Tag Archives: frank foer discusses obama endorsement

The New Republic Endorses Obama

So this one is clearly not a shock.  But it’s an interesting read.  From the endorsement:

If the John McCain of 2001 or 2002 were running, this might be a far closer call. At that time, this magazine considered McCain a truly great political figure. During the 2000 primaries, we endorsed Al Gore and John McCain, an unorthodox step for us. Better than anyone in Washington, McCain made the case against creeping income inequality and political corruption. Oftentimes, we found ourselves wishing that his Democratic counterparts spoke with such clarity. Indeed, a cover story we ran urged him to switch parties. We didn’t expect that he would listen, but we didn’t expect that he would transform himself into a Sean Hannity conservative, either. And we certainly failed to appreciate how his impulsiveness could lead him to such spectacularly bad decisions (Sarah Palin) and such a spectacularly incoherent campaign. The implosion of the old McCain, if he ever truly existed as we imagined, saddens us, not least because the candidate he’s become is so poorly suited to the challenges of the moment.

Obama, by contrast, has the makings of a man who understands the times. In these pages, our colleague Cass R. Sunstein has described his governing style as “visionary minimalism.” By this, he means Obama will work to achieve an ambitious agenda but will revise his opinion when the evidence dictates a different course. He is a sincere liberal but without the temperament of an ideologue. His health care and environmental plans are broadly progressive but make concessions to the free market and do not fit the platonic ideals of the left. He doesn’t intend to create a single-payer system (alas) and expresses openness to nuclear power. His recent education rhetoric has incorporated the best of the reform movement.

You can already grasp the political benefits of this style. It’s striking how many conservatives have complimented Obama, even those who oppose him. No less than Charles Krauthammer has declared that he possesses a “first-class intellect and a first-class temperament.” His appeal to the right has everything to do with his detached style. Obama has even been described as a Burkean. Unlike Bush, he actually listens to those with whom he vehemently disagrees; and, in the course of debating John McCain, he frequently, and without hesitation, voiced agreement.

For more, including a video discussion with editor Frank Foer, click here.

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