In the past 50 years, The Eagle has never recommended a Democrat for president. We made no recommendations in 1960 and 1964 -- when Texas' own Lyndon B. Johnson was on the Democratic ticket -- nor did we in 1968 -- although we did praise Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey's position on the Vietnam War. We did not in 1976 and 1980. In 1972, The Eagle recommend Richard Nixon, in 1984, Ronald Reagan. We recommended George H.W. Bush in 1988 and 1992 and his son in 2000. We recommended Bob Dole in 1996.
This year is different, in large part because of the very difficult challenges facing this nation after eight years of a failed Bush administration. We are faced with a choice between Sen. John McCain, who claims to be an agent of change but promotes the policies of the past, and Sen. Barack Obama, who also wears the change mantle, but offers a vision for the future, even if he has yet to fully explain how he would carry out that vision if elected president in little more than two weeks.
Every 20 or 30 years or so, a leader comes along who understands that change is necessary if the country is to survive and thrive. Teddy Roosevelt at the turn of the 20th century and his cousin Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan -- these leaders have inspired us to rise to our better nature, to reach out to be the country we can be and, more important, must be.
Barack Obama is such a leader. He doesn't have all the answers, to be sure, but at least he is asking the right questions. While we would like more specificity on his plans as president, we are confident that he can lead us ever forward, casting aside the doubts and fears of recent years.
Also of great concern is McCain's selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate. Like Obama, she has little experience in governing, but unlike the Illinois senator, she is a candidate of little intellectual curiosity who appears to be hopelessly unready to be president.…
We also are dismayed by the tenor of the McCain-Palin campaign. If their goal is to severely wound an Obama presidency should that come to pass, they are dangerously close to succeeding.
It is time for America to look to its future with hope and optimism. It is time to say we can be better. It is time to redefine who we will be as a leader of nations. With hope in our hearts and confidence in our choice, The Eagle recommends a vote for Barack Obama for president.
Update: The Houston Chronicle, too. Interesting pull quote:
Perhaps the worst mistake McCain made in his campaign for the White House was the choice of the inexperienced and inflammatory Palin as his vice-presidential running mate. Had he selected a moderate, experienced Republican lawmaker such as Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison with a strong appeal to independents, the Chronicle's choice for an endorsement would have been far more difficult.McCain killed himself with her selection.
Update II: From a couple of Texas Daily Dish readers:
A staggering endorsement? [referring to the College Station endorsement] Staggering does not begin to describe it. College Station is home to Texas A&M University, with possibly the most conservative student body outside of Utah or Bob Jones University. I went there and am quite proud to have my degrees from there, but the idea of a paper from that area picking any democrat over a decorated war vet is much more than staggering. I'm looking for plagues of locusts, raining frogs, dogs and cats living together, and mass hysteria.
Another shocked Texan reader writes:
For your edification and that of your readers, College Station is the home to Texas A&M, founded as an agricultural college and still reveling in its ag tradition.
Its student body population is 95 percent white and more than that conservative. We in the rest of Texas refer to College Station as "Berlin on the Brazos." A&M is still home of the corps of cadets, an ROTC program on steroids that still sends young men and women into the active armed services with commissions.
On top of all of that, A&M's student body is among the most racist groups I have ever encountered. University of Houston athletes are still called Cougroes and Cougar High because UH was the first major school in the south to integrate.
For the Eagle to endorse Obama is just shocking, far more so than the Houston Chronicle, Dallas Morning News (if they do) or Chicago Tribune. This is Palin's country here.