Powell provides poetic justice to racists

Irony of ironies for the racists, Colin Powell’s endorsement may very well have been the loosening of the final lugnut on a wheel of the McCain Straight Talk Express bus, causing the campaign to go into the ditch.

There is no way McCain will say anything to imply that Powell’s endorsement has anything to do with his being black. That would doom his candidacy.

As for loose nuts coming off rusty old wheels, I’m not surprised that the following came from Rush Limbaugh. It shows how scared he is of the impact of Powell’s endorsement.

Secretary Powell says his endorsement is not about race. OK, fine. I am now researching his past endorsements to see if I can find all the inexperienced, very liberal, white candidates he has endorsed. I’ll let you know what I come up with. I was also unaware of his dislike for John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy and Antonin Scalia. I guess he also regrets Reagan and Bush making him a four-star [general] and secretary of state and appointing his son to head the FCC. Yes, let’s hear it for transformational figures. ( Email sent to Jonathan Martin of Politco)

I am disappointed in George Will however. This is what he said when asked on “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos about the impact of Powell’s endorsement:

Some impact. And I think this adds to my calculation — this is very hard to measure — but it seems to me if we had the tools to measure we’d find that Barack Obama gets two votes because he’s black for every one he loses because he’s black because so much of this country is so eager, a, to feel good about itself by doing this, but more than that to put paid to the whole Al Sharpton/Jessee Jackson game of political rhetoric. (Watch video here)

If anybody connected directly with the campaign says that Powell endorsed Obama because of his race I am certain they will be rebuked.

Obviously racist supporters of McCain/Palin are already dismissing the endorsement for this reason, but their votes were always solid. At least those that don’t go to Palin rallies just to ogle her. I bet some of them won’t vote at all, those that are even registered that is.

I thought Powell fired a not too subtle shot across the McCain/Palin bow implying that he might reconsider his decision not to get involved in campaigning if the negative personal attacks like the Ayers thing continue.

McCain does not want Powell actively involved in campaigning for Obama because he knows how popular he is with many moderate Republicans. McCain needs the votes of moderate Republicans and some Reagan Democrats to win. It is likely he just lost a few who were still wavering and who watched all seven minutes of the Powell endorsement. That’s where the power came, not just the fact of the endorsement, but of the reasons laid out. (Photo, President Ronald Reagan and then National Security Adviser Powell in 1988.)

Some people have questioned whether Powell is really in touch with the black experience inasmuch as Democrats often consider that any African American who’s a Republican has “sold out”. I wondered about whether he grew up affluent and discovered the following:

“Powell was born in Harlem, a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Manhattan in 1937 to Jamaican immigrant parents and was raised in the South Bronx. He also has Scottish, and other ancestries. Powell attended Morris High School, a former public school in The Bronx, New York City, from which he graduated in 1954. While in school, he worked a local shop where he picked up Yiddish from the shopkeepers and some of the customers. He remembers some of his Yiddish to this day. He gained a bachelor’s degree in geology from City College of New York attaining a “C” average… ” (Wikipedia) City College is the free university open only to residents and considered on par with Harvard. It was there that he was in ROTC.

In another part of the interview Brokaw asked him about his role in the lead-up to the Iraq war. Of course many Democrats have been highly critical of him and view him as the only person who could have stopped the invasion of Iraq. I thought Powell’s answers were evasive and defensive. You can read his answer here and judge for yourself.

It seems to me he’d rather not discuss his relationship with the likes of Paul Wolfowitz and Dick Cheney. But he made it clear even before this interview, and again during it, that he is a moderate Republican and to me that means not a neocon. Here’s a quote:

Powell was the subject of controversy in 2004 when, in a conversation with British Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, he reportedly referred to neoconservatives within the Bush administration as “fucking crazies”.. from Powell’s political views on Wikipedia

I don’t recall any evidence that he embraced any of the underlying neocon philosophy, although he did have to work with the likes of Wolfowitz and Cheney.

