Obama for president

Sunday, October 26
The problems that America faces as it prepares to elect a new president are well-documented. We are in the midst of an economic crisis that will have long-term effects beyond the painful savaging of Americans' retirement accounts. We are buried beneath a federal debt that hampers us now and will burden future generations if not addressed. We are fighting two foreign wars, one of which was begun with the recklessness and adventurism that we thought were the province only of lesser nations than our own.

Beyond that, America is suffering from a crisis of confidence. This can be attributed to the events listed above, as well as many others, but that crisis of confidence also feeds the bitterness and cynicism that prevent America from recovering its confidence and fulfilling its potential. It will take a unique individual to break this vicious cycle as president, but we are fortunate to have a candidate this November who has the potential to do so.

The Eagle endorses Barack Obama for president of the United States.

When Senator Obama began his campaign for the Democratic nomination nearly two years ago, his message of hope and change was energizing but needed fleshing out. He has done so in the months since, and his ability to stay on message in the face of withering criticism is impressive. Mr. Obama has responded to and deflated the charges brought in the course of the negative campaign of his opponent, Republican John McCain, but he has not lowered himself to respond in kind. His coolness under pressure is what America wants in a president and contrasts sharply to the anger and unpredictability of his opponent.

America needs a consensus builder in the White House, not the lone ranger it has endured for eight years. America needs someone who will fight to end the partisan rancor that paralyzes America, not fuel it, as his opponent has done. In both cases, we believe Barack Obama will be that president.

During the Wall Street crisis, Senator Obama called for stricter financial regulations and their enforcement, and this return to responsible government will benefit a middle class whose economic status has worsened over the past eight years. Senator McCain has tried to become a born-again regulator, but he long supported the hands-off policies that led to the Wall Street meltdown. In general, Senator McCain's willful inconsistency contrasts with the solidity of Senator Obama.

When America elects a president, it might also be in effect electing Supreme Court justices. In his current term, President Bush has appointed two more judicial activists who weakened the civil liberties to which the court should serve as the last line of defense. We believe that, if the occasion arises, Senator Obama will choose judicial moderates to the court who will show the respect for judicial precedent and the Constitution that is out of favor with the court's right-wing ideologues.

Senator Obama opposed the disastrous Iraq war from the beginning, and Senator McCain not only supported it but continues to do so today, opposing even a timetable for withdrawal. We trust the Democratic nominee to bring this war to an honorable conclusion within 16 months after the takes office. We also believe Senator Obama will embrace the traditional American position of working with other nations to address the world's complex issues, a welcome shift from the current administration's bullying unilateralism.

"Experience is helpful, but it is judgment that matters," said former Secretary of State Colin Powell in his endorsement of Senator Obama. We share Mr. Powell's confidence that Senator Obama will be a man of sound judgment as president.

For much of his career, Senator McCain has been a man of integrity and humor who spoke out against the excesses of both parties, and it is disappointing that he has abandoned so many long-held positions and engaged in negative campaigning in a bid to win election. Sarah Palin was chosen as a vice presidential running mate because of her appeal to the far right and the hope that women will vote for her out of gender loyalty, not because she was qualified for the position. Senator Obama, in contrast, chose in Joe Biden an experienced senator with considerable foreign policy experience who would be ready to serve as president should the need arise.

Senator Obama is not a miracle worker, and does not represent a cure-all solution for America's daunting problems. His potential for America, however, is considerable. Senator Obama is called an "elitist," but his intelligence and thoughtfulness are admirable. His eloquence, mocked by Senator McCain, is refreshing. These qualities have been absent from the White House for eight years, and their return to the highest office would be welcome. So would integrity, honor, consistency and compassion, all qualities that Senator Obama has demonstrated during a tough campaign. America deserves better, and the election of Barack Obama to the presidency will make us a better nation.


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