The University News endorses Obama

During the presidential primaries, the editorial board of The University News endorsed Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain to represent their respective parties in the 2008 presidential election. These two candidates were chosen because they presented the greatest degrees of poise, integrity and sound reasoning for progressive policies among their fellow contenders.

After a hearty election season-one rife with debates, rallies, advertisements and spoofs-and after the selection of running mates, The University News selects the Democratic team of Obama and Sen. Joe Biden to lead this country for the next four years.

Already ubiquitous in candidate’s speeches, newspaper endorsements and popular discourse, it’s clear that this will be a landmark election. Obama said it well in his recent rally in St. Louis in front of nearly 100,000 people: This election will make history. This election will alter America’s understanding of itself. This change is due to demographic shifts, as well as waves of economic, military and energy crises.

The choice for president isn’t just one choice. A vote is the synthesis of many choices. With one vote, you choose a single leader as well as a political regime. A vote selects an executive figurehead as well as an executive force, a man as well as a ruling coalition.

This editorial board recognizes that it is important to judge both before choosing a president.

In terms of ethos, the board solidly endorses Obama, who promises to inspire people, unify dissimilar groups under one set of policies and deliver well-reasoned and well-explained decisions. Our idea of Obama is an idea of an inspiring equalizer. Reaching across party lines, emphasizing similarities rather than differences, bridging gaps in wealth and in opportunity, tying the nation together-all of these images make up the greater conception of the man. He’s educated. He’s levelheaded. He’s deliberate. He’s polished. His rhetorical skills are tremendous. People listen to Obama. People want to trust him.

Yes, Obama is spectacular orator–but oration alone does not make a true leader. Speaking skills can be used to manipulate as well as to heal. For this reason, speaking skills are not enough. Images are not enough. Promises are not enough.

Voters must consider a candidate’s ideology and decision-making past. McCain is widely acknowledged as an American hero. However, hero-worship and deification of either candidate will inevitably lead to disappointment.

For policy, ideology and integrity, the board also endorses Obama, though priorities for that choice vary from member to member. We vary on just how much stake government should take in economic policy, but Obama’s stance on issues such as college affordability, education standards, gay civil rights and energy policy particularly appeal to the board.

With that in mind, this editorial board endorses Obama and considers him to be the best man to lead our country.