The top five endorsements of this election year

With all the talk brewing on the Flat Hat’s website about the Editorial Board’s recent “endorsement”: of candidates for the upcoming election, I thought it might be interesting to take a look at newspapers nationwide, and how their editorial boards or columnists writing in their opinion pages decide to endorse candidates. Here’s an excellent compilation, courtesy of the “Wall St. Journal”: of newspapers all over the country that have endorsed Senator Barack Obama or Senator John McCain for President. (Obama currently leads the newspaper endorsement nationwide by a “tally of 231-102”:

Also, here are my five favorite endorsements from the 2008 campaign, including the primaries:

5) The New York Times “endorses”: John McCain for the Republican nomination. January 25, 2008.

Sure, after eight years of the Bush administration, any endorsement of a Republican candidate in a national election by the New York Times feels like a “we’re only doing this because we have to” situation. Nevertheless, there are some pretty humorous points in here, the most enjoyable of which concerns their treatment of Rudy Giuliani, New York’s former mayor. “Mr. Giuliani’s arrogance and bad judgment are breathtaking” they wrote, adding that “The Rudolph Giuliani of 2008 first shamelessly turned the horror of 9/11 into a lucrative business, with a secret client list, then exploited his city’s and the country’s nightmare to promote his presidential campaign.” Ouch.

4) David Brooks, syndicated columnist, runs a column titled “Hoping it’s Biden”:,1518,573673,00.html August 22, 2008.

Brooks, who generally leans Republican, endorsed Biden for Obama’s VP pick before Obama even made the announcement (although he knew that Obama had made a selection and that the announcement would take place the next day.) He writes that for the betterment of the country, Obama should pick Biden because he is genuine and provides the experience that the junior Senator from Illinois needed. It is incredibly well-written and explains how the Delaware Senator would provide the working-class roots and the ability for Democrats to bridge the gap toward the Joe the Plumbers. It seems to have worked, but we’ll see what happens next week. (Note: Brooks never officially endorsed either candidate, although he did come “pretty close”: in a recent column)

3) Charles Krauthammer, columnist for The Washington Post, “endorses”: John McCain. October 24th, 2008.

I’ve got to give Krauthammer credit here. While Republicans all around him are jumping on the Obama train, the conservative columnist, as he so eloquently puts it, “will go down with the McCain ship.” He builds his case on foreign policy, specifically the threat from Islamist extremism and Iran to support McCain, whom he finds experienced and sound in judgment. He derides Obama, calling him “the most liberal and inexperienced presidential nominee in living memory.” It’s a good read, but to get an interesting idea of where Krauthammer is coming from, check out John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt’s “The Israel Lobby: and American Foreign Policy.”

2) The Concord (N.H.) Monitor runs an “anti-endorsement”: of Mitt Romney. December 22, 2007.

This one hits close to home for me, as I grew up in New England and was in New Hampshire around this time working on a primary campaign in Manchester. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed harder than when I first read this. The editorial begins with a description of how the physical portrait of Mitt Romney is exactly what you would picture in a President, then goes on to say how everything else about the man is reason to run for the hills. They describe his constant shape shifting and political maneuvering, showing how he had completely reversed his stance on several key issues from when he had been Governor of Massachusetts. Some of the best gems? “The most stunning turnaround he has engineered is his own political career … You’re left to wonder if there’s anything at all at his core … If a candidate is a phony, we [New Hampshire voters] assure ourselves and the rest of the world, we’ll know it. Mitt Romney is such a candidate.” I don’t think anybody ever wanted to be Mitt Romney, but you definitely didn’t after that.

1)The New York Times “endorses”: Barack Obama for President. October 23rd, 2008.

Hardly a surprise, but this was one of the most well-written editorials I’ve ever read. Consider some of the main points. “Hyperbole is the currency of presidential campaigns, but this year the nation’s future truly hangs in the balance.” Hyperbole in its own right, but true. “After nearly two years of a grueling and ugly campaign, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois has proved that he is the right choice to be the 44th president of the United States.” We’ll let the voters decide this one, but it looks like they’re right. “In the same time, Senator John McCain of Arizona has retreated farther and farther to the fringe of American politics, running a campaign on partisan division, class warfare and even hints of racism.” Sad, but incredibly true. Folks out there may not agree with this editorial, but I don’t think it could have been better articulated or more passionate.


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