Diatribes of Jay

This is a blog of essays on public policy. It shuns ideology and applies facts, logic and math to economic, social and political problems. It has a subject-matter index, a list of recent posts, and permalinks at the ends of posts. Comments are moderated and may take time to appear. Note: Profile updated 4/7/12

20 October 2008

Barack Obama’s Good Weekend and Sterling Endorsements


Barack Obama had a good weekend. On the weekend or the Friday before, the following things (in no particular order) went his way:

Most Single-Month Contributions in U.S. History. Obama’s campaign tallied a total of $150 million in donations for the month of September, including contributions from 632,000 new donors. That was the largest single-month total for any candidate in U.S. history, although the average donation was less than $100.

Huge Crowd in St. Louis. Appearing before the “Gateway to the West” in St. Louis, Obama drew a crowd of over 100,000 people. The sight from the podium was so impressive [see photo in linked article] that Obama momentarily lost his legendary unflappability.

Colin Powell Endorsement. General Colin Powell, former Secretary of State, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, a lifelong Republican, and a man with an extraordinary record of good judgment on foreign policy, endorsed Obama and said he would vote for Obama.

Washington Post Endorsement. The Washington Post, the most independent and centrist of our three great national newspapers, endorsed Obama in an extraordinarily balanced and thoughtful editorial.

Chicago Tribune Endorsement. The Chicago Tribune—a conservative newspaper that had never endorsed a Democrat for president in its entire century-and-a-half history endorsed Obama.


These endorsements augmented many earlier endorsements of prominent figures in both parties, including the following [links are to the endorsements or reports on them]:

Senator Edward Kennedy (D., Mass.), the Lion of the Senate and for 45 years the conscience of the Democratic Party

Chistopher Buckley, a leading conservative and the son of William F. Buckley, the intellectual founder of modern conservatism

Ken Burns, video historian and expert on the Civil War, who compared Obama to Lincoln

Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Advisor, who praised Obama’s judgment in matters of foreign policy

Ted Sorenson, friend of and close advisor to President Jack Kennedy and chronicler of the Kennedy “Camelot,” who compared Obama to JFK

In addition, the following consistently and adamantly conservative columnists, although not going so far as to endorse Obama, have praised him and his candidacy:

David Brooks, conservative commentator for the New York Times and the Lehrer News Hour, who wrote of Obama:
“[I]t is easy to sketch out a scenario in which he could be a great president. . . . He could gather—already has gathered—some of the smartest minds in public policy, and, untroubled by intellectual insecurity, he could give them free rein. Though he is young, it is easy to imagine him at the cabinet table, leading a subtle discussion of some long-term problem.”

Charles Krauthammer, conservative columnist for the Washington Post, who said of Obama, “he’s got both a first-class intellect and a first-class temperament. That will likely be enough to make him president.”

When a candidate garners endorsements from the most widely respected public figures of both parties (Colin Powell for the Republicans and Ted Kennedy for the Democrats), and when his natural opposition begins to praise him, you know that something unusual is going on.

Many of the opposition are scared to death that Sarah Palin might actually succeed to the presidency. But that was only part of it. Every one of the endorsers and near-endorsers praised Obama’s intellect, judgment, or temperament (or all three), and all thought he could be a great president.

Now if we could just break through the McCain campaign’s “demagoguery” (Colin Powell’s term [search for “demagoguery”]) and make Joe and Mary six-pack understand.

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