Today, the Philadelphia Inquirer– one of the most widely read papers in South Jersey– endorsed Barack Obama for President:
Both major candidates are trying to avoid association with Bush’s failed policies. But only one does so successfully. On every issue important to America, Barack Obama offers a plan that would pull this nation from the precipice built by bad Bush decisions. The Inquirer endorses BARACK OBAMA for president.
While John McCain also promises “change,” it’s hard to believe that’s possible from someone who, by his own admission, has voted with Bush 90 percent of the time. On key issues such as campaign finance, pork-barrel spending, and humane interrogation of terrorism suspects, McCain has indeed been a “maverick.” But mostly, he and Bush have been on the same page.
More troubling was McCain’s selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate. This blatant overture to women voters and evangelical Christians who share her views on abortion backfired when Palin in interviews proved she is not prepared to be a heartbeat away from the presidency.
The Inquirer also compared the two candidates’ policy proposals on Iraq, taxes, energy, and health care, and it wasn’t even close:
Over the past four months, this Editorial Board has compared the candidates’ positions. In almost every case, Obama has a superior proposal for this nation. Consider:
Give McCain credit for supporting the successful “surge” of additional U.S. troops to Iraq. But McCain opposes a timetable for leaving Iraq, something even the Iraqi government wants. Obama wants a reasonable timetable for withdrawal, coordinated to protect U.S. troops, that would allow our focus to shift to the Afghanistan/Pakistan border area, where Osama bin Laden is holed up.
One of the most persistent deceptions in this campaign is McCain’s claim that Obama proposes “painful tax increases on working American families.” Obama would raise income taxes on households earning more than $250,000 per year. Most households – 81 percent – would receive a tax cut. The nonpartisan Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center has calculated that households earning between $37,595 and $66,354 a year would save $1,118 on their taxes annually under Obama’s plan. McCain’s proposal would save those same families, on average, $325.
On energy, both McCain and Obama favor alternatives such as wind, solar and biofuels to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. But McCain wrongly emphasizes offshore drilling, which will have minimal impact, and building more nuclear plants, which will take decades.
Obama would provide health insurance to more Americans. He would subsidize premiums for the working poor, mostly paid for by repealing the Bush tax cuts but also by requiring businesses that don’t provide medical benefits to contribute. McCain’s idea to provide medical tax credits of $2,500 per person and $5,000 for families would come at a hefty cost, ending the tax break given workers whose health care is paid for them at work.
The board concludes with a powerful, simple argument:
These times demand steady, focused leadership. Leadership that takes America far from the policies that have created so much fear. Leadership that says it’s OK to hope, because hope properly directed yields results. Barack Obama is ready to provide that leadership.
Now, why I did I mention in this diary’s title that the Inquirer “Kind of” endorsed Obama? Because they took the highly unusual step of noting their endorsement was not unanimous among the editorial board, and as such, they posted a short bit on the dissenters’ views. I’m warning you, it ain’t pretty:
Ask people to describe McCain and the first response often is, “He’s honest.” What you see is what you get. There are no mysterious associations to dance around. No 20-year attendance of a church whose pastor preached anti-American sermons. No serving on an education reform panel with a domestic terrorist. No financial support from a convicted felon. No ties to a group currently under investigation for possible voter-registration fraud.
And McCain didn’t hire as a strategist David Axelrod, who helped lead Mayor John Street’s race-baiting reelection campaign.
Wow. Sounds like someone on the editorial board is not exactly a happy camper.