Friday, January 25, 2008

NYT Endorses Hillary, and Columbia State Obama

The New York Times' editorial page editor, Andrew Rosenthal, was not my "Mistaken Journalist of the Year" in the year just concluded for nothing. In endorsing Sen. Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination this morning, the NYT, essentially, used the main Clinton campaign themes, that she has the experience and would be ready on Day One.

There were one or two tepid hints that Hillary and Bill Clinton ought to clean up their campaign act, but the editorial never could quite get around to saying that they should drop the kind of tactics Sam Yorty once used against Tom Bradley.

Rosenthal also endorsed Sen. John McCain for the Republican nomination, arguing mainly that he is the least bad of the Republicans. It was manifest in these editorials that if Clinton and McCain are indeed the nominees, the New York Times will be with Clinton.

The editorial in the Columbia (South Carolina) State endorsing Sen. Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination in advance of South Carolina's Saturday's Democratic primary, was far more thoughtful, and also better written. I'm going to quote from it here, because 2008 is too important an election year to settle for anyone but the best.

"Hillary Clinton has been a policy wonk most of her life," the State editorial says, "a trait she has carried into the U.S. Senate. As her debate performances have shown, she has intelligence and a deep understanding of many issues. Her efforts in New York focused first on learning her adopted state's issues in detail, and pursuing legislation that would not necessarily grab headlines.

"But we also have a good idea what a Clinton presidency would look like. The restoration of the Clintons to the White House would trigger a new wave of all-out political warfare. That is not all Bill and Hillary's fault. But it exists, whomever you blame, and cannot be ignored. Hillary Clinton doesn't pretend that it won't happen. She simply vows to persevere, in the hope that her side can win. Indeed, the Clintons' joint career in public life seems oriented toward securing victory and personal vindication.

"Sen. Obama's campaign is an argument for a more unifying style of leadership. In a time of great partisanship, he is careful to talk about winning over independents and even Republicans. He is harsh on the failures of the current administration -- and most of that critique well deserved. But he doesn't use his considerable rhetorical gifts to demonize Republicans. He's not neglecting his core values, he defends his progressive vision with vigorous integrity. But for him, American unity -- transcending party -- is a core value in itself.

"Can such unity be restored, in this poisonous political culture? Not unless that is a nominee's goal from the outset. It will be a difficult challenge for any candidate; but we wait in the hope that someone really will try. There is no other hope for rescuing our republic from the mire.

"Sen. Obama would also have the best chance to repair the damage to America's global reputation. A leader with his biography -- including his roots in Africa and his years growing up overseas -- could transform the world's view of America. He would seize that opportunity..."

Amen! It's too bad for America, Rosenthal can't change places with the editorial page editor at the State newspaper.

In other political commentary this morning, Darryll Fears has a good piece in the Washington Post on black resentment of Bill Clinton for playing the race card in the South Carolina campaign against Obama.

And Arnie Steinberg, a Republican campaign analyst, quotes Dick Morris as saying the Clintons are consciously trying to alienate black voters, so they can create a black bloc vote for Obama, which in turn might engender more white votes for Hillary on Super Tueday.

Sound farfetched? Not at all. Bill Clinton, in particular, is not so much "the first black President" as he is a white Southerner. This is par for the course in dishonorable Southern politics, which I covered years ago.


The murder this morning of Lebanon's top terror investigator, and the violent moves of Hamas to keep the Gaza-Egyptian border open, demonstrate once again the evils of fundamentalist Islam. Not until it is crushed can peace possibly come to the Middle East.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once again, like a backwoods evangelical preacher, you call for crushing the "evils of fundamentalist Islam" to bring about a bloody "peace" in the middle east,yet you also seem enamored of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama whose rhetoric seems utterly antithetical to your bombast. Seems like you want it both ways,and the result isn't clarity.

1/25/2008 5:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said Ken and the Columbia State is right.

1/26/2008 5:26 PM  

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