WaPa Endorses Obama
The Washington Post, after months of agonizing, has decided to endorse Barack Obama for president.
No, I’m not surprised, either. While their editorial tone is relatively centrist — they even supported the Iraq War before they turned against it — they have long had sympathies with the Democratic Party. I am, however, somewhat bemused by their rationale.
Take, for instance, their opening sentence:
THE NOMINATING process this year produced two unusually talented and qualified presidential candidates.
Really? Compared to what? Certainly, by traditional measures, Barack Obama is the least qualified nominee in modern presidential history. He’s been in the Senate less than four years, most of which time he’s spent running for president. He’s held no other notable offices.
As to talent, I’ll grant that Obama is unusually bright and gifted at political campaigning, even by presidential standards. But, on the latter score, McCain’s probably subpar. Indeed, they devote substantial space to explaining how disappointed they are that McCain’s campaign didn’t live up to expectations.
Essentially, they base their entire argument for Obama on the fact that he’s run a smooth campaign, that he’s promised some cool stuff, and that he probably doesn’t really mean the truly stupid, dangerous things he’s said.
Mr. Obama’s greatest deviation from current policy is also our biggest worry: his insistence on withdrawing U.S. combat troops from Iraq on a fixed timeline. Thanks to the surge that Mr. Obama opposed, it may be feasible to withdraw many troops during his first two years in office. But if it isn’t — and U.S. generals have warned that the hard-won gains of the past 18 months could be lost by a precipitous withdrawal — we can only hope and assume that Mr. Obama would recognize the strategic importance of success in Iraq and adjust his plans.
We also can only hope that the alarming anti-trade rhetoric we have heard from Mr. Obama during the campaign would give way to the understanding of the benefits of trade reflected in his writings. A silver lining of the financial crisis may be the flexibility it gives Mr. Obama to override some of the interest groups and members of Congress in his own party who oppose open trade, as well as to pursue the entitlement reform that he surely understands is needed.
ANY PRESIDENTIAL vote is a gamble, and Mr. Obama’s résumé is undoubtedly thin. We had hoped, throughout this long campaign, to see more evidence that Mr. Obama might stand up to Democratic orthodoxy and end, as he said in his announcement speech, “our chronic avoidance of tough decisions.”
Shorter WaPo: “Except for his foreign policy, domestic policy, and economic policy, he’s great!”