Opinion: LA Times editorial board endorses McCain and Obama


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The Editorial Board of The Los Angeles Times has just announced that it will endorse Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama for the Republican and Democratic party nominations, respectively.

The editorials making the announcements will be published in Sunday’s editions of the newspaper, the first copies of which become available Saturday.

In its editorial on McCain, the Board, which is headed by Publisher David Hiller and is a totally separate body from the news-gathering side of the newspaper, said it did not agree with McCain on several important issues, such as gay rights and abortion. But it added, ‘the Arizona senator’s conservatism is, if not always to our liking, at least genuine. It reflects his fundamental individualism, spanning his distrust of big government, his support for immigration reform and his insistence on a sound American foreign policy.’


It also noted its disagreement with McCain on soldiering on in Iraq. But noted: ‘we welcome his insistence that America’s military posture be matched by its moral purpose. Alone among the Republican candidates, he would close the detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, which has become an international symbol of American U.S. arrogance. He has waged a principled and persistent effort to end the Bush administration’s embrace of torture as a weapon of war, a frightening concession to terrorism and an abdication of basic American values.’

The editorial praised his commitment to free trade, combating legislative earmarks and pushing his party to accept and combat global warming. It said he is ‘clear-eyed’ about the imperiled futures of Social Security and Medicare. But it added that McCain is not the only impressive Republican in the race and went on to praise Mitt Romney ‘as a vigorous and articulate alternative.’

‘We appreciate his analytical skills,’ the editorial notes, ‘as well as his distinguished record as governor of Massachusetts, where he pioneered healthcare reform and demonstrated leadership with his willingness to cross party lines for progress. But Romney has spent so much effort to convince Republicans he’s one of them that he has called his most basic values into question.’

It called Mike Huckabee ‘a good-natured man with an admirable record as governor of Arkansas’ who has allowed his Christian fundamentalism to so infuse ‘his secular views that he has drifted to the margins of the campaign.’

Concluding, the editorial adds, ‘We do not agree with John McCain on every issue. But we admire his conviction and stand with him on those that matter most right now.’

On the Democratic side the editorial board ‘strongly endorsed’ Obama, admitting there are two strong candidates but adding it’s not difficult to choose between them.

It calls Obama ‘an inspiring leader who cuts through typical internecine campaign bickering and appeals to Americans long weary of divisive and destructive politics.’ It notes that Hillary Clinton is ‘an accomplished public servant’ whose election would provide familiarity but that she failed a test of judgment and leadership by voting for the iraq war and then accusing President Bush of abusing the authority she helped give him.


Obama, the editorial says, ‘demonstrates as well that he is open-eyed about the terrorist threat posed to the nation, and would not shrink from military action where it is warranted. He does not oppose all wars, he has famously stated, but rather dumb wars. He also has the edge in economic policy, less because of particular planks in his platform than in his understanding that some liberal orthodoxies developed over the last 40 years have been overtaken by history. He offers leadership on education, technology policy and environmental protection unfettered by positions taken by previous administrations.’

The editorial concludes: ‘Obama’s candidacy offers the Democrats the best hope of leading America into the future, and gives Californians the opportunity to cast their most exciting and consequential ballot in a generation. Clinton would be a valuable and competent understudy, but Obama matches her in substance and adds something that the nation has been missing for far too long -- a sense of aspiration.’

--Andrew Malcolm

Photo credits:
John McCain: Kathy Willens / Associated Press
Barack Obama: Charles Rex Arbogast / Associated Press