Monday, October 20, 2008

Powell endorsement of Obama.

There are those who say that the Republican party doesn't have any great men left in it, any who have the depth of character or introspection to lead. But that isn't true. Not yet, anyway.

Before discussing today's endorsement of Barack Obama by Colin Powell, I'd like to point out that I'm not a Johnny-come-lately on this one. I wrote about Powell years ago, in posts named, Trading honor for a pack of lies and Righties should listen to this Republican. I do.

There are many Democrats who are distrustful of Colin Powell because of his speech at the United Nations in regard to the Iraq war. I addressed this however in these two posts, and it has become clear (and not because of anything that Powell-- the loyal soldier even in the face of open treachery by his C-in-C-- has said, but rather because of what others, notably Lawrence Wilkerson and David Kay, have said) that Powell was lied to, used and spit out by the Bush machine as soon as he had served their purposes. I wrote then, in the context of information provided by others (and notably not by Powell himself) that he had been intentionally given bad information before the U.N. speech,

To this day, I believe that Colin Powell believed what he said, and if one could ask him I believe he would regret his propagation of a lie. As Secretary of State, he had an absolute right to know what anyone else in the administration knew, yet they knowingly fed him lies, and therefore fed him to the wolves.

Colin Powell always was a good soldier, so I wouldn't expect him to come out and criticize his commander in chief, even in the face of such an outright betrayal. But the biggest mistake that he ever made, and I suspect that he even realizes it now, deep down inside, was to join the Republican party. A party who eats their own (see my post on Katherine Harris from a couple of days ago to get an idea of how fast they can turn on you).

To paraphrase MacArthur, a man who could have been anything, even the President (and Lord knows he would have chased bin Laden to the ends of the earth after 9/11 before anything else became a higher priority), is now just an old soldier fading away.

The loonies who run the GOP have viewed Powell with suspicion ever since he suggested that comprehensive sex education in high school was necessary to prevent unwanted pregnancy. Not helpful to him in a party dominated by intolerance, especially on cultural issues.

So today, Powell endorsed Barack Obama for President.

Powell also told NBC’s Tom Brokaw that he was “troubled” by Republicans’ personal attacks on Obama, especially false intimations that Obama was Muslim and the recent focus on Obama’s alleged connections to William Ayers, a co-founder of the radical ’60 Weather Underground.

Stressing that Obama was a lifelong Christian, Powell denounced Republican tactics that he said were insulting not only to to Obama but also to Muslims.

“The really right answer is what if he is?” Powell said, praising the contributions of millions of Muslim citizens to American society.

“I look at these kind of approaches to the campaign, and they trouble me,” Powell said. “Over the last seven weeks, the approach of the Republican Party has become narrower and narrower.”

Seven weeks? How about seven years? Or more like, seven times seven years, since Nixon began running to succeed Ike (the last Republican President I respect). Nevertheless, Powell is fundamentally right.

He's also burned any bridges he had left to the GOP. It's fair to say that if he ever shows up around a Republican event again, he will likely hear some boos, if not worse.

Already some righty bloggers are claiming that this is about race, that Colin Powell endorsed Obama because he is black. That of course is ridiculous. They themselves used to say that Powell transcended race. They were right about that. He is a genuine American hero, and one whose skin color doesn't influence anyone's thinking about him (except of course the righty bloggers who can't think of anything more intelligent to say-- and note: one out of every eight Americans is black, so if one black person says something good about another black person it's likely not because they are black, it's because they believe what they are saying.) When righty bloggers claim that this is about race, they in fact say nothing about Powell, but rather show how small minded they are.

As I said at the end of this post, the GOP is not devoid of people who think independently and truly exhibit greatness. But it seems like more and more, they are having trouble reconciling their own vision with what their party has degenerated into.

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