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LA Times Editorial Board endorses someone for president. Go figure.

October 17, 2008 |  2:04 pm

To the surprise of 13 non-subscribers in Burundi, the Editorial Board of The Times newspaper today endorsed Democrat Barack Obama for president.

"It is Obama's character and temperament that come to the fore. It is his steadiness. His maturity. These are qualities American leadership has sorely lacked for close to a decade," the editorial said.

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The editorial also criticized Sen. John McCain, whom it endorsed for the Republican nomination before the California primary, as becoming "nearly unrecognizable" in his position switches since last winter.

And it roundly pounded his selection of Gov. Sarah Palin as running mate as "the most unqualified vice presidential nominee of a major party in living memory."

The editorial by the editorial board praised Obama for his vice presidential choice of Sen. Joe Biden as demonstrating "more competence than drama." You can read the whole endorsement thingy for yourself here.

To the ongoing disbelief of media conspiracists, the editorial board is a separate entity from The Times newsroom or LATimes.com, the online home of The Ticket. To be absolutely honest, other than....

...the well-respected editor, we don't even know who's on the editorial board anymore. In recent years they've cycled people in and out of there like a Starbuck's counter crew.

All we know is it's a super-secret society that talks politics and policies over those tomatoey El Pollo Loco lunches.

The board's decision creates all kinds of problems for political partisans. It endorsed a Democrat, which kinda blows up the idea of a rich Republican owner dictating policies from BelAir or Michigan Avenue.

Someone could suggest the endorsement confirms the mainstream print media's ongoing adoration of the liberal Windy City machine magi. Except this is the newspaper's first presidential endorsement of any kind since 1972, when it had appeared to learn its lesson and stopped White House endorsements after supporting Richard M. Nixon, who was forced to resign in disgrace. So, no Times pattern there.

In fact, Obama is the first Democratic presidential nominee endorsed by The Times newspaper ever, which makes him very special or weird.

There's been considerable debate in media circles over what impact, if any, newspaper endorsements have anymore, given the exploding environment for information elsewhere.

They do prompt healthy and thoughtful discussion in print, always a good thing in a vibrant democracy that often seems too hurried to read much anymore. And newspaper endorsements do seem to carry considerable weight in local races, where readers never heard of many candidates.

On the presidential level, the campaigns actually have people assigned to promote, track and publicize their newspaper endorsements as if they really matter. Historical evidence seems to indicate voters tend to soak up all kinds of information from a growing array of sources especially online, and then follow their own minds as if this was a democracy.

As regular readers of Ticket comments know, we here are a bunch of moronic, leftist, neocon idiots who are completely in the tank for whomever the commenter is against. We love being there.

If you're outraged or delighted by the newspaper's endorsement, spare us the need to delete your comment here. Send it to Letters@latimes.com. We don't really care.

Our comments are reserved for Ticket items, which will continue to strive to be the kind of equal opportunity offender our millions of readers have come to expect.

--Andrew Malcolm

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