Sunday, October 19, 2008

Powell Endorses Obama

Former Secretary of State and Republican Party luminary General Colin Powell has endorsed Barack Obama for Presidency. Percentage of Republicans who thought he'd be a great Presidential candidate himself in the 1990s, who now will view him as a traitorous wench, at 80% and rising.

It was an interesting endorsement video to watch. It is clear that Powell thinks the modern Republican Party has stretched way beyond where he's willing to go in terms of its race rightward. The concerns he laid out about the current GOP extend from the selection of Gov. Sarah Palin as VP, to the prospect of two more conservative judges on the Supreme Court, to the steady increase of Islamophobic fear-mongering that has characterized the Party since 9/11. Now, it is fair to say that Powell -- himself always a rather moderate Republican -- may have simply been pushed off the edge as the party lines shift direction. And the Republican base will not take his defection as a repudiation, because Powell is precisely the type of fellow that they want out of the Party anyway. The inquisitorial process may soon give the GOP the purity of a political graveyard, but God help them if they aren't redoubling their efforts to excommunicate the insufficiently zealous.

But some of Powell's complaints should, in an ideal world, resonate with Republicans and Democrats alike. His anecdote about the Muslim-American soldier who died in Iraq for our country was quite moving, as was his rhetorical question about the seven year old Muslim kid who wonders if he can be President in America. The answer should be yes, but every signal we've received over the past few years indicates no. And that should trouble us, as it clearly does General Powell.

The other thing I wanted to mention is that it is clear this was a difficult endorsement for General Powell to make. Many Democrats had vague positive feelings towards McCain for awhile, but found them quite easy to discard once we witnessed the campaign 2008 version rear its ugly head. But to many independents and moderate Republicans, John McCain was something of a hero. He was their leading man -- a politician who they thought had integrity and unimpeachable character. General Powell stresses that his endorsement in no way represents a repudiation of Senator McCain. But it is clear he is deeply depressed by the direction Senator McCain has taken his campaign -- lots of clarity on Bill Ayers, very little on the economy. And I have to think that for many moderates, who saw in John McCain the very model of the right kind of politician, this election cycle must have been a painful experience indeed.


Anonymous said...

" was his rhetorical question about the seven year old Muslim kid who wonders if he can be President..."

Nah, not a chance--oh, wait: male Muslim kid? Sure; why not?

Look, I'm going to vote for Obama, but I'm already dreading the mass self-congratulatory outpouring on Nov 5, when we're all going to be so exultant about how "progressive" we all are, and no one's going to notice or care that our national slogan might as well be: "America: we don't care what color your cock is."

David Schraub said... long as it isn't circumcised.

PG said...


I am not sure that this word means what you think it means.

David Schraub said...

You don't think it can be used gender-neutrally?

danweasel said...

"And I have to think that for many moderates, who saw in John McCain the very model of the right kind of politician, this election cycle must have been a painful experience indeed."

Yep, pretty much describes my experience thus far. I told my wife last December that my dream election would be between Obama and McCain, the two men from either party who I thought would be the most moderate, most bipartisan. I was ecstatic when Obama started winning and when McCain looked as if he was going to wrap it up pretty quickly. I assumed McCain would quickly move back towards the center after the primary was over, giving me a difficult choice between two good men.

...Yeah. I watched with despair as McCain push ever further to the right. And further. And further.

The GOP has lost my vote for the forseeable future and I've lost almost all respect for McCain, and that is a very sad thing to me.

So I think I know exactly how Powell feels (except for the part where he is called a racist bigot by people who encouraged him to run for them 12 years ago). And they may succeed in purifying their party, but it won't win them any elections. I don't know how they can't see that.

The Gaucho Politico said...

"wench" as gender neutral? No i dont think that is going to work.

I find it difficult to reconcile Powell's endorsement of Obama as anything but a rejection of McCain. McCain is ultimately in charge of his campaign and this is the one he chose to run, the one that Powell is rejecting. At this point we cannot continue to separate McCain the man from McCain the presidential candidate nor should we.

Anonymous said...

Your end comment hits the nail right on the head. I was undecided up until today, because I didn't want to vote against McCain, despite all the problematic things he's done over the last few months during his campaign. But Powell's endorsement has pushed me finally over the edge into the Obama camp.

Anonymous said...

Incidentally, David, it turns out the actual quote is:
"Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country?' The answer is 'No. That's not America.' Is there something wrong with some 7-year old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she can be president?

I knew there was a reason I adored Powell. And I'm going to willfully choose to believe his endorsement might pave the way to a SecState reprise; that thought might just get me through the day.

Unknown said...

It took me approximately two seconds after hearing this endorsement to think "Cue Rush Limbaugh claiming this is merely a racial thing."