James Taranto at The Wall Street Journal compared the two Washington Post editorials endorsing Obama for President, both 2008 and 2012, and found “Two Newspapers In One!” It turns out the Post was no judge of Obama's political character.
This year, the Post admitted: "Mr. Obama alienated Congress and business leaders by isolating himself inside a tight White House circle that manages to be both arrogant and thin-skinned. Too often his administration treats business as an obstacle rather than a partner." But in 2008, their editorial drank the Kool-Aid that Obama’s temperament and eloquence and inspiration to diversity-mongers would deliver America from peril:
Mr. Obama's temperament is unlike anything we've seen on the national stage in many years. He is deliberate but not indecisive; eloquent but a master of substance and detail; preternaturally confident but eager to hear opposing points of view. He has inspired millions of voters of diverse ages and races, no small thing in our often divided and cynical country. We think he is the right man for a perilous moment.
You want to blame someone for the economic stagnation? Try the Post, which claimed in 2008 that “Mr. Obama is a man of supple intelligence, with a nuanced grasp of complex issues and evident skill at conciliation and consensus-building. [!] At home, we believe, he would respond to the economic crisis with a healthy respect for markets tempered by justified dismay over rising inequality and an understanding of the need for focused regulation.”
He was qualified because he was liberal. The Post wasn’t fooling anyone.
The 2012 Post endorsement tends to argue that Obama is better precisely because is Not Romney, and pretends Romney is a hard-headed ideologue, unlike the liberals who run major newspapers:
He did not end, as he promised he would, “our chronic avoidance of tough decisions” on fiscal matters. But Mr. Obama is committed to the only approach that can succeed: a balance of entitlement reform and revenue increases. Mr. Romney, by contrast, has embraced his party’s reality-defying ideology that taxes can always go down but may never go up.
Liberals like the Posties believe in a "reality" in which federal spending may never come down -- in fact it may not even have its growth curtailed, for reporters call that "draconian cuts."
Along that road lies a future in which interest payments crowd out everything else a government should do, from defending the nation to caring for its poor and sick to investing in its children. Mr. Romney’s future also is one in which an ever-greater share of the nation’s wealth resides with the nation’s wealthy, at a time when inequality already is growing.
Even granting the importance of the fiscal issue, a case might still be made for Mr. Romney if Mr. Obama’s first term had been a failure; if Mr. Romney were more likely to promote American security and leadership abroad; or if the challenger had shown himself superior in temperament, capacity and character. In fact, not one of these is true.