Do endorsements for president still matter? Ed Morrissey of Hot Air and the Week recently wrote that “newspaper endorsements are at best meaningless anachronisms.” He argued that in today’s information age, “news consumers consider themselves more informed than their local editorial board, and their own perspective as more valuable, especially as they progress from formerly low-information voters to sophisticated followers of current events.”
It is true that it’s never been easier to gather information as it is now that it’s always just a click away -- and I know that there are people out there who agree with Morrissey. But I hardly think that makes endorsements obsolete. If anything, endorsements have never been more valuable. With so much information out there competing for our attention, I can’t think of anything more reassuring to voters than knowing that the local newspaper (or a trusted publication) has put in the time and effort and given serious consideration to its endorsements. And judging from the number of people who show up at my polling place with The Times’ endorsements in hand, or the many Facebook friends who’ve spent the last few weeks posting endorsements on their walls, I know I’m not alone. And for undecided voters, endorsements can go a long way toward helping them arrive at a decision. (Here's Times editorial board member Robert Greene discussing whether newspapers should make political endorsements on Monday's "Talk of the Nation.")
Obama’s first term proved he can deliver at home under the worst imaginable circumstances, battling multiple crises that individually would have sunk lesser presidents; abroad, Obama has restored American credibility and influence that was frittered away by former President George W. Bush. With a refocus on job creation and long-term sustainability, his second four years could impress even more.
Los Angeles Times
Obama brought a certain levelheadedness to the White House that had been in short supply during the previous eight years. While his opponents assailed him as a socialist and a Muslim and repeatedly challenged the location of his birthplace in an effort to call into question his legitimacy as president, he showed himself to be an adult, less an ideologue than a pragmatist, more cautious than cocky. Despite Republicans' persistent obstructionism, he pushed for -- and enacted -- stronger safeguards against another Wall Street meltdown and abusive financial industry practices. He cut the cost of student loans, persuaded auto manufacturers to take an almost unimaginable leap in fuel efficiency by 2025 and offered a temporary reprieve from deportation to young immigrants brought into the country illegally by their parents. He ended the morally bankrupt "don't ask, don't tell" policy that had institutionalized discrimination against gays in the military.
The nation has been well served by President Obama's steady leadership. He deserves a second term.
New York Times
President Obama has shown a firm commitment to using government to help foster growth. He has formed sensible budget policies that are not dedicated to protecting the powerful, and has worked to save the social safety net to protect the powerless. Mr. Obama has impressive achievements despite the implacable wall of refusal erected by Congressional Republicans so intent on stopping him that they risked pushing the nation into depression, held its credit rating hostage, and hobbled economic recovery. [...]
[W]e enthusiastically endorse President Barack Obama for a second term, and express the hope that his victory will be accompanied by a new Congress willing to work for policies that Americans need.
Would re-electing Obama bring to Washington, at last, the changed tone he promised four years ago? Barring a reversal that virtually no one expects, Obama again would face strident opposition to his tax priorities from a Republican House.
There is the prospect, though, that both parties would step back from the ugly rancor of national politics and put America -- Americans -- first. Republicans could no longer focus on the defeat of Barack Obama -- he can’t run for a third term. [...]
Bolstered by his steadiness in office, cognizant of the vast unfinished business before him, we endorse the re-election of Barack Obama.
As a result, this election offers American voters an unedifying choice. Many of The Economist’s readers, especially those who run businesses in America, may well conclude that nothing could be worse than another four years of Mr. Obama. We beg to differ. For all his businesslike intentions, Mr. Romney has an economic plan that works only if you don’t believe most of what he says. That is not a convincing pitch for a chief executive. And for all his shortcomings, Mr. Obama has dragged America’s economy back from the brink of disaster, and has made a decent fist of foreign policy. So this newspaper would stick with the devil it knows, and re-elect him.
Salt Lake Tribune
Romney has repeatedly refused to share specifics of his radical plan to simultaneously reduce the debt, get rid of Obamacare (or, as he now says, only part of it), make a voucher program of Medicare, slash taxes and spending, and thereby create millions of new jobs. To claim, as Romney does, that he would offset his tax and spending cuts (except for billions more for the military) by doing away with tax deductions and exemptions is utterly meaningless without identifying which and how many would get the ax. Absent those specifics, his promise of a balanced budget simply does not pencil out. [...]