I think Obama can and should show he’s willing to work with moderate Republicans currently in Congress*, and that if asked he shouldn’t rule out asking Powell to have a role in the administration. Brokaw mentioned a few possibilities, one of them was as some kind of envoy to work on the Palestinian Israel conflicts. The Yiddish he learned as a child might come in handy. Can you see him teamed with Bill Clinton? Now that would be some star power to rival the Star of Bethlehem. If we can only find the third Magi…

Watch the Meet the Press broadcast and read the transcript here.

*such as senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins from Maine, Gordon Smith, OR, Arlen Spector, PA, Norm Coleman, MN, Richard Lugar, ID, George Voinovich, OH., John Warner, VA and Chuck Hagel, Nebraska.

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  1. Hal Brown

    Casey Gane-McGalla is a new discovery for me. He writes for NewsOne for Black America which is part of BlackPlanet.com.

    I commented on his website regarding the article I referenced above, and would love it if he posted comments here.

    He has another piece of particular relevance because HuffPo just broke the news that Rick Davis, the McCain hackey puck, indicates “Campaign Rethinking Playing The Rev. Wright Card”. Rick Davis is saying that John Lewis’ horrible comparison of his (oh so classy) campaign with George Wallace’s justifies their using Reverend Wright.

    Gane-McCalla explains the truth of what John Lewis said:

    Both (Wallace and the McCain campaign) have tried to link their opponents with enemies of America. Just as Palin has accused Obama of ‘Pallin around with the terrorists,’ Wallace would accuse Kennedy of wanting to ‘surrender this state to Martin Luther King and his group of pro-Communists who have instituted these demonstrations’ While McCain rails against activist judges, the liberal media, socialists, intellectuals and elitists, Wallace would rail against ‘liberals, Communists, the Eastern press, Federal judges, ”pointy-headed intellectuals.’

    Wallace would make it a point to make sure his crowds were fearful of integration and what ‘foreign,’ ‘different’ African Americans would do to the white way of life. Just as McCain makes it a point that the crowds are fearful of what an exotic, un-American Obama would do for this country.

    Read the rest here.

    I only disagree with one point in this article, that “what McCain doesn’t get, is that Lewis was not comparing McCain to Wallace’s ‘segregationist policies…’ ” McCain isn’t stupid. He gets it. He knows exactly what Lewis was comparing him to.

    The McCain campaign sleaze influenced Colin Powell’s decision to back Obama. All they have to do is start impugning Obama’s character for his relationship with Rev. Wright and I can see Powell hitting the campaign trail.

    That would reinforce the title of this column… more poetic justice exacted on these bitter, unethical sore losers.

  2. pollchecker

    The Republican party has clearly demonstrated that either you are with them or you are against them. This is why lifelong Republicans like Hagel & Powell are very careful in what they say.

    It’s not that people like Powell or Hagel are Democrats, it’s just that they can’t be a party to the politics of lies, hate and fear anymore that the Republican party is locked into for the last few decades.

    So it is not surprising that they would attack Powell’s endorsement. After all isn’t that what attack dogs are trained to do? ATTACK!

  3. Hal Brown

    On Chuck Hagel, quote without comment:

    July. 25, 2008

    OMAHA, Neb. – Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel, fresh from an Iraq trip with Democrat Barack Obama, said the presidential candidates should focus on the war’s future and stop arguing over the success of last year’s troop surge.

    Hagel mentioned both candidates, but his comments seemed directed at Republican John McCain. McCain, while Obama traveled the Middle East, attacked Obama for opposing the military escalation last year that increased security in Iraq.

    “Quit talking about, ‘Did the surge work or not work,’ or, ‘Did you vote for this or support this,'” Hagel said Thursday on a conference call with reporters. LINK

  4. pollchecker

    Hagel also said after returning from that trip, that he was an American FIRST and what was important was what is good for America NOT what is good for the party.

    This is essentially what I believe Colin Powell and others who have crossed party lines to support Obama are saying.

