This endorsement is, to borrow a word from Andrew Sullivan, staggering. This is not only an endorsement of Obama but a severe criticism of McCain’s campaign from the heart of conservative Texas A&M:
In the past 50 years, The Eagle has never recommended a Democrat for president. We made no recommendations in 1960 and 1964 — when Texas’ own Lyndon B. Johnson was on the Democratic ticket — nor did we in 1968 — although we did praise Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey’s position on the Vietnam War. We did not in 1976 and 1980. In 1972, The Eagle recommend Richard Nixon, in 1984, Ronald Reagan. We recommended George H.W. Bush in 1988 and 1992 and his son in 2000. We recommended Bob Dole in 1996.
Four years ago, the Editorial Board couldn’t recommend George W. Bush for a second term, but we also couldn’t recommend Sen. John Kerry either, so we made no choice.
This year is different, in large part because of the very difficult challenges facing this nation after eight years of a failed Bush administration. We are faced with a choice between Sen. John McCain, who claims to be an agent of change but promotes the policies of the past, and Sen. Barack Obama, who also wears the change mantle, but offers a vision for the future, even if he has yet to fully explain how he would carry out that vision if elected president in little more than two weeks.
Every 20 or 30 years or so, a leader comes along who understands that change is necessary if the country is to survive and thrive. Teddy Roosevelt at the turn of the 20th century and his cousin Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan — these leaders have inspired us to rise to our better nature, to reach out to be the country we can be and, more important, must be.
Barack Obama is such a leader. He doesn’t have all the answers, to be sure, but at least he is asking the right questions. While we would like more specificity on his plans as president, we are confident that he can lead us ever forward, casting aside the doubts and fears of recent years.
John McCain is a great American, no question. He served his country with honor in the Navy – enduring five years of hell in a North Vietnamese prison — and he has represented Arizona and, indeed, the country well in the Senate. He has been a maverick at times, but his unbridled support for the Iraq War shows a lack of understanding at the weariness of the military and the country to remain much longer in a country unwilling or unable to govern itself.
Perhaps Obama won’t be able to bring American men and women safely home from Iraq in the promised 16 months, but at least he is willing to make the effort.
Also of great concern is McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate. Like Obama, she has little experience in governing, but unlike the Illinois senator, she is a candidate of little intellectual curiosity who appears to be hopelessly unready to be president. The fact that people are confused by the difference between Palin and comedian Tina Fey’s caustic impersonation is clear evidence that Palin should not be, as they say, a heartbeat away from the presidency.
We also are dismayed by the tenor of the McCain-Palin campaign. If their goal is to severely wound an Obama presidency should that come to pass, they are dangerously close to succeeding.
It is time for America to look to its future with hope and optimism. It is time to say we can be better. It is time to redefine who we will be as a leader of nations.
With hope in our hearts and confidence in our choice, The Eagle recommends a vote for Barack Obama for president.