From the department of No Big Surprises, the Times today publishes its endorsement of Barack Obama for president. It’s as lengthy and thoughtful as you’d expect, even addressing their previous endorsement of Hillary Clinton during the primaries (“Watching him being tested in the campaign has long since erased the reservations that led us to endorse Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Democratic primaries”). The piece is, of course, mostly issue-focused, but there’s also a damning assessment of John McCain’s drift to the far-right, his campaign’s “class warfare,” and that plucky V.P. pick: “His choice of a running mate so evidently unfit for the office was a final act of opportunism and bad judgment that eclipsed the accomplishments of 26 years in Congress.”
Aside from siding with Obama on the issues, the Times also notes that he has the “cool head and sound judgment” necessary to lead — which, in a way, is more about McCain’s temperament issues than Obama’s. After all, we’ve heard this before about Obama’s “unflappable demeanor,” his “calmness” — and we admit, the dude can be like a lozenge — but if he were running against Romney, Obama’s “cool head” probably wouldn’t get quite so much attention. The hothead-McCain meme is the always underlying idea, even if nobody actually is talking about McCain or his toasty head.
There doesn’t seem to be much McCain can do in the coming days to up his Zen factor, but maybe he could try to play the sympathy card regarding his temper. Conveniently, his brother Joe allegedly called 911 this week to complain and curse about traffic. Don’t you see? John can’t even help it! It’s a crippling family disease running through their hot, hot blood!