Friday, October 24, 2008

EVENT: Indulgent Gushing About the New York Times.

We all knew that the New York Times was going to endorse Obama.

They've endorsed Democrats since 1960, including such uphill candidates as Walter Mondale and George McGovern. And good on them for doing so. We might even say that the Chicago Trib's Obama endorsement is more significant in the grand scheme of things. They haven't endorsed a Democrat in their 160 years history, predating the Civil War.

But while the Trib endorsement is both a worthy tribute to a hometown hero and a sober assessment of the world we live in, it was really the Times' endorsement that made me a little teary-eyed today. Because here it was, the most recognized newpaper in the world, a home to Nobel Prize winning economists and the most effective political cartoonists alive, endorsing the candidate we have hoped and striven for during the dark days of the last decade.

And no, Obama isn't perfect. Some of my more conservative friends say, "well, we have reservations." I can honestly say, "what would you hope for?" "Who more could you ask for?" Was FDR perfect? Was JFK perfect? My favorite Democrat is LBJ, and he certainly wasn't perfect. Perfection isn't the issue. Having someone who hears you and recognizes you, who hears and recognizes the complexity of the world, and wrings the best of the world... having this person is the issue. And the New York Times stood up tonight and spoke emphatically where too many in the media have been inclined to hedge and qualify.

"Watching him being tested in the campaign has long since erased the reservations that led us to endorse Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Democratic primaries."

"Mr. McCain, whom we chose as the best Republican nominee in the primaries, has spent the last coins of his reputation for principle and sound judgment to placate the limitless demands and narrow vision of the far-right wing."

"After nearly two years of a grueling and ugly campaign, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois has proved that he is the right choice to be the 44th president of the United States."

Thank you, New York Times. We didn't require your endorsement to understand the cost of the last decade or the promise of the next; the fact that our worst presidents shred the promise of an ambitious nation while the best define such ambition from the stuff of human flesh and soul.

But your words are correct, and simple, and direct, and eloquent.

They remind me that we were right about this stuff, this mess, this ache, the past, the hope and promise of the future.

This is our time, and it is a time I look forward to telling my children about.

More political caffeine to get us through the rough and tumble of the next two weeks...

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