For president: Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois

Published: 10/19/2008 12:02 AM

In almost every political campaign, as the candidates go before the voters, they describe the election as one of the most important in history. Usually, that overused description is little more than hyperbole, flattering rhetoric meant to engage the voters.

This election, it is actually true.

This year, our foreign policy is in disarray, our country is polarized, our politics is unduly partisan and out of touch, and our economy is on the brink of the worst financial calamity since the Great Depression.

To respond to those challenges, the nation needs a confident change in direction. We believe Sen. Barack Obama is best suited by temperament, judgment and vision to bring about that change, and we strongly endorse Illinois' favorite son for the presidency.

We don't oppose Sen. John McCain of Arizona. We endorsed him in the Republican primary, and we believe he is a true war hero who possesses many good attributes.

But Obama has the potential to offer more. He can be, as we said in January, a transcendent figure on the landscape of history.

He has, we believe, two great talents: A talent to inspire great masses of people, to stir the imagination and provide a call to action. And a talent for partnership rather than polarization, a genuine respect for disparate views that helps him see the country more as a whole than as a collection of interest groups.

His experience is limited, it's true. But his judgment, insight and calm stand him ready to lead the country and ready to manage the government. He, better than McCain, saw the engagement in Iraq for the mistake it was to become. He, better than McCain, provided reassurance when the financial crisis dawned.

This is a unique public servant, our Sen. Obama. He is practical, common sensed, inclusive and solutions-oriented.

He has a chance to be a great president. Not just the country's first black president, a notable achievement for him and for the nation. But also a great president.

He offers a new kind of politics. A politics that breaks down the old partisan walls. A politics that strives to bring people together. A politics of hope.

And we all need hope these days.

The legacy of George Bush, abetted by an enabling Congress during his first six years, will cast a heavy shadow over the next presidency.

An unnecessary war in Iraq. A so-far bungled effort to deprive al-Qaida of its base in Afghanistan and Pakistan. A failure to secure our ports and our borders. Shameful acquiescence to torture and prisoner abuse abroad. Dangerous violations of civil protections at home. A breathtaking national debt. Unaddressed challenges with energy and climate change. Deteriorating infrastructure across America. Health care that's out of reach to millions and sorely expensive to those who touch it. Threats to baby boomer retirements. So many mortgages in default that the banks can't foreclose on them all. The list goes on.

The ineptitude, corruption and wrongheadedness that have poisoned America's ability to address these challenges are not the work of one man, but they do add up to one disastrous presidency.

No wonder McCain spends half his energy running against the record of his own party.

Unfortunately, he can't run fast enough. He was an early cheerleader to go to war in Iraq. He proposes to continue the spend-and-borrow policies of Bush. Despite his age and history of serious health issues, he selected as his backup a person who is disastrously ignorant of national and international issues.

McCain's campaign does not offer the promise or hope this country needs.

Barack Obama's does.

What do YOU think?

We gave our view; now, we want to hear yours

Do you agree or disagree with our endorsement?

Do you think we got it right but missed a key issue?

Did we get it wrong while making some good points?

Please share your thoughts by calling (847) 427-4580 or sending an e-mail to