Annabel Kent, Chicago Media Critic
On October 17, 2008 the Chicago Sun Times endorsed Senator Barack Obama for election to the Presidency. Some of the reasons they gave included:
Americans are ready to be one country. By the millions, they yearn to bridge their differences, to find common cause, to rise above ideology, race, class and religion.
They have grown weary of the culture wars and the personal attacks, tired of the exaggerated lines that divide. They dare to imagine a more constructive discourse, a debate marked by civility and respect even in disagreement, a politics that begins with listening to each other, and in Sen. Obama they see a man of exceptional gifts who just might show them how…
Our endorsement for president of the United States goes to Sen. Barack Obama, Chicago's adopted son. He has the unique background, superior intellect, sound judgment and first-rate temperament to lead our nation in difficult times.
Sen. Obama climbed the ladder of Chicago Democratic politics -- from community organizer to state senator to U.S. senator -- while dodging the tag of "machine made." He developed alliances with the old Harold Washington coalition, but also with party stalwarts like State Sen. Emil Jones. He mostly steered clear of unwise political entanglements, and on those rare occasions when he did use poor judgment he grew from the mistake. Specifically, the senator learned the enormous importance of transparency in politics when he was dogged by questions about his relationship with Tony Rezko, the political fixer. When he finally sat down with the Sun-Times Editorial Board and answered every question, the Rezko story lost its steam…
Our next president must be a person of steady temperament, superb judgment and compassion. He must stand tall for America, first and always, but be unafraid to listen to the world. He must demand the best in us.
In Barack Obama, we see America's best hope for a president who is right for the times.
So, to summarize, the Editorial Board of the Chicago Sun Times expected Obama to be a President who would:
- “rise above ideology, race, class and religion”
- promote “a more constructive discourse, a debate marked by civility and respect even in disagreement, a politics that begins with listening to each other”
- “stand tall (not bow) for America”
- display “a first-rate temperament to lead our nation in difficult times”
- “demand the best in us”
- be “right for the times”
- be free of the tag of “machine made” in Chicago
That’s not all the accolades endorsement offered, just some of those supporting their support of Obama – “Chicago’s adopted son”.
All of these assumptions about Senator Obama seem to have been based on the singular accomplishment during his interview with the Editorial Board: “When he finally sat down with the Sun-Times Editorial Board and answered every question, the Rezko story lost its steam.” Here’s a pdf of the entire interview.
In order to appreciate the astonishing lack of depth of this “interview”, you must read the entire transcript. To call it a superficial inquiry is a vast understatement. It was a perfunctory love fest.
It’s clear that the entire exercise was staged to validate an endorsement decision that had already been made.
So, after three years, do you folks sitting around the table above want a Mulligan on your endorsement? Or, have your expectations been fulfilled? What say you?