Thursday, October 9, 2008

New Yorker Endorses Obama

New Yorker Magazine is one of the most significant periodicals in the nation!
by Charlie Leck

If you’ve ever gotten into the New Yorker Magazine, you know it’s a serious publication for serious readers. It could never be called lite. It’s heavy weight! And, it’s endorsement of Barack Obama in the coming election is serious and in-depth. Nevertheless, I recommend it to you. [You’ll find it here.]

The magazine sets the tone for its endorsement by beginning this way.

“Never in living memory has an election been more critical than the one fast approaching—that’s the quadrennial cliché, as expected as the balloons and the bombast. And yet when has it ever felt so urgently true? When have so many Americans had so clear a sense that a Presidency has—at the levels of competence, vision, and integrity—undermined the country and its ideals?”
That makes ultimate sense to most thinking-people. The current occupant of the White House has caused a complete redefinition of the United States of America all across the globe. We are not the nation today that we were when he took office. You can try putting the blame in a lot of different places, but, if you’re candid, you know it belongs to George W. Bush.

The New Yorker hammers on a number of well-know themes that describe the sorry state of the nation:





The endorsement correctly points out that McCain has given up the reputation he once had of a moderate, free-thinking Republican.

“Since the 2004 election, however, McCain has moved remorselessly rightward in his quest for the Republican nomination. He paid obeisance to Jerry Falwell and preachers of his ilk. He abandoned immigration reform, eventually coming out against his own bill. Most shocking, McCain, who had repeatedly denounced torture under all circumstances, voted in February against a ban on the very techniques of “enhanced interrogation” that he himself once endured in Vietnam—as long as the torturers were civilians employed by the C.I.A.

“On almost every issue, McCain and the Democratic Party’s nominee, Barack Obama, speak the generalized language of “reform,” but only Obama has provided a convincing, rational, and fully developed vision. McCain has abandoned his opposition to the Bush-era tax cuts and has taken up the demagogic call—in the midst of recession and Wall Street calamity, with looming crises in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid—for more tax cuts. Bush’s expire in 2011. If McCain, as he has proposed, cuts taxes for corporations and estates, the benefits once more would go disproportionately to the wealthy.”
The endorsement also recognizes that Obama has more depth on the significant issues – from the economy and the environment to international relations and policy.

The New Yorker also recognizes that the election of Obama is vital in order to restore a semblance of balance in the U.S. Supreme Court. It cannot be allowed to slip more to the right, as John McCain promises it would.

Quite dramatically, the endorsement essay raises the question about which man we would prefer to see inherit the problems the current President will turn-over on inauguration day – two wars and a busted economy! Which man? The magazine loudly says: Obama!

Which man is better suited to repair our tattered reputation?

“Obama is also better suited for the task of renewing the bedrock foundations of American influence. An American restoration in foreign affairs will require a commitment not only to international coöperation but also to international institutions that can address global warming, the dislocations of what will likely be a deepening global economic crisis, disease epidemics, nuclear proliferation, terrorism, and other, more traditional security challenges. Many of the Cold War-era vehicles for engagement and negotiation—the United Nations, the World Bank, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty regime, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization—are moribund, tattered, or outdated. Obama has the generational outlook that will be required to revive or reinvent these compacts. He would be the first postwar American President unencumbered by the legacies of either Munich or Vietnam.

“The next President must also restore American moral credibility. Closing Guantánamo, banning all torture, and ending the Iraq war as responsibly as possible will provide a start, but only that. The modern Presidency is as much a vehicle for communication as for decision-making, and the relevant audiences are global. Obama has inspired many Americans in part because he holds up a mirror to their own idealism. His election would do no less—and likely more—overseas.”
The ultimate question, however, has to do with character and the New Yorker makes no bones about it. On this issue the editors of the New Yorker feel that “Obama is clearly the stronger of the two.” About McCain, the magazine hits hard:

“A willingness to pander and even lie has come to define his Presidential campaign and its televised advertisements. A contemptuous duplicity, a meanness, has entered his talk on the stump—so much so that it seems obvious that, in the drive for victory, he is willing to replicate some of the same underhanded methods that defeated him eight years ago in South Carolina.”
The essay condemns, with strong words, McCain’s choice of a running mate as a revelation of his cynicism.

“Palin has no business being the backup to a President of any age, much less to one who is seventy-two and in imperfect health. In choosing her, McCain committed an act of breathtaking heedlessness and irresponsibility.”
The endorsement is mighty strong and beautifully written. It builds to a grand crescendo that I must not steal and place here. You ought, yourself, go the magazine’s web site and read it. This one sentence is a part of that conclusion:
“The election of Obama—a man of mixed ethnicity, at once comfortable in the world and utterly representative of twenty-first-century America—would, at a stroke, reverse our country’s image abroad and refresh its spirit at home.”
Refresh the Spirit of the Nation
What a wonderful thought! Never in my life time has the nation more needed such refreshing; and perhaps, in fact, never in its history (which includes some mighty desperate moments).

Frankly, I’d click on the hyperlink for the magazine just to see the publication’s wonderful illustration by Tom Bachtell.

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