The Record, of Stockton, California, may not be the most well-known of newspapers, but they have been, for a number of decades, one of the most consistent. The last time the paper endorsed a Democrat for the White House, the year was 1936 and the lucky endorsee was Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Since then, the closest a Democrat has come was in 1992, when they endorsed neither Bill Clinton nor George H. W. Bush to send a message that "a larger role for the third-party candidate" was warranted.
That's all changed over the weekend, in a move the California paper describes as a turning of the "tide":
For the first time in 72 years, The Record is endorsing a Democrat for president.
Franklin D. Roosevelt got our nod in 1936.
The reasons for the endorsement of Barack Obama over John McCain are articulated in the editorial on this page.
The unanimous decision was made by our editorial board, which consists of Publisher Roger W. Coover, Managing Editor Donald W. Blount, Opinion Page Editor Eric Grunder, Human Resources Director Sandi Johnson and me.
There are many who will question - with some validity - the power or value of such an endorsement. Our decision is hardly going to tip the balance in a competitive presidential election.
In their endorsement, the Record writes:
Barack Obama is our choice for president of the United States.
He has demonstrated time and again he can think on his feet. More importantly, he has demonstrated he will think things through, seek advice and actually listen to it.
Obama is a gifted speaker. But in addition to his smarts and energy, possibly his greatest gift is his ability to inspire.
For eight years, American politics has been marked by smears, fears and greed. For too long, we've practiced partisanship in Washington, not politics. The result is a cynicism every bit as deep as that which infected the nation when Richard Nixon was shamed from office and when Bill Clinton brought shame to the office.
This must end, but John McCain can't do it. He can't inspire, nor can he really break from a past that is breaking this nation.