Colin Powell’s plea for decency

October 19, 2008 at 8:57 pm | Posted in U.S. Politics | 1 Comment

I don’t post Presidential endorsements on this blog because they generally have little impact on the course of an election. I make an exception here because Colin Powell’s endorsement of Obama is interesting on a number of levels. At its most basic, it happens to be one of the most eloquent, well-argued and persuasive endorsements the Senator has received, and at a time when both campaigns are transmitting nothing but white noise, it’s nice to hear a more thoughtful, measured assessment of the choices facing Americans.

But there’s a lot more going on here. Much of Powell’s endorsement is a plea for decency; whilst he softly stamps on the lie about Obama’s faith, he also attacks the implicit suggestion that there is something wrong with being Muslim, and speaks of a young Islamic American who was killed serving his country in Iraq. There is a tacit acknowledgement here that America’s public sphere is ailing just as badly as the economy.

He is as explicit as he can be about who is responsible for this startling decay; the former Secretary of State is horrified by what the Republican Party has become, dismantles the attacks on Obama’s patriotism and questions the judgement of selecting a woman who is neither qualified nor ready to assume the highest office in the land. It’s no secret that Powell was the most moderate member of George W. Bush’s cabinet, but he goes so far as to say that the party as a whole is so far to the right that it cannot be trusted with the power of appointing new judges to the Supreme Court. In a later video explaining his endorsement, he attacks the Minnesota representative who asked the media to investigate which members of Congress are anti-American, and even defends Obama on taxes. Yes, a Reagan Republican defended a liberal Democrat on the issue of tax. That’s how extreme the GOP’s rhetoric has become.

In terms of horserace politics, this matters little; it won’t close the deal for Obama any more than Joe Lieberman’s endorsement helped McCain. But what makes it significant is that this is the most high profile Republican yet to warn that the party is killing itself, has lost touch with the political centre, is alienating its most moderate supporters and is undeserving of power.

Whilst he’ll be villified & ridiculed in the short term, in the barren years to come he will receive the sincere gratitude of those who try to save the party from itself.


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  1. Suddenly because Powell is endorsing obama he is not as evil as he used to be? Yet, Powell was the one encouraging the Iraq war claiming they had WMD. Anyone with intelligence knows that Powell is endorsing based on race.

    98% of black people are voting for obama just because he is black. White people are split between obama, nadar, and McCain. Think about it.

    The truth is this is a race campaign. The Democrats control the senate and congress and have the lowest approval rating in US history. The Democrats couldn’t even beat Bush in the elections thus why they are going after the black vote in the US, about 45 million blacks. Thus, why obama voted present over 130 times, avoided the tough issues, and never challenged his party leaders on senate to preserve his political career. Only 143 days on state senate when he decided to run for office.

    The Democrats lost because the US is not a socialist/communist system. Americans fought against Nazi Germany, their socialist party, and communist USSR for decades, just to name a few.

    Again, Clinton supported deregulation and introduced FTAs like NAFTA. That is why the US economy was strong during his administration. McCain also supports deregulation and fights for FTAs like NAFTA. These initiatives will help our economy. Our economy is very important, McCain is better for our economy. I hope people get educated before they vote.

    US businesses create US jobs. obama wants to limit the growth of US businesses, which is limiting the growth of US jobs. If you increase tax on US businesses they will either just relocate to a lower tax country taking American jobs with them, pass the added tax cost to consumers or go bankrupt. GM and Ford can barely compete globally and obama wants to tax them more. The smaller businesses that are reliant on GM and Ford will also be greatly affected, destroying more US jobs.

    The US is the land of opportunity not the land of equal outcome. Why should government take your money and give it to people who are already on welfare to spread the wealth?

    What Caused Our Economic Crisis?

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