FOR THE FIRST time in 72 years, The Record is endorsing a Democrat for president. Franklin D. Roosevelt got their nod in 1936. This makes me think of the 89-year-old man who called Barack Obama "FDR with a suntan."
Couldn't have said it better myself.
|Barack Obama is our choice for president of the United States. |
He has demonstrated time and again he can think on his feet. More importantly, he has demonstrated he will think things through, seek advice and actually listen to it.
Obama is a gifted speaker. But in addition to his smarts and energy, possibly his greatest gift is his ability to inspire.
For eight years, American politics has been marked by smears, fears and greed. For too long, we've practiced partisanship in Washington, not politics. The result is a cynicism every bit as deep as that which infected the nation when Richard Nixon was shamed from office and when Bill Clinton brought shame to the office.
This must end, but John McCain can't do it. He can't inspire, nor can he really break from a past that is breaking this nation.
McCain is an American hero, and he has served this country in the Senate with determination. He has gone against his party, but the fact is his ties to the Bush administration and its policies are deep. Americans know we cannot keep going down this path.
McCain, who has voted consistently for deregulation, started off two weeks ago declaring the U.S. economy fundamentally sound but ended the week sounding like a populist. Who is he really?
He tends to shoot from the hip and go on gut instinct. The nation cannot go through four more years of literally and figuratively shooting now and asking questions later.
But the fact is, we worry he won't have four years. If elected, at 72, he would be the oldest incoming president in U.S. history. He's in good health now, we're told, although he has withheld most of his medical records. That means Gov. Sarah Palin could very well become president.
And that brings us to McCain's most troubling trait: his judgment.
While praiseworthy for putting the first woman on a major-party presidential ticket since Geraldine Ferraro in 1984, his selection of Palin as a running mate was appalling. The first-term governor is clearly not experienced enough to serve as vice president or president if required. Her lack of knowledge is being covered up by keeping her away from questioning reporters and doing interviews only with those considered friendly to her views.
We're not suggesting Obama is without faults. He, like McCain, has demonstrated a marked lack of knowledge in recent days about the financial mess facing this nation.
But unlike McCain, who is trying to position himself as a born-again regulator, Obama would increase the oversight of our markets and demand accountability. He would actually put regulators in the oversight agencies that were systematically dismantled by the Bush administration.
While the blame doesn't all accrue to the Bush administration, the past eight years have been marked by looking the other way. McCain aided and abetted that behavior.
Republicans have tried repeatedly to paint Obama as an elitist. Hardly. He grew up in a single-parent home and, by the sheer force of his desire and cerebral horsepower, ended up at Harvard Law School, where he became the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review.
He could have gone for the money. He didn't. He went to Chicago, where he worked to give a voice to those who didn't have one.
That's hardly the mark of an elitist.
He hasn't lost touch with regular people, whereas McCain doesn't even know how many homes he owns.
Obama rose quickly through the Illinois Legislature and propelled himself into the U.S. Senate.
After winning the Democratic nomination against a large and highly experienced field of candidates, Obama picked one of them, Joe Biden, as his running mate. Biden brings to the ticket the vast foreign affairs experience and knowledge that Obama lacks.
Obama has been accused of being an empty suit, all talk and no action. There's no "there" there, his detractors say.
The charge is no more credible than that of him being an elitist.
Obama can inspire, and our nation desperately needs an inspirational leader. And he does not carry the deep scars of Vietnam, as do many of McCain's generation.
He offers hope. A new way of doing business. And a belief that our system of government can be made to work.
He's the clear choice.
Couldn't have said it better myself.