The Chicago Tribune Stand by Their Man: Barack Obama

According to Bruce Dold, editorial page editor of the Chicago Tribune, the newspaper stands by its October 17, 2008 endorsement of Senator Barack Obama for the presidency.

In response to an e-mail asking, "Mr. Dold, if you had it to do again, would you endorse Barack Obama for President?," Dold answered on November 28, "I stand by that endorsement."

In their '08 written endorsement of Obama, the Trib's editors included these implied expectations from an Obama presidency:

  • "We wrote [when the Trib endorsed his Senate candidacy] that he would celebrate our common values instead of exaggerate our differences."
  • "We said he would raise the tone of the campaign."
  • "We said his intellectual depth would sharpen the policy debate. In the ensuing 22 months he has done just that."
  • "We have tremendous confidence in his intellectual rigor, his moral compass and his ability to make sound, thoughtful, careful decisions. He is ready."
  • "Obama envisions a change in the way we deal with one another in politics and government."
  • "[McCain, though,] has responded to the economic crisis with an angry, populist message and a misguided, $300 billion proposal to buy up bad mortgages."
  • "Obama chose a more experienced and more thoughtful running mate [than Palin]--he put governing before politicking. Sen. Joe Biden doesn't bring many votes to Obama, but he would help him from day one to lead the country."
  • "We think...Obama would govern as much more of a pragmatic centrist than many people expect."
  • "We know first-hand that Obama seeks out and listens carefully and respectfully to people who disagree with him. He builds consensus."
  • "He has been called a "University of Chicago Democrat"--a reference to the famed free-market Chicago school of economics, which puts faith in markets."
  • "He has the intelligence to understand the grave economic and national security risks that face us, to listen to good advice and make careful decisions."
  • "When Obama said at the 2004 Democratic Convention that we weren't a nation of red states and blue states, he spoke of union the way Abraham Lincoln did."

Dold, representing the Tribune's editors, is satisfied, it would seem, that the Trib's expectations for an Obama presidency have been met.  Or are they really satisfied?

A September 19, 2011 Tribune editorial entitled "The public and the pols aren't buying Obama's plan" stated:

Obama, however, pretends that Washington has a magic elixir that will goose growth right now. The evidence of the last two years does not support him. The chief result of his efforts so far has been a rise in the national debt, putting a heavy burden on future taxpayers. The jobs program would replicate that mistake.

The federal government can't do much to boost employment in the near term, though it can do a lot to depress it.  What it can do on the positive side is create an environment in which the private sector can plan and operate without fear of rising taxes and growing bureaucratic interference, thus fostering a prosperity that will last.  Americans seem to understand that, and their elected officials may finally be catching on.

Question is, do the Tribune editors think that President Obama "may finally be catching on"?

They don't say.  They stand by their man.

An October 5, 2011 Tribune editorial, after reviewing the field of GOP candidates, and in an obscure reference to "our leaders," stated:

The danger is that our leaders will spend that [campaigning] time battling for the White House to the exclusion of governing, that the partisan sideshow over the federal debt and deficit will continue right up until Election Day. Lots of noise, no progress on tax reform or spending reductions while we keep borrowing $4 billion each day. That's something Americans can't afford, and shouldn't tolerate.

So just how do the Tribune editors expect the GOP candidates to reduce the deficit when only Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann hold elected federal office?

They don't say.  But they stand by their man.

Meanwhile, U.S.News reported on November 29 that according to a Gallup poll, Obama's "presidential job approval index has finally passed below Jimmy Carter."

And the Tribune editors stand by their man.