Four years ago, this newspaper's editorial board enthusiastically endorsed Barack Obama, then a young senator from Illinois, for president of the United States. As much as we admired the long and courageous service of his Republican opponent, Sen. John McCain, we believed that the nation needed fresh ideas and the fresh start that a leader with Obama's charisma and only-in-America backstory could provide.
Today, we recommend President Obama's re-election. He has led the nation back from the brink of depression. Ohio in particular has benefited from his bold decision to revive the domestic auto industry. Because of his determination to fulfill a decades-old dream of Democrats, 30 million more Americans will soon have health insurance. His Race to the Top initiative seeded many of the education reforms embodied in Cleveland's Transformation Plan. He ended the war in Iraq and refocused the battle to disrupt al-Qaida and its terrorist allies. He ordered the risky attack inside Pakistan that killed Osama bin Laden.
And yet our endorsement this year comes with less enthusiasm or optimism.
Obama has changed -- and it's more than gray hair. The unifier of 2008 now engages in relentless attacks on his Republican challenger, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. The big dreamer of 2008 offers little in the way of a second-term agenda. There is a world-weariness unseen four years ago.
In fairness, the Obama of 2008 often warned his swooning audiences that change would be slow and painstaking. The four years since then surely have been far more trying than he or almost anyone could have imagined.
You know I kind of think that this particular endorsement is reflective of the thinking of many one time Obama supporters. A sort of recognition that NOBODY could have met the idealized version many of us had fro our young President, along with the realization that he actually did a far better job than most are giving him credit for.
And that is followed by an absolute certaintly that between the President and his opponennt there really is no other choice.
Of course this endorsement is a much bigger deal than many other endorsements due to the fact that it is the biggest newspaper in one of the most important swing states this year. If Obama carries Ohio, that is essentially the election.
So hopefully this endorsement will reach the ears of those Ohioans who are still on the fence, and remind them that even though President Obama failed to walk on water like they seemed to expect, he DID raise the auto industry up from the dead, so they should take their miracles where they can get them.
Update: More papers in swing states endorse the President.