the voters in america pause and take note

ok, sure, 237 newpapers have already endorsed obama, but a late development that will surely push any remaining undecided voters over the line…

… the wellington dominion post has officially endorsed barack obama for president of the united states.

Editorial: A man to restore his nation’s lustre The Dominion Post | Monday, 03 November 2008

If the polls are to be believed, United States voters are about to make history. For the first time in 220 years, they are not going to elect a white male as president, The Dominion Post writes.

There are some who believe that it is still too big an “if”. They believe that, in the privacy of the polling booth, too many of their fellow citizens will decide that they are not yet ready to be led by a man who has described himself as being born of a father “black as pitch” and a mother “white as milk”.

It will be a tragedy for America, and for the rest of the world, if that is the reason Barack Obama loses the presidency – and it is hard to imagine that, this close to victory, he could be denied by anything else.

In the dying days of what has been a gruelling campaign that has tested the mettle of both candidates, the polls in 12 crucial battleground states has Mr Obama in front in 11 of them. Going into the weekend, Republican John McCain was leading only in Indiana.

Mr Obama’s campaign is awash with cash and volunteers. Mr McCain lacks both. He is having to offer US$12 an hour to get canvassers in the key state of Florida.

Mr McCain would not be a disastrous president compared to the incumbent, but Mr Obama has not put a serious foot wrong during the campaign. He has not, unlike Mr McCain, resorted to the politics of division. He did not, unlike Mr McCain, choose a neophyte as his running mate. Despite her initial everywoman appeal, Sarah Palin quickly became a liability as the shallowness of her experience was first revealed in the glare of a national campaign, and then ridiculed.

Nor has Mr Obama had to carry the burden of the bungled presidency of George W Bush. Mr Bush’s is a presidency that led the US into a costly and bloody war on the basis of a lie, which has trashed the rule of law in the name of security, and which has conspicuously failed to control the cowboys of Wall Street and regulate their greed.

Mr Bush’s approval rating is at 22 per cent – the equal lowest in history. Eighty-nine per cent have a negative view of the economy, and 85 per cent think the country is on the wrong track. A majority now think invading Iraq was a bad idea.

Sadly for Mr McCain, however much he may try to portray himself as a maverick, he cannot escape that he is still a Republican and America has been brought low in the eyes of the world by a Republican president.

The election of Mr Obama would in itself be a step to restoring some that lost lustre. Already his candidacy has given life to the ideals which underpin his nation, and put the US on the edge of making real Martin Luther King Jr’s hope that his country would become a “land where men will not argue that the colour of a man’s skin determines the content of his character”. As Mr Obama has said, “for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on earth is my story even possible”.

That a man who is one generation removed from the huts of Kenya now stands on the threshold of the Oval Office is a powerful symbol for the world of a nation that aspires to be better than it is. An Obama victory would underline that it is willing to live up to those aspirations.

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