NEWS, OPINION & EDITOR’S COMMENT: It takes one to know one

Ted Kennedy endorsing Obama

ted-kennedy-obama.jpg Senator Edward M. Kennedy will endorse Barack Obama for president tomorrow, breaking his year-long neutrality to send a powerful signal of where the legendary Massachusetts Democrat sees the party going — and who he thinks is best to lead it.

Kennedy confidantes told the Globe today that the Bay State’s senior senator will appear with Obama and Kennedy’s niece, Caroline Kennedy, at a morning rally at American University in Washington tomorrow to announce his support. [complete article]

A president like my father

caroline-kennedy-obama.jpg Over the years, I’ve been deeply moved by the people who’ve told me they wished they could feel inspired and hopeful about America the way people did when my father was president. This sense is even more profound today. That is why I am supporting a presidential candidate in the Democratic primaries, Barack Obama.

My reasons are patriotic, political and personal, and the three are intertwined. All my life, people have told me that my father changed their lives, that they got involved in public service or politics because he asked them to. And the generation he inspired has passed that spirit on to its children. I meet young people who were born long after John F. Kennedy was president, yet who ask me how to live out his ideals.

Sometimes it takes a while to recognize that someone has a special ability to get us to believe in ourselves, to tie that belief to our highest ideals and imagine that together we can do great things. In those rare moments, when such a person comes along, we need to put aside our plans and reach for what we know is possible.

We have that kind of opportunity with Senator Obama. It isn’t that the other candidates are not experienced or knowledgeable. But this year, that may not be enough. We need a change in the leadership of this country — just as we did in 1960. [complete article]

A vote for Obama, and for something larger

People around this small Southern town say they know too well that it’s dangerous to guess at history before it’s happened — to hope that times have changed.

But after voting for Barack Obama on a chilly winter Saturday, in a town with a history of racial unrest, many African Americans couldn’t help but let themselves feel that they were taking part in something larger.

They saw their votes as helping to push a black man to victory in the South Carolina presidential primary — one that felt much bigger than Jesse Jackson’s win in the Democratic primary here 20 years ago.

On Saturday, African American schoolteachers talked about how an Obama in the White House would motivate students who complain that the deck is stacked against them. Parents hoped it would help them keep distracted sons on the straight and narrow. One woman felt it might even push those Confederate flags into the shadows. [complete article]

The Billary road to Republican victory

In a McCain vs. Billary race, the Democrats will sacrifice the most highly desired commodity by the entire electorate, change; the party will be mired in déjà 1990s all over again. Mrs. Clinton’s spiel about being “tested” by her “35 years of experience” won’t fly either. The moment she attempts it, Mr. McCain will run an ad about how he was being tested when those 35 years began, in 1973. It was that spring when he emerged from five-plus years of incarceration at the Hanoi Hilton while Billary was still bivouacked at Yale Law School. And can Mrs. Clinton presume to sell herself as best equipped to be commander in chief “on Day One” when opposing an actual commander and war hero? I don’t think so.

Foreign policy issue No. 1, withdrawal from Iraq, should be a slam-dunk for any Democrat. Even the audience at Thursday’s G.O.P. debate in Boca Raton cheered Ron Paul’s antiwar sentiments. But Mrs. Clinton’s case is undermined by her record. She voted for the war, just as Mr. McCain did, in 2002 and was still defending it in February 2005, when she announced from the Green Zone that much of Iraq was “functioning quite well.” Only in November 2005 did she express the serious misgivings long pervasive in her own party. When Mr. McCain accuses her of now advocating “surrender” out of political expediency, her flip-flopping will back him up. [complete article]

Editor’s Comment — If the pollsters asked the right questions, the political pundits might not be doing any better at predicting primary results but we surely could have a better understanding of what sways voters. My own opinion — backed up by not one iota of polling data — is that credibility is the central issue. Barak Obama promises to change the way politics works in Washington. It’s not a new line. Washington is regarded with such widespread contempt that even if a candidate has spent the last twenty years in Congress, he will still want to portray himself as outside the political establishment. This year, everyone claims they want to go (or go back) to Washington, to change Washington. The difference with Obama is that he really sounds like he means it and he even looks like he could do it. He’s appealing for a leap of faith and he’s inspiring voters to make that leap. And while pundits and critics point to the vagueness in his policy proposals, what Obama promises — a seismic shift in Washington’s political culture — would have far greater consequence than any particular policy change. Skeptics say that business-as-usual is too entrenched and that interest groups wield far too much power, but many Americans seem to think otherwise. As the political tide shifts and the establishment sees its own grip on power slipping, the desire to hold on will easily flip into a fear of being left behind.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email