Chicago Tribune Endorses Obama

I didn’t comment on The Washington Post’s endorsement of Sen. Barack Obama largely because I thought it was a foregone conclusion—it wasn’t news. After all the WaPo endorsed John Kerry in 2004. But this is news. The Chicago Tribune has endorsed Barack Obama’s bid for the presidency:

On Nov. 4 we’re going to elect a president to lead us through a perilous time and restore in us a common sense of national purpose.

The strongest candidate to do that is Sen. Barack Obama. The Tribune is proud to endorse him today for president of the United States.

Reportedly this is the first time the center-right newspaper has ever endorsed a Democratic candidate. The opinion of the Trib’s editorial board carries some weight with me. I certainly agree with this point:

We do, though, think Obama would govern as much more of a pragmatic centrist than many people expect.

I wrote much the same thing myself this morning. If true it would probably alarm his supporters more than his opponents.

As I’ve said in other places and other times, at this point I’m reluctantly leaning ever so slightly towards Obama. To some degree my voting for him would be the triumph of hope over reason—I continue to think that Barack Obama’s resume is extremely thin. I doubt that I’ll make my final decision until I’m actually in the voting booth but the Trib’s endorsement gives me a little more to think about.

More than anything else I think the Trib’s endorsement demonstrates how, through a combination of ideological blinders, excessive deference to George Bush, corruption, and just plain poor governance the Republicans have damaged themselves.

20 comments… add one
  • What amuses me — and it’s black comedy (no pun intended) indeed — is that many of the people voting for Obama seem to be doing so on the hope that he doesn’t mean what he says, and most of the people voting for McCain are doing so on the fear that Obama means exactly what he says. What an odd, strange trip it’s been.

  • Did I just type that? I meant to say, “What a long, strange trip it’s been.” But maybe the first way, rather than the quote, was more appropriate after all, if a little redundant.

  • Bill McDowell Link

    May I suggest that you may have served readers well to report on Barack’s past Illinois political campaigns and the role of the paper.

    May I ask that you characterize the role of the Trib in the case of the Democatric frontrunner Blair Hull’s fall from grace in that US Senate primary because of a wife battery charge? How would you characterize the role of the Trib in the case of the letting of the sealed custody hearings in Jack Ryan’s race against Barack for the US Senate seat.

    By role, I ask if you think the paper aided Barack’s campaigns inordinately? As the first scandal hit one month before the Democratic primary in Hull’s case, in particular.

    All after having won his first electoral position via a Democratic nomination for state senator where Barack was unopposed because the incumbent, his mentor Alice Palmer’s, signatures on her petition were deemed erroneous by his lawyers’ efforts in a number large enough to have her name dropped from the ballot.

    Lucky in his first race, lucky in the second race, lucky in the third race.

    Thank you for your consideration.


  • Pete Burgess Link

    Just imagine how an executive branch and legislative branch controlled by the same party, with perhaps a super majority, will benefit this nation. After all, we just got finished having 6 years of it with no super majority.

  • Pete, are you trying to frighten me?

  • J. Main Link

    Bill McDowell: ditto.

  • Bill McDowell Link

    J. Main, I appreciate your props.

    Dave, your thoughts on the Trib’s role.

    Also, please educate us on the world that is Chicago Politics because the nation has very little of the Democratic “Machine”?

    Last but not least, please give us your opinion of, not why Obama allied with Ayers, but what did Ayers see in a “junior lawyer from a small law firm” in Chicago that merited the position with the Woods Fund?

  • J. Main Link

    Bill, I hope I’m not interfering with your discussion with Dave. I believe Obama orIginally thought of running for mayor (i.e. encouraged by Harold Washington’s and Braun’s elections) and learned that was not going to happen in Mayor Daley’s Chicago. Senator-ships just happened along as a different road to a powerful place.

    Ayers needed him to front his idealogy (school them young toward a socialist platform, organize via the Black churches, make use of laws empowering the “underclass”–not just Blacks, but in Obamas case, the major focus) and the money to effect that was Woods, Annenburg, Joyce…logical board positions for a community organizer at the time and especially one with Obama’s credentials.

