THE BLOG

Obama Sweeps Major Texas Newspapers' Endorsements

All Five Major Texas Newspapers Endorse Obama

All five major Texas newspapers: the Dallas Morning News, the Fort-Worth Star-Telegram, the Houston Chronicle, the Austin American-Statesman, and the San Antonio Express-News have endorsed Illinois Senator Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination for president.

On Thursday, February 7, 2008, the Dallas Morning News editorial board recommended Obama, saying:

"Mr. Obama is our choice because of his consistently solid judgment, poise under pressure and ability to campaign effectively without resorting to the divisive politics of the past.

"Race is not an overriding factor for us. But it is undeniable that America has failed to heal its racial wounds, including here in Dallas. We need a motivational leader capable of confronting the problem, and no candidate is better equipped than Mr. Obama. His message isn't about anger and retribution. It's about moving forward."


Dismissing the "noise about his lack of experience" the Morning News pointed out that "he has served more time on Capitol Hill than four of the past five White House occupants."

On Sunday, February 17, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram endorsed Obama, pointing out that, "Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama represent change, but in decidedly different ways.

"Supportive politicians, pundits, and writers of letters to newspaper editors have defined that difference as transitional vs. transformative. Clinton is the former; Obama the latter.

"Right now, America needs transformation."


Maintaining that, while Clinton's policies were more detailed than Obama's, "they are also more expensive."

Obama's "message and energy," said the editorial, would "transcend the demographic differences among voters that the media so stubbornly focus on: race, gender, age, and economic standing." Pointing out the crowds who've turned out to vote in the primaries, the paper stated that, if those turn-outs continue, Obama could enter office with a "commanding mandate from the American people."

They concluded with this zinger: "Yes, we know, hope is not a strategy. But it can get people working together to find one."

Writing on February 16, 2008, the Houston Chronicle wasted no punches. Its lede paragraph read:

"The presidency of the United States is a powerful bully pulpit. The occupant of the White House must not only issue orders, but also inspire and advocate for all Americans."


Discussing all the ways in which Obama and Clinton are similar in policy, the Chronicle points out "a decisive difference."


"Obama vows to reach out to independents and Republicans with a message of inclusion and cooperation. He offers a historic opportunity to elevate national political dialogue to a higher ground. Those who insist on vitriol and obstructionism would be marginalized."


The Chronicle concludes that Obama is "the epitome of the American Dream" that would stimulate more citizens to participate in the electoral process.

On February 2, the Austin American-Statesman also compared areas of agreement between Obama and Clinton, but emphasized "differences...in leadership styles and visions for the country."

"Obama presents a view of governing that is inclusive and relies on Americans to work with their government to solve sobering problems at home and abroad. Obama's familiar refrain on the campaign trail is, 'Yes, we can.'

"By contrast, Clinton promotes a self-centered governing style that drives home what she would do as president. She asks little of Americans and discourages opposing views. Clinton has moved from her position as first lady that 'it takes a village' to solve problems to it takes only Hillary (and maybe Bill).

"These contrasts offer a clear choice: Barack Obama. His optimism, unifying vision and ability to inspire are the kind of healing balm the country needs at this moment in history."


They conclude with a vivid image:

"At home, we're divided into red and blue camps. Democrats and Republican have stoked divisions to advance their party's interests. Meanwhile, Washington is stumbling along with its red leg moving right and its blue one lurching left.

"Along the way, elected officials--and the public--have forgotten that those legs are part of the same body. It's not surprising, therefore, that we've danced in place, failing to make progress on the big challenges that confront our country...

"No other candidate except Obama offers a way out of that rut. He has articulated a vision that would allow the legs of government to again move fluidly in a natural motion that takes the country forward."


On February 10, the San Antonio Express-News like the other papers compared the two candidates, but added that:

"Obama tends to falter in debates, his words sometimes unable to express the passion he feels inside. On the campaign trail, however, it is a different story, his words ringing with a clarity and energy that have been missing from a bitterly divided political landscape.

"Clinton talks about her vast edge in experience, but much of it came as first lady, when her attempt to reform health care provided a colossal failure, mainly because of her inability to do what Obama advocates--reach across the aisle."


The Express-News seemed to feel that Obama's lesser amount of time spent in Washington was actually an advantage, because he would "lack the baggage" that would "hamper a Clinton presidency," adding that the Clinton's campaign, had been "at turns, nasty and undignified," that "is a turnoff to many voters."

You would have to be a Texan to fully appreciate the magnitude of each of its largest city papers endorsing the same candidate in a tight race, particularly considering the network of Texans in the Clinton camp. This state is enormous, spanning almost a thousand miles east-to-west and north-to-south, encompassing rich farmland, big cities, rugged ranchland, sophisticated suburbs, small towns, high-tech enterprise, plains, mountains, deserts, dense forests, swampland, pristine beaches, the Gulf of Mexico and a border with a foreign country.

Each part of the state has its own personality, history, culture, and demographic make-up, and each of its biggest cities is entirely different from the other. This is a remarkable unity of opinion.

Whether the voters reflect that unity remains to be seen.