Michael Smerconish, early morning drive time talk host for Philly's conservative Big Talker Clear Channel radio station, who is followed on the station by Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh, then Sean Hannity, has endorsed Barack Obama.
He reports that after interviewing both McCain and Obama, after reading both candidates memoirs, attending both the Republican and Democratic conventions and watching all the debates, after attending an Obama event in Philly last week, for the first time since registering as a Republican 28 years ago, he is voting for Obama.
Smerconish, one of the more rational and reasonable, and actually more balanced of the right wing talk radio pundit constellation, offers five reasons why. I've abridged and excerpted them:
He starts with terrorism, observing that we stopped chasing Osama Bin Laden when he left Tora Bora in 2001. Smerconish says,
The Bush administration outsourced the hunt for bin Laden and instead invaded Iraq.
No one in Iraq caused the death of 3,000 Americans on 9/11. Our invasion was based on a false predicate, so we have no business being there, regardless of whether the surge is working. Our focus must be the tribal-ruled FATA region in Pakistan. Only recently has our military engaged al-Qaeda there in operations that mirror those Obama was ridiculed for recommending in August 2007.
Last spring, Obama told me: "It's not that I was opposed to war [in Iraq]. It's that I felt we had a war that we had not finished." Even Sen. Joe Lieberman conceded to me last Friday that "the headquarters of our opposition, our enemies today" is the FATA.
Smerconish moves next to the Economy, saying that it's incomprehensible to most people, including himself, and that it's time to "covet intellect." He recalls a recent conversation:
Jack Bogle, the legendary founder of the Vanguard Group, told me recently that McCain's assertion that the fundamentals of the economy were "strong" was the "stupidest statement of 2008." In light of the unprecedented volatility in the market, who can dispute Bogle's characterization and the lack of understanding that McCain's assessment portends?
Next he brings up Sarah Palin, tells us that she passed the first assessment at the Republican National Convention, but since then, no further evidence, so "she remains an unknown quantity." He writes:
We are left questioning the judgment of a candidate who bypassed his reported preferred choices, Lieberman and former Gov. Tom Ridge, and instead yielded to the whims of the periphery of his party. With two wars and a crumbling economy, Palin is too big of a risk to be a heartbeat away from a presidency held by a 72-year-old man who has battled melanoma. Advantage Joe Biden.
Next topic, Opportunity. Smerconish recalls how, on Fathers day, Obama observed that too many fathers are missing from too many childrens' and mothers' lives. He goes on to note,