You could have hit me with a feather and knocked me over. The Chicago Tribune has endorsed Democrat Sen Barack Obama (D-Illinois), for the presidency, breaking a 161-year tradition.
Next, Christopher Buckley, author and commentator for the conservative National Review — the magazine his father founded, will be endorsing Obama.
Oh, wait, he did that already. Nevermind.
In both cases, paragons of conservative Republican values broke ranks and defected — if only temporarily — to the “other side.” The Trib’s editorial board and Buckley join the ranks of several other notable conservative voices who have abandoned the sinking ship of Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
The Trib, in its endorsement, praised Obama for his intellectual rigor, calm, measured demeanor, and ability to mend fences and build coalitions. It said he would make a fine president.
As for McCain, the paper pulled no punches in criticizing him and especially his campaign. Recalling the reasons why the Trib has always endorsed either the conservative candidate or the reformist candidate, it says,
The Tribune’s decisions then were driven by outrage at inept and corrupt business and political leaders.
We see parallels today.
The Republican Party, the party of limited government, has lost its way. The government ran a $237 billion surplus in 2000, the year before Bush took office — and recorded a $455 billion deficit in 2008. The Republicans lost control of the U.S. House and Senate in 2006 because, as we said at the time, they gave the nation rampant spending and Capitol Hill corruption. They abandoned their principles. They paid the price.
We might have counted on John McCain to correct his party’s course. We like McCain. We endorsed him in the Republican primary in Illinois. In part because of his persuasion and resolve, the U.S. stands to win an unconditional victory in Iraq.
It is, though,
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