By James M. Wall
I found this picture on Mudflats, an Anchorage, Alaska web site. It was taken during a Barack Obama rally in Anchorage.
This handsome dog bears a striking resemblance to Darby, who was, until her recent passing, a much beloved member of my extended family in Alaska,
It was Mudflats, which I check daily, that first alerted me to the news that the Anchorage Daily News has endorsed Barack Obama for president in its Sunday (October 26) edition.
The Wall Street Journal also took note of the endorsement.
This is major. It is so major that I think it is now safe to say that it’s over, folks. Barack Obama will be our 44th president.
Sure, a large majority of the Lower 48 newspapers has also fallen in behind the Obama candidacy. But the Anchorage Daily News? This is Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s home state newspaper. No favoritism here. This is pure Niebuhrian realism.
The paper’s endorsement is respectful of Palin. It is also proud of her arrival on the national political stage.
Gov. Palin has shown the country why she has been so successful in her young political career. Passionate, charismatic and indefatigable, she draws huge crowds and sows excitement in her wake. She has made it clear she’s a force to be reckoned with, and you can be sure politicians and political professionals across the country have taken note. Her future, in Alaska and on the national stage, seems certain to be played out in the limelight.
But respect and pride for Palin are not enough for the governor’s home state paper to support John McCain:
Alaska enters its 50th-anniversary year in the glow of an improbable and highly memorable event: the nomination of Gov. Sarah Palin as the Republican vice presidential candidate. For the first time ever, an Alaskan is making a serious bid for national office, and in doing so she brings broad attention and recognition not only to herself, but also to the state she leads.
Gov. Palin’s nomination clearly alters the landscape for Alaskans as we survey this race for the presidency — but it does not overwhelm all other judgment. The election, after all is said and done, is not about Sarah Palin, and our sober view is that her running mate, Sen. John McCain, is the wrong choice for president at this critical time for our nation.
Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee, brings far more promise to the office. In a time of grave economic crisis, he displays thoughtful analysis, enlists wise counsel and operates with a cool, steady hand. The same cannot be said of Sen. McCain. . . .
. . . Of the two candidates, Sen. Obama better understands the mortgage meltdown’s root causes and has the judgment and intelligence to shape a solution, as well as the leadership to rally the country behind it. It is easy to look at Sen. Obama and see a return to the smart, bipartisan economic policies of the last Democratic administration in Washington, which left the country with the momentum of growth and a budget surplus that President George Bush has squandered.
On the most important issue of the day, Sen. Obama is a clear choice. . . .
Mudflats, now my reliable source for Alaska news and comment, has been telling us all along that Sarah Palin would be a tough competitor, but Mudflats, along with many other Alaskans, has also warned us, “she is not ready”.
After the election I probably won’t be checking Mudflats every day. But I will make frequent visits there. As someone who spent a year with the Air Force in Alaska, and who still has family there, I will continue to look to Mudflats for constant updates on the doings of Brian, the moose, and Mudflat’s many other friends.
Brian is a smart moose, by the way. He knows when moose season arrives in the fall, and a week or so later, he knows when it is safe to come out again. His picture, at left, was taken during the off season
Mudflats’ friends include readers as far away as Australia, where “watchers” are sometimes enlisted to monitor a web cam of Brian’s activities.
I also will rely on Mudflats to let me know how Sarah Palin adjusts to her defeat as she continues in her job as Alaska’s governor.
Meanwhile, you must be wondering, Who is Mudflats? The blog explains in a way that should speak to all of us who are participating in this election:
. . . I am just a citizen who is paying attention. I’ve had the good fortune to have had people in my life who were engaged, and aware, and dragged me along until I became engaged and aware too. I am also fortunate to count as my friends some of those who hold elected office in this state, and remind me by example that there are good people out there in our state and city government who are intelligent, diligent, ethical, and working hard for the best interest of Alaska. . . .
. . . I grew up on the East Coast and attended a New England liberal arts college. After graduating, and diving in to the business world, I decided to flee the NYC area and take a two year adventure to Alaska.
When I arrived in Anchorage in February of 1991 without knowing a soul, only one month rent paid and $300 to my name, I looked out the window at the snow falling in the dark and wondered what I had done. By the time my two years were up, I was hooked.
I’ve put down deep roots here, and consider Alaska my home in every sense. I see it as a place of tremendous potential for business, for energy, for innovative thinking, and for citizen activists to be able to make a tangible difference in their local and state government. . . .
The picture above, by the way, was taken during an Anchorage Obama Rally which received front page coverage in the Anchorage Daily News.
ONE MORE THING: To be fair to both sides, the McCain camp has not given up. November 4 is still more than a week away. Anything could happen. Karl Rove told Fox News Sunday that McCain “has a steep road to climb”. Earlier, one McCain official had this hopeful analysis:
“We have a real chance in Pennsylvania. We are in trouble in Colorado, Nevada and Virginia. We have lost Iowa and New Mexico. We are OK in Missouri, Ohio and Florida. Our voter intensity is good, and we can match their buy dollar for dollar. . . till the election. It’s a long shot, but it’s worth fighting for.”
A FINAL PERSONAL NOTE
I have just received word that my dear friend and a guest columnist for this blog, Dr. Andrew Weaver, died Wednesday, October 22. Final services will be held in New York City, November 1, at the Chinese United Methodist Church (69 Madison Street) where his wife, the Rev. Dr. Carolyn L. Stapleton is pastor.
Frederick Clarkson writes in his blog, Talk to Action:
Andrew Weaver, a friend of and occasional contributor to Talk to Action has died after a long illness. Andrew was, very much as I think he would like to be remembered, a man who lived his Methodist faith. And I think that many will come to know him if they have not already, as having lead a heroic life.
He worked tirelessly for peace and social justice and sought to make a difference in the world. I know that he did – from his support for Cindy Sheehan during her vigil in Crawford, Texas where she hoped President Bush would explain her son’s death in Iraq; to his efforts to thwart the placement of the Bush Presidential library and the related Bush “think tank” at Southern Methodist University — and much, much more. . . .
Andrew wrote a guest column for this blog, Torture is Not a Methodist Family Value, that drew the highest number of immediate hits this blog has ever received. His posting was written as a part of his campaign to alert United Methodists to what he felt deeply was a mistake: Construction of the George W. Bush “think tank” at SMU, referred to in the excerpt above from Frederick Clarkson’s tribute.
Andrew will be missed by his family and by his large circle of friends.