    Miner was an influential law firm when he joined; small but highly connected. You could “make a name” there far faster than at Sidley.

    The Trib has fallen off that right/centrist platform for years and, short term, may see an Obama presidency as a path to the Olympics (?) and a chance to revive their Chicago-area market until they can reorganize their assets.

    My concern: increasingly we are moving to a service market versus a producer of goods required to survive…not the glitz that one can sell to the Saudis. List the industries that are now overseas. As Perot said, a huge sucking sound.

    Thanks for insight.

  • I don’t fear the supermajority. I like accountability. Divided government is better in theory than it has been in practice. In practice what happens is competitive finger-pointing and no clear villain, so that accountability becomes a function of partisanship. People become ever more hardened in their partisanship, refusing to look at either party honestly, and we go around and around in circles accomplishing nothing.

    And in times of crisis it’s helpful sometimes to have less fighting for control of the steering wheel. If voters don’t like the supermajority (a supermajority I think highly unlikely) they’ll only have to endure it for two years.

  • You said:

    “If true it would probably alarm his supporters more than his opponents.”

    No, his supporters understood from day one that’s what the post-partisan appeal was all about. It did alarm the supporters of his primary election opponents. One of the major knocks on him by Paul Krugman, for example, was that his health care proposal was far less progressive than Hillary’s.

  • That’s a very astute observation, Mithras. I guess my point is that, just as so many of both the progressives who supported Bill Clinton and the conservatives who opposed him refused to the very end of his presidency to recognize that he wasn’t as progressive as the progressives wanted or as the conservatives feared, much the same is true of Barack Obama.

    Yes, Barack Obama is more progressive than Bill Clinton. I continue to believe that he isn’t ideological in the real sense of the word. Bill Ayers is ideological. Jeremiah Wright is ideological. I see few signs that Barack Obama is ideological in that sense.

    I think I’ll stop there since this idea is worth developing into a post on its own.

  • Buddy Link

    Why does Senator Obama deserve any credit in advance for governing to the center? After all, one primary problem conservatives have with George Bush is that he, too, was much more of a centrist in governing, particularly on domestic policy. Think about it — No Child Left Behind, drug benefit for Medicare enrollees both helped to contribute to spending that got completely out of hand the past 8 years. However, President Bush NEVER got credit from the opposition for his progressive deomestic policy achievements. In fact, he has been and continues to be reviled and ridiculed on the left. Which leads me to the conclusion that elected Republicans who hope they can placate the opposition by spending like them end up where we are today, just days away from a Democratic landslide and a fillibuster–proof Senate.

  • Anderson Link

    “However, President Bush NEVER got credit from the opposition for his progressive deomestic policy achievements.”

    Maybe b/c NCLB was a joke and the drug package was a giveaway to Big Pharma?

    As for Obama, I’m sure he’s a genuine — gasp! — liberal, but a certain degree of liberalism is quite compatible w/ governing from the center. One perk of watching the McCain campaign’s self-immolation has been the insight into how out of touch the GOP base is with the American center.

    The Democratic Party is no more “on speakin’ terms with itself” than it was in Mr. Dooley’s day, and there are quite enough conservative-leaning Dems in the caucus to keep a President Obama from getting too big for his britches.

    That said, if the campaign’s any indication, Obama looks very much like the kind of guy who will find out what support he’s got BEFORE announcing any initiatives. His people do their homework.

  • Bill McDowell Link

    You may have to look harder for the signs. The signs are found from those who influenced his in the first 20 years of his life as he floundered. Those early years are critical. They are critical to each and every one of us.

    Put yourself in his world. As a teenager, was he accepted in the Hawiian society as a mulato, being raised by his white grandparents? No, he was a mainlander in their eyes… a haole. His private schooling protected him somewhat from the social tagging. But who influenced his thinking during those impressionable early years and who were they? His grandparents with whom he must have had difficulty identifying with? Maybe. Their black friend Frank Marshall might be seen as his earliest mentor, introducing Barack to the ideology that shaped him in the mold that would seek out the JW and WA of his world.

    To paraphrase: I look at your friends such as Frank, Jeremiah, Bill, et al; and I see you.

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