    McCain says he puts country first, put I was taught actions speak louder than words. His actions in everything he has done during this campaign, including choosing Palin, clearly demonstrate that it’s about putting what is good for getting John McCain elected FIRST. Like Bush, he doesn’t have a clue what the country wants or needs which is reflected when he tries to talk substantively about issues like the economy.

  5. Hal Brown

    Another major endorsement –

    First Colin Powell, Now…

    Ken Adelman is a lifelong conservative Republican. Campaigned for Goldwater, was hired by Rumsfeld at the Office of Economic Opportunity under Nixon, was assistant to Defense Secretary Rumsfeld under Ford, served as Reagan’s director of arms control, and joined the Defense Policy Board for Rumsfeld’s second go-round at the Pentagon, in 2001. Adelman’s friendship with Rumsfeld, Cheney, and their wives goes back to the sixties, and he introduced Cheney to Paul Wolfowitz at a Washington brunch the day Reagan was sworn in.

    more from The New Yorker HERE

    More about the significance of this in The New York Times HERE

  6. christinel69

    The real Conservatives, not republicans, are trying to stick to their ideals by endorsing Obama. He truly seems to represent the original ideas of conservativism from an intellectual standpoint.
    The neocon movement that started with Reagan but was electrified by Newt Gingriches “contract for America” began an era of larger government, religious zealotry and emotional blackmail. Their mode of rule reduced intellect and research to some “liberal” ideal and even the far right radio pundits like Limbaugh and Hannity spoke of how glad they were that they didnt finish college. Its appalling that intellect and education were reduced to witchery by the party of Lincoln and Roosevelt.
    The original ideals of conservatives had nothing to do with religious belief. Read Chris Buckley and Wick Allison’s recent editorials
    regarding their reasons for breaking with the current republican party ideology. They are not the only ones and that will most likely reflect in the polls come november 4th. I am thinking we will see a “reverse bradley effect”. In public conservative republicans are telling their pals that they will vote for Mccain but hit the Obama button in the voting booth.
    Finally, Gazelle, regarding that “comedian” beating Norm Coleman in the polls in Mn? Lets not forget that this comedian also has a Harvard education. Franken is smart and progressive- it would be nice to have a voice like his in the senate. oh, you betcha!

  7. Hal Brown

    Speaking of Limbaugh, read Casey Gane-McCalla’s blog.

    This is my comment there:

    Too many good points to respond to all of them Casey. I do want to say that there are times a writer can succumb to Godwin’s Law and bring up the Nazis with ample justification. I think Limbaugh would fit right into the Reich’s ministry of propaganda.

    Your noticing how much Limbaugh looks like Gacy kind of – no racial insult intended – spooky. Both of them would be a horror to see approaching you in a dark alley.

    Only since Olbermann started making him The Worst Person on many of his shows along with Sean Hannity and some others who vie for the dubious “honor” have I realized just how horribly racist this guy is.

    Nice job in wading through his cesspool to put together these example.

    To think Imus was kicked off the air for his racist remarks about the Rutger’s women’s basketball team. Compared to Limbaugh Imus was classy. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Imus#Rutgers_women.27s_basketball_controversy

  8. Hal Brown

    Not just Adelman, the conservative who never voted for a Democrat (see story)

    but 26 of the papers that have endorsed Obama endorsed Bush four years ago elections. Everyone knows about the Chicago Tribune which never endorsed a Democrat before Obama. But the smaller papers in total may have more influence on undecided voters than the larger ones.

    from Editor and Publisher

  9. gazelle1929

    “Lets not forget that this comedian also has a Harvard education.”

    Yes, I agree he’s pretty smart, but somehow the idea of a comedian in the Senate brings to mind carrying coal to Newcastle.

    And what about the current comedian in the Oval Office? He has a degree from Yale!

  10. Carl Nemo

    Based on my analysis, the NWO, CFR, Bilderberg players that have come forth to endorse Obama starting with Jay Rockefeller almost a year ago tells me that the they’ve decided that it’s time to throw the neocon “Vulcans” under their globalist bus.

    They have a world-changing agenda in mind, but not one that destabilizes their plans for a new world order and more importantly the global marketplace that they