Indian Country Today: Obama for president
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
"Indian Country Today endorses Barack Obama for president. This election is a remarkable opportunity for change in policy direction and leadership style. As a person, Obama exhibits humility and grace, and his story inspires creativity and action. As a candidate, Obama redefined American politics. The first African-American candidate for president deftly inspired legions of disenfranchised and first-time voters to participate in the democratic process. His campaign avoided divisive politics, instead finding common-ground issues like education and the economy to bring minds together. American Indian voters, especially those who support Obama, seized their right to vote like never before and have embraced political participation as a new ethic. We are certain that Native voters will make a noticeable difference in the presidential race and in local ones as well.
Throughout this long campaign, Obama did not just talk about Indian issues; he talked with Native peoples and brought their messages to the national stage. Sen. John McCain made no appearances in Indian country during his campaign despite requests by several tribes. Obama’s successful outreach efforts that included visits with tribal councils and speeches on reservations rendered McCain practically invisible.
This was unfortunate and ill-advised. McCain has been a respected leader and advocate for Indian issues, serving twice as chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. He won his party’s nomination by opposing unpopular Bush policy on immigration, torture and drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge – all issues that won him praise from Indian supporters. But the “maverick” strategy is failing, mostly due to a disappointing campaign that baits the right-wing conservative base with negative ads and McCain’s selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate."