Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

Newspapers are endorsing early, and for Barack Obama

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Originally published on on Tue, 09/30/2008 – 10:20am

Newspaper endorsements: we’re supposed to ignore them yet they still happen. Some newspaper endorsements are obvious: The New York Times will likely endorse Barack Obama for president. The Washington Times will likely endorse John McCain for president.

There are a few newspapers that flipped from tradition and voted against the Republican Party nominee in 2004. But often, newspaper endorsements come down to endorsing the [INSERT PARTY’S NAME HERE] candidate for president.

And usually, endorsements come down the pike toward the end of the campaign, when the debates have already aired, when the candidates have had their chance to show the country what they might do in the White House. They do this, even if they know in the summertime who their endorsement will be.

But we are starting to see a few endorsements already rolling in.

The Seattle Times endorsed Barack Obama. Okay, this isn’t a shock, especially if you’ve read the paper. What was a little surprising is that the endorsement came on September 25.

Here’s the shocker: The Stockton Record, a California paper that has endorsed Republicans every time since 1936, went for Obama on September 28 with this headline: Choice is clear: Obama for president.

You can tell when you read the endorsement that the editorial board didn’t like endorsing a Democrat, but felt like it had no choice.

We’re not suggesting Obama is without faults. He, like McCain, has demonstrated a marked lack of knowledge in recent days about the financial mess facing this nation.

But unlike McCain, who is trying to position himself as a born-again regulator, Obama would increase the oversight of our markets and demand accountability. He would actually put regulators in the oversight agencies that were systematically dismantled by the Bush administration.

While the blame doesn’t all accrue to the Bush administration, the past eight years have been marked by looking the other way. McCain aided and abetted that behavior.

Closer to our home, we are wondering (like others) whether the Chicago Tribune will endorse Obama. You could think, “gee, it’s the hometown paper of the Democratic candidate” but the newspaper has NEVER endorsed a Democrat, not even FDR.

A lot of that was the legendary Colonel McCormick, who ran things for the newspaper for a long time. But the pro-Republican Party agenda has continued so far. The Tribune is under new ownership (Sam Zell), but the paper still won’t be eager to make the switch.

The Chicago Tribune probably won’t be the most conservative paper to flip and possibly endorse Obama. But even though it’s the major hometown paper (sorry, Sun-Times), a Chicago Tribune endorsement of Barack Obama, even a begrudging one, would be a gigantic step toward MSM consensus that there is a obvious difference in leadership.

Has the traditional Tribune Republican endorsement had any impact? I don’t have the figures, but national Democrats do quite well in the city, have been doing better in the suburbs, and Illinois last voted for a GOP presidential candidate in 1988.


Written by democracysoup

September 30, 2008 at 10:20 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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