Tomorrow, Iowa caucus goers will pick their choice to be the next Democratic (and Republican) nominee for president in the 2008 election. Soon after, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and other states will have their say and a candidate will ultimately be selected, probably by early February (at least on the Democratic side).
Though we've never done it before, there was no dissent among the three of us on whether we should weigh in on the race or not and endorse someone. There was also no dissent on whom that candidate should be.
The TWM hereby endorse Senator Barack Obama in the race for the Democratic Party's nomination for the presidency.
Though there are other candidates who have held national elected office longer than Sen. Obama, we believe that the Dick Cheneys and Donald Rumsfelds on the world have taught us that experience matters less than good judgment. And good judgment is what Sen. Obama has shown, particularly in the realm of foreign policy, which we believe to be above and beyond the most important area the next president must deal with.
It is well known by now that Sen. Obama opposed the war in Iraq publicly in October 2002, when it was unpopular to do so and when many Democrats in Congress (including fellow presidential candidates Sens. Clinton, Edwards, Biden, and Dodd) chose to stand with President Bush instead of their principles. Though Barack Obama was only a state senator in Illinois at the time, he still made a politically unpopular move at a time when he was about to ramp up a campaign for U.S. Senate. Additionally, Sen. Obama showed thoughtfulness in his opposition, citing specifically how the war in Iraq would lead to a long and difficult occupation that would drain needed resources from Afghanistan and the fight against terrorists.
It is this thoughtfulness we see now in his plans to redeploy troops from Iraq that include a practical 16-month timetable and also in regards to Iran and Syria. Sen. Obama proposes using the full force of the presidency to not only re-establish true diplomatic efforts to sway these regimes to stabilizing the region, but to take it to new levels of engagement - as opposed to just leaving it to aides. This stands in clear contrast to other candidates (The Atlantic’s Matt Yglesias has written rather eloquently on this point).
Sen. Obama also wants to renew and bolster the Lugar-Nunn initiative to stop nuclear proliferation, ramp up efforts against AIDS and global warming, and hold those responsible for genocide accountable for their actions.
Lastly, we believe Sen. Obama's ethnic background can only help the U.S. rebuild its shattered relations with the world, especially the Middle East. Put beautifully, in his own endorsement of Barack Obama, by Andrew Sullivan:
Consider this hypothetical. It’s November 2008. A young Pakistani Muslim is watching television and sees that this man—Barack Hussein Obama—is the new face of America. In one simple image, America’s soft power has been ratcheted up not a notch, but a logarithm. A brown-skinned man whose father was an African, who grew up in Indonesia and Hawaii, who attended a majority-Muslim school as a boy, is now the alleged enemy. If you wanted the crudest but most effective weapon against the demonization of America that fuels Islamist ideology, Obama’s face gets close. It proves them wrong about what America is in ways no words can.Need we say more?
Beyond his foreign policy views though, we support Sen. Obama because we believe he can not only heal the rift that divides America from the rest of the world but the rifts which divide America itself. After 8 years of George W. Bush - one of the most divisive presidents in history - we cannot stress enough how important it is to truly have a "uniter" in the White House. Fairly or unfairly, other candidates have too much partisan baggage to accomplish this. Sen. Obama has worked with Republicans both in Illinois and in Washington. His message of change against the establishment, rooting out the corporate lobbyists and special interests, and giving us greater transparency in government speaks to those of all political stripes. And his own life story is an inspiration to all.
I don't think there is anyone among us who does not believe America has dark days ahead. We are mired in war and debt. Worse, our country's spirit is broken. Few have faith in government anymore, or believe we are a force for good in the world anymore. We do not pretend to believe that anyone can come along and easily fix these problems. No, it will be hard, likely unrewarding work for whom ever tries.
But if we are to make it through, we need someone to give us hope again. Hope that America can be the great country we all know it can be. Barack Obama gives us that hope. Maybe that's what we need most of all.