May 13, 2008

Endorsement: Obama is the best choice

The decision about whom to endorse in the Democratic presidential primary was easier for some of the LEO brain trust than others. We endorse Barack Obama.We’ve preached for a while that there are no perfect candidates — they’re all co-opted and compromised to some extent. Because many high-level politicians are practiced in the art of manipulation, it seems there is risk in believing anything anymore. This is but one of many disastrous aspects of George W. Bush’s legacy. But where does that leave us? We agree with those who say Obama’s election would signal to the world that the United States is coming out of its funk, that we are ready to again pursue the profound virtues promised by our revolutionary form of government. We also agree with former U.S. Rep. Lee Hamilton, who says you can tell a great deal about candidates by how they run their campaigns. Judging by the response Obama has engendered, this country is hungry for him. More than 10,000 people showed up to hear him speak Monday in Louisville. The Friday before, fewer than 1,000 came out for Clinton. We’ve heard about it across the country, and now we’ve seen it here. The difference in the way Obama inspires people is real, and his crowd here was wildly diverse and absolutely electric — even though conventional political wisdom says he will lose this state by a dramatic margin. We hear the complaints that Obama lacks specifics (patently false), and the speculation that he won’t play well among white working-class voters. We’re not scared. It is time to fight the Big Fight and quit putting it off until such future time when the stars all line up. We don’t think the stars will ever line up on their own. We think it’s time to call the question: Is America ready to move forward — in policy, in race relations, in changing the divisiveness of our political parties? Politicians lie. And we know specifically about the ilk of Clintonian lying. Hillary Clinton has bet her own ego on this election rather her party’s or, for that matter, America’s, and that makes her dangerous at this point. This primary will ultimately judge whether the country is prepared to move beyond the politics of complicity, as Charles P. Pierce recently put it in Esquire, or whether it will remain to wade in the cesspool of death-to-the-uncomfortable-truth Clinton-style politics that has now helped split the Democratic Party into two factions. That kind of politics could only, when faced with the specter of corrupt Republican campaigning a la Bush, McCain and Co. this fall, retort rather than rise above. America needs to be drawn out of that binary construction. Obama is also a product of that system, but an ancillary part. He seems like a transformative alternative at a time when only transformation will do. Barack Obama may well turn out to be an historically important leader. Times have changed. No longer can the United States bend the rest of the world to its will through sheer size and force. We need someone who can navigate these complexities and inspire our country back onto a higher plane. We think Barack Obama is the right choice on May 20.Endorsement: ANOTHER TAKEOnly recently have I felt like the small group of musicians who continued to play their music even as the Titanic sunk in the Atlantic. It’s over, people tell me. Jump ship. Save yourself. Women and children first. I have put women first by standing behind Hillary Clinton from the beginning, and I refuse to jump ship until she harkens the fat lady to sing. I still have hope that she can pull out a victory, and I refuse to crunch the numbers or listen to the naysayers if they pontificate otherwise. By now, you and I have heard all the arguments for and against both candidates. She’s got more experience. He’s got more charisma. She’s got the older female vote. He’s got the youth. The only important question you should be asking is: Who would you trust the most to run this country — to clean up the mistakes from the former administration, to resuscitate our global reputation, to get our lives and bank accounts out of the red? Who would you trust? Who could you trust? Her last name says it all for me. She not only brings the experience from her time in the White House, but she has Bill and Chelsea in her corner. I think it’d only be fitting for a Clinton to once again clean up the mess of a Bush. And I think Hillary has great ideas for solving some of our country’s major problems, especially healthcare. This race isn’t over. I’m playing my violin till the end. The beat goes on. —Sara Havens