Where, we ask, is the pragmatic, inclusive Romney, the Massachusetts governor who left the state with a model health care plan in place, the Romney who led Utah to Olympic glory? That Romney skedaddled and is nowhere to be found. [...]
In considering which candidate to endorse, The Salt Lake Tribune editorial board had hoped that Romney would exhibit the same talents for organization, pragmatic problem solving and inspired leadership that he displayed here more than a decade ago. Instead, we have watched him morph into a friend of the far right, then tack toward the center with breathtaking aplomb. Through a pair of presidential debates, Romney’s domestic agenda remains bereft of detail and worthy of mistrust.
Therefore, our endorsement must go to the incumbent, a competent leader who, against tough odds, has guided the country through catastrophe and set a course that, while rocky, is pointing toward a brighter day. The president has earned a second term. Romney, in whatever guise, does not deserve a first.
We reject the innuendo that some critics have heaped on the president. We don't think he's a business-hating socialist. We don't think he's intent on weakening the American military. We don't think he's unpatriotic. And, no, we don't think he was born outside the United States.
But after reflecting on his four years in the White House, we also don't think that he's the best qualified candidate in this race.
We endorse Mitt Romney for president.
Des Moines Register
Barack Obama rocketed to the presidency from relative obscurity with a theme of hope and change. A different reality has marked his presidency. His record on the economy the past four years does not suggest he would lead in the direction the nation must go in the next four years.
Voters should give Mitt Romney a chance to correct the nation’s fiscal course and to implode the partisan gridlock that has shackled Washington and the rest of America -- with the understanding that he would face the same assessment in four years if he does not succeed.
We don't question Obama's motives. The president sincerely believes in the inviolable ability of the federal government to make all things right. But Americans should see that this top-down approach doesn't work.
Romney, in contrast, would capitalize on individuals' ingenuity, not Washington directives. [...]
A few of Romney's stands trouble us. He can be bellicose on foreign affairs. His gushing enthusiasm for oil drilling and fossil fuels is a worry in Florida, where drilling off our Gulf of Mexico beaches would be a disaster.
But we are reassured by Romney's history as a deliberate leader of strong conservative values who will listen to others and carefully evaluate the facts.
Green Bay Press Gazette
In foreign policy, Romney missteps this past summer made some people cringe, such as criticizing the London Olympics on the eve of the opening. But he arrives on the job with no less experience in world affairs than Obama had when he was inaugurated.
Despite all this, we can’t ignore the state of the economy today. It is the overriding factor in people’s lives. How they pay for health care, how they pay for their mortgage, how they pay the bills, how they pay for retirement are all chief concerns that need to be answered. They are concerns that cut across classes and are paramount in deciding who should be in the White House.
How long can Obama blame his predecessor for the current financial woes without taking any responsibility for some of the economic duress and gridlock? At some point, the problems a president inherits become his problems if he hasn’t been able to solve them.
At that point, then, we need someone else in the White House who can solve them. We believe that person is Mitt Romney.
Los Angeles Daily News
Four years ago, the editorial board's willingness to change horses in the middle of a churning river led us to call for voters to break the Republican hold on the White House and try a Democrat with a fresh spark.
Today, it leads the editorial board to urge voters to say "enough" to a Democratic administration whose sincere best has turned out disappointing, and install a seasoned leader with a record of fixing problems.
Mitt Romney is that seasoned leader.
After nearly four years of economic stagnation, massive unemployment, record-setting debt and government intrusions into the economy that have paralyzed the private sector, the United States needs a new direction. For this reason, The Dispatch urges voters to choose Republican Mitt Romney for president in the Nov. 6 election. [...]
Obama has failed. That is why Mitt Romney is the preferred choice for president. Romney’s adult life has been spent turning around troubled private and public institutions. These turnarounds include scores of companies acquired and restructured by Bain Capital, the investment firm he founded in 1984. Not all were successes, but that is because to a significant degree, many of the companies Bain took on were high-risk. In 1999, he was asked to take over the scandal-plagued and fiscally mismanaged 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. He quickly streamlined its management, fixed its finances and guaranteed its security, turning it into a success. As governor of Massachusetts, he made tough decisions to lead the state out of a budget deficit, and he did so in a state dominated by Democrats. [...]
In 2008, Americans made a leap of faith when they elevated the inexperienced Obama to the White House. That faith was not rewarded. This time, voters should place their hopes for change in experience, by electing Romney.
Follow Alexandra Le Tellier on Twitter @alexletellier