The Washington Post's editorial endorsement of Barack Obama (10/17/08) is not a total shock, and neither are the paper's caveats about supporting Obama. In fact, what the piece offers is a helpful reminder of the establishment media's center-right politics:
- Obama's apparent desire to achieve universal healthcare is deemed acceptable, "though we question whether his plan is affordable or does enough to contain costs."
- On the financial crisis, the Post is happy that Obama "has surrounded himself with top-notch, experienced, centrist economic advisers…. Mr. Obama will not ride into town determined to reinvent every policy wheel."
- The Post finds it somewhat more difficult to support Obama over McCain when it comes to national security policy, with Iraq being the greatest concern: "Mr. Obama's greatest deviation from current policy is also our biggest worry: his insistence on withdrawing U.S. combat troops from Iraq on a fixed timeline. "
- And finally on trade, the hope is that Obama will break with his party (and the public, for that matter):
We also can only hope that the alarming anti-trade rhetoric we have heard from Mr. Obama during the campaign would give way to the understanding of the benefits of trade reflected in his writings. A silver lining of the financial crisis may be the flexibility it gives Mr. Obama to override some of the interest groups and members of Congress in his own party who oppose open trade, as well as to pursue the entitlement reform that he surely understands is needed.
The Post wanted to see the Democratic candidate be less of a, well, Democrat: "We had hoped, throughout this long campaign, to see more evidence that Mr. Obama might stand up to Democratic orthodoxy," as they put it. That just about captures the default position of the corporate media.