not endorsing him, we can safely say that McCain is now paying the price for that moment of unforgivable rashness.

And he deserves to. That decision was the worst and most reckless that I have ever seen made by any presidential candidate. I thought at the time that that decision alone should have disqualified him from serious consideration for the presidency.

I am very pleased to see that even conservative publications like The Washington Post recognise that fact.

Click title for The Washington Post's endorsement of Obama.

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