The NYT has endorsed Barack Obama (next to a picture of Abraham Lincoln. Hint hint). Charles Krauthammer has endorsed John McCain. (And before you jump down my throat for the audacity of positioning Krauthammer as the equal of the editorial board of the New York Times, bear in mind that Krauthammer is one talented commentator with a few assistants, and the editorial board of the NYT is a small group of journalists, none of them individually as influential as Krauthammer - so positioning them next to each other isn't so outlandish).
Neither of these endorsements is remotely surprising. Any other result would have been news so startling it would have made the front page of the New York Times (ah... Well, forget I said it). Actually, the only serious endorsement out there that is in any way not fully obvious in advance is that of the Economist, next week, and they're going to flow with the tide and endorse Obama, just wait and see.
Still, one can make a number of comments about the Krauthammer-NYT comparision. In a nutshell, the NYT backs Obama for being a healer; Krauthammer supports McCain for being a fighter. These two preferences are the result of a deeper difference of opinion, where the NYT feels that top-notch human-relations skills, such as they think Obama has, will tame the world, while Krauthammer feels that at this moment in time (and perhaps always) the world is a very dangerous place, no matter how good the American president is at diplomacy.
So that's an interesting contrast.
Does history prove the consistent veracity of either set of propositions? Is it possible to make a general rule that this side or that is more convincing, given the precedents? No. Not that I can see. The world really is a nasty place and will remain so, but healers can make a difference sometimes and when so it's a fine thing; fighters sometimes heal the world without fighting, and healers sometimes go to war. Just some obvious examples off the top of my head: Johnson was a healer who went to war. Reagan was a warrior who contributed more than most to healing the world. De Gaulle was a warrior who healed. Wilson was a healer who went to war.
The non-interesting contrast is about the way they interpret the campaigns. I don't think anyone would dispute that Obama has run a magnificent campaign, one of the best ever. The NYT feels this proves his ability to manage the world, which is more or less what the president of the US tries to do; for the life of me I can't say why they feel this. They then lambast McCain for running a nasty campaign, and deduce from it that he has lost the qualities they liked about him for decades, and disqualifies him to be president. Hogwash, of course. The first George Bush ran an extremely nasty campaign (remember Willie Horton), then went on to run the world in the way the NYT yearns for Obama to do, with diplomacy, coalition building etc, and still the NYT was against him. Campaigns are narrowly focused things: you know who you're up against, you know the rules of winning, you know the date of the decision, and that's it. Doesn't resemble the real world in any parameter.