This is the most important presidential election of our lives.
The nation is in a state of political and financial meltdown. The war in Iraq drags on, sucking money out of the US Treasury and costing more and more lives. The gap between the rich and the poor has risen to unsustainable levels, global warming threatens to permanently alter the ecology of the globe ... and all the Republican candidate offers is more of the same. It's scary.
The Democrat we proudly endorsed in the California primary isn't the exact same candidate who's trying to get elected president today. Barack Obama, like just about all Democrats at this stage of a campaign, has moved a bit to the right. He supported the $700 million Wall Street bailout that's essentially a huge giveaway to the same people who caused the problem. He talks about promoting "safe nuclear energy" and "clean coal" oxymora if there ever were any.
Back in February, we noted that "our biggest problem with Obama is that he talks as if all the nation needs to do is come together in some sort of grand coalition of Democrats and Republicans, of 'blue states and red states.' But some of us have no interest in making common cause with the religious right or Dick Cheney or Halliburton or Don Fisher. There are forces and interests in the United States that need to be opposed, defeated, consigned to the dustbin of history, and for all of Obama's talk of unity, we worry that he lacks the interest in or ability to take on a tough, bloody fight against an entrenched political foe."
But Obama remains one of the most inspirational candidates for high office we've ever seen. He's energized a generation of young voters, he's electrified communities of color, and he's given millions of Americans a chance to hope that Washington can once again be a friend, not an enemy, to progressive values at home and abroad.
His tax proposals are pretty good. He's always been against the war. His health care plan isn't perfect, but it's at least a step toward universal coverage.
And frankly, the nation can't afford another four years of Bush-style policies.
The election is a turning point for the United States. It's about a movement that can change the direction of the country; it's about mobilizing people in large numbers to reject the failed right-wing policies of Bush and the Republican Party. We're pleased to endorse Barack Obama as the standard-bearer of that movement.
Congress, District 6
Lynn Woolsey comes from the more moderate suburbs, and she's far better than Nancy Pelosi, who represents liberal San Francisco. Just look at the bailout: Pelosi wants to prop up the Wall Street banks, and Woolsey wanted to fund any bailout with a modest tax on risky financial instruments. Woolsey richly deserves reelection.
Congress, District 7
George Miller, who has represented this East Bay district since 1974, is an effective legislator and strong environmentalist. Sometimes he's too willing to compromise he worked with the George W. Bush administration on No Child Left Behind, a disaster of an education bill but he's a solid opponent of the war, and we'll endorse him for another term.
Congress District 8
The antiwar leader and Gold Star mom who put George Bush on the defensive is at best a long shot to unseat the Speaker of the House. Cindy Sheehan has only recently moved to the district, has no local political experience, and is taking on one of the most powerful politicians in the United States.
But we can't endorse Nancy Pelosi, who has consistently supported funding the war (and has refused to meet with antiwar protesters camped out in front of her house).