Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Economist endorses Obama

Here's the meat of it:
There is no getting around the fact that Mr Obama’s résumé is thin for the world’s biggest job. But the exceptionally assured way in which he has run his campaign is a considerable comfort. It is not just that he has more than held his own against Mr McCain in the debates. A man who started with no money and few supporters has out-thought, out-organised and outfought the two mightiest machines in American politics—the Clintons and the conservative right.

Political fire, far from rattling Mr Obama, seems to bring out the best in him: the furore about his (admittedly ghastly) preacher prompted one of the most thoughtful speeches of the campaign. On the financial crisis his performance has been as assured as Mr McCain’s has been febrile. He seems a quick learner and has built up an impressive team of advisers, drawing in seasoned hands like Paul Volcker, Robert Rubin and Larry Summers. Of course, Mr Obama will make mistakes; but this is a man who listens, learns and manages well.

It is hard too nowadays to depict him as soft when it comes to dealing with America’s enemies. Part of Mr Obama’s original appeal to the Democratic left was his keenness to get American troops out of Iraq; but since the primaries he has moved to the centre, pragmatically saying the troops will leave only when the conditions are right. His determination to focus American power on Afghanistan, Pakistan and proliferation was prescient. He is keener to talk to Iran than Mr McCain is— but that makes sense, providing certain conditions are met.
So the reasons to endorse him are:
  • He's run a good campaign
  • He gave a good speech about race
  • He didn't freak out during the financial crisis
  • He has good advisers
  • He moved to the foreign policy center after the primaries
Count me underwhelmed. Honestly, it's almost formulaic at this point. Like Anne Applebaum, The Economist endorsement follows a pattern of :
  • Lamenting how the "real" John McCain disappeared during the election,
  • A swipe at Sarah Palin
  • Acknowledgment of Obama's shortcomings
  • An explanations of why those shortcomings aren't a big cause for concern usually because of vague suspicions he will be more centrist once in office (even while John McCain with a longer record isn't accorded the same benefit of the doubt)
  • Some tortured logic justifying the endorsement (e.g. he ran a great campaign!)
The last point cited by The Economist about speaking with Iran once certain conditions are met is particularly bizarre, given that the whole controversy about speaking with the country arose precisely because Obama agreed to do so unconditionally.

Then again, I guess when you are endorsing a figure with such a thin record of accomplishment you have to grasp at any straws you can.

If you want to check out a real endorsement of Obama, read this.

No comments: