Monday, October 27, 2008

SAM's Presidential Endorsement: Barack Obama

In December 2007, SAM Online endorsed Barack Obama, who was running a distant second in the polls, and John McCain, whose campaign seemed all but finished, for their party's presidential nominations. Ultimately, each man was able to overcome long odds and claim victory. Since those endorsements, one candidate has proven to be more formidable than we imagined, while the other wilted under the adverse conditions his party faces.

The clarity of Barack Obama's vision for the country, as well as his intellectually honest approach to our economic crisis and energy policy earned him our endorsement in next week's election. Meanwhile, John McCain has failed to present a coherent consistent plan for dealing with the very real problems that face the nation.

In many respects, McCain was a victim of his party's past success. The Bush/ Rove playbook successfully split the country 51/49 and built a narrow coalition on extreme social conservatism, fear and distortion. The McCain of 2000, who we still optimistically consider the "real" McCain, would have done very well in this election. However, over the past two+ years running for president, McCain took the Rove- road, culminating in his pick of Sarah Palin for vice president.

The grossly under-qualified and over-matched Palin was far from the final link in a chain of startling and unfortunate choices made by McCain during the general election campaign: The William Ayers/ terrorist talk, the use of Obama's middle name by surrogates, McCain's conflicting statements on the economy, his fluid positions on major issues, his generic assurances ("I know how to catch Osama bin Laden...") and his current tactics, reminiscent of the Cold War, to scare voters with Socialism. These developments have all shown Senator McCain lacks the steady hand and political clarity the presidency requires.

Senator Obama has acted in just the opposite way. He has taken principled positions and defended them with the verve and conviction Democrats customarily lack. He's shown inner toughness in combating attacks, while maintaining dignity throughout this grueling process.

For example, in early debates during the Democratic primaries, Obama said he would be open to meeting with hostile foreign leaders. The Clinton campaign (and later the McCain camp) jumped on the statement-- believing it a serious gaffe. But Obama told his staffers then that no retraction would be given: he'd meant what he said. He's stuck to and defended that position up to now. It's one small example of the confidence, intelligence and level- headedness that Obama possesses, and it's part of what gives him the potential to be a great president.

Meanwhile, McCain, in an effort to rouse his base, ceded his campaign to a wing of the Republican party that is, as NY Times conservative columnist David Brooks put it, decidedly "anti-ideas." Mr. Brooks described Gov. Palin as the standard bearer for that section of the party and as a cancer on the Republican brand. Palin has continued the tactics of the Bush administration with attempts to divide the country between "real" and elitist America. With a strong memory of the last eight years, the American people have rejected the message, and it's an indictment of McCain that he allowed it to proceed.

In the serious times ahead of the country, we are far more comfortable with the thought of Senator Obama at the helm. He and his party are in the better position to deal with energy, health care, Iraq, the economy, and America's place in the changing world.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Powell on Board

One of the most impressive people I've ever been in the presence of, Colin Powell, made this endorsement on Meet the Press yesterday.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Letterman: Top Ten Things Overheard at Sarah Palin's Debate Camp

Top Ten Things Overheard at Sarah Palin's Debate Camp

10. "Let's practice your bewildered silence"

9. "Can you try saying 'Yes' instead of 'You betcha'?"

8. "Hey, I can see Mexico from here!"

7. "Maybe we'll get lucky and there won't be any questions about Iraq, taxes, or health care"

6. "We're screwed!"

5. "Can I just use that lipstick-pit bull thing again?"

4. "We have to wrap it up for the day -- McCain eats dinner at 4:30"

3. "Can we get Congress to bail us out of this debate?"

2. "John Edwards wants to know if you'd like some private tutoring in his van"

1. "Any way we can just get Tina Fey to do it?"