Damning With Faint Praise

by James Kirchick | January 31, 2008

Marty is pleased that the the New York Post has endorsed Barack Obama for president, a rather stunning turnaround given their largely pro-Hillary coverage since she became a senator. But if you read the endorsement, you'll see that it's more a riposte to Hillary than an endorsement of Obama. In fact, there are only a few sentences that bother to mention him. More characteristic is the expression of fear of a "return to the opportunistic, scandal-scarred, morally muddled years of the almost infinitely self-indulgent Clinton co-presidency" and "Bill Clinton's thuggishly self-centered campaign antics." It goes on like this for most of the editorial.

As for Obama, there's this:

For all his charisma and his eloquence, the rookie senator sorely lacks seasoning. And on national security, his worldview is beyond naive - blithely unware that America must defend itself against those sworn to destroy the nation.

Meanwhile, Obama's all-things-to-all-people approach to complex domestic issues also arouses scant confidence. "Change!" for the sake of change does not a credible campaign platform make.

Yes, the Post -- which views national politics almost entirely through the lens of a very hawkish take on foreign policy and daily inveighs against those "blithely unaware that America must defend itself against those sworn to destroy the nation" -- endorsed Barack Obama in the Democratic primary. But it certainly won't be endorsing him come November; expect a slurry of hit pieces about him should he win the nomination. Rather than "Obama for the Democrats," a more accurate headline would have been what the editors buried halfway through the editorial: "He is not Team Clinton."

--James Kirchick

Source URL: http://www.newrepublic.com//blog/the-plank/damning-faint-praise