Editorial Pages React to Historic Obama Triumph

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By: Greg Mitchell

A morning-after roundup of excerpts from editorials from around the country. As noted in our daily tally, Obama carried those editorial pages by about a 2-1 margin in their endorsements for president. But some of these excerpts come from papers that did not back him. We will add more as day goes on.

For ongoing coverage of the media and the campaign and other topics go to our new blog, The E&P Pub, where you can also leave a Comment or watch some video. So get over there now:

The E&P Pub

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Los Angeles Times

Campaigns divide, and this one has been no exception. But if campaigns present choices, elections are the occasion for reunification. On Tuesday night, the struggle ended with a convincing victory that altered the contours of the electoral map and movingly reminded us of the greatness in our history.

With victories in Democratic strongholds and historic Republican redoubts — Virginia, of all places — Barack Obama can rightfully assert a national mandate, one he will need to confront the difficulties ahead. As our president, he must re-energize a troubled nation, reviled in much of the world, unsteady and anxious at home. The range of issues that demand the next administration’s attention is almost limitless; the yearning of the country for thoughtful, conscientious leadership is nearly palpable.

The New York Times

His triumph was decisive and sweeping, because he saw what is wrong with this country: the utter failure of government to protect its citizens. He offered a government that does not try to solve every problem but will do those things beyond the power of individual citizens: to regulate the economy fairly, keep the air clean and the food safe, ensure that the sick have access to health care, and educate children to compete in a globalized world.

Mr. Obama spoke candidly of the failure of Republican economic policies that promised to lift all Americans but left so many millions far behind. He committed himself to ending a bloody and pointless war. He promised to restore Americans? civil liberties and their tattered reputation around the world.
*
The Wall Street Journal

Hearty congratulations to President-elect Barack Obama. The American electorate has handed him and his fellow Democrats the kind of sweeping victory they haven’t had since at least 1976 and in certain respects since 1964. We’ll now find out if the Democratic Party has learned anything since the last two times it held all the levers of power in Washington.

The Washington Post

Mr. Obama cannot erase Mr. Bush’s legacy, but he has a chance to improve America’s standing in the world, ending such noxious practices as torture and indefinite detention with minimal review that have diminished this country in the eyes of its allies. He has the opportunity finally to set the country on a path to help reduce global warming. He has far-reaching plans on energy, health care and education, but also a realistic understanding that the state of the economy will delimit his ambitions.
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USA TODAY

Now, having reached the White House with a mandate for change from the voters and a Congress controlled by his own party, Obama can take two paths.

One would be to attempt to ram through a liberal agenda, working with Democratic leaders eager to overplay the hand voters have dealt them. That, in our view, would be a serious mistake. It would further polarize Washington, squander the chance for durable, bipartisan solutions and replicate what Republicans did to sow the seeds of their own defeat.

The other path is much less satisfying for a party that has just won nearly unchecked control of national policymaking. But if the past two decades have taught anything, it’s that a president and his party prosper when they involve their opponents in restoring a sense of common purpose. Obama appears to grasp how difficult and necessary that is.

Chicago Tribune

bama?s victory is one of those events that reveal how far the nation has traveled. When he was born in 1961, African-Americans risked death merely to register to vote in some Southern states. The pivotal civil rights and voting rights laws had yet to be enacted. Yet today, the nation is willing to entrust its future to a man whose father was black. His election is a moving vindication of the ideals on which this nation was founded.

There are other reasons to celebrate the election of this citizen of Chicago?the only one ever elevated to the White House. Obama won by appealing to a deep yearning for national reconciliation and unity that spans partisan divides. From the moment he captured national attention with a stirring speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention to the last day of this campaign, he reminded us that amid our often-contentious diversity, we are one nation joined in a common mission.

Houston Chronicle(which had switched from Bush to Obama)

It is more than symbolic that the red-blue paradigm crumbled on Tuesday.

The Obama victory was forged with the help of voters in those presumed red states, and we hope that message is heard by leaders of both parties on Capitol Hill. The problems are too big and serious for a return to bickering.

Obama promised hope. On this November morning in America we can feel it rising. Our best wishes and Godspeed go to President-elect Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden

New York Post

And a tip of the hat to America, too: Just two generations ago, an African-American who attempted to cast a ballot courted violent death in the dark of night – but now a black man will ascend to the highest office in the land.

This is a tribute to how far the nation has progressed since the days of Bull Connor’s fire-hoses and George Wallace’s ugly rhetoric.

But it’s even more a tribute to Barack Obama, who began this campaign as a longshot even for the Democratic nomination. It was to have been, recall, Hillary Clinton’s year.
*
The Seattle Times
A nation exhales. The relief and excitement are palpable. Sen. Barack Obama implored us to turn a page, to choose our better history. In state after state, Americans did that. In a seminal moment in American politics, voters chose the candidate who is all about hope and change and tomorrow.

Obama made history in many ways during his two-year march toward the presidency. He is the first African-American president ? a huge, stop-the-presses achievement. He didn’t spend his time, however, highlighting that distinction. He won by focusing on the need to improve the lives of average Americans and promising to move our country forward at a time of much angst and misery.

Obama’s dramatic election does not wipe away the complicated economic mess our country faces. In many ways, voters expect too much of him and he has perhaps promised too much.

His election does not end the tortuous war in Iraq. But it does make us feel better knowing he plans to bring massive improvements at home and abroad. He leads by narrative, showing the American promise for what it is.

Dallas Morning News

This newspaper had hoped to see a come-from-behind victory for Mr. McCain because his experience, leadership and proven ability to work across party lines are qualities that America will need in the tough times ahead. Ultimately, though, Mr. McCain led his campaign away from his trademark individualism as he tried to rally conservatives. The electorate did not follow him there, questioning both his judgment regarding the Sarah Palin pick and his steadiness during the ongoing financial crisis.

The job now for Mr. Obama is to make good on his promise to govern from the political center, paying particular attention to getting spending under control. The president-elect should strongly consider appointing Republicans to his Cabinet and ensure that conservative voices get a fair hearing in policy decisions.
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Minneapolis Star Tribune

To its credit, inclusion was a hallmark of Obama’s campaign. The campaign reached out to the young. It inspired long-disillusioned nonvoters to return to the polls, or to vote for the first time.

It was active in all 50 states — in large part because Hillary Clinton contested Obama’s claim to the Democratic nomination until every state’s Democrats had either caucused or cast primary votes. Democrats who fretted last spring that Clinton’s persistence was damaging the party’s prospects misread the situation. A vigorous intraparty rivalry among attractive, able candidates doesn’t depress voter interest, but piques it.

Boston Herald

Will he be the man to change Washington – as he has promised – or will he cave in to the demands of now triumphant Democratic majorities in the House and Senate? Change, after all, isn?t just about new faces; it?s about new ideas and fresh approaches to education, to making health care more affordable, to keeping Social Security solvent – and doing it all without breaking the backs of small business with higher taxes.

Orange County (Ca.) Register
Now the question is how Barack Obama will govern. He will be well-advised to govern as he campaigned, from somewhere close to the center of the American political spectrum. Whether he can do so is the question.

The narrative some of his opponents have pushed, that Barack Obama is a dangerous radical who will weaken America abroad and impose a near-socialist agenda domestically, did not resonate with the electorate. But there were reasons ? attitudes expressed in his autobiography, associations with the likes of the Rev. Wright and Bill Ayers that were closer than he was willing to acknowledge ? to believe the closet radical scenario was possible. And he has no record of successful bipartisan activity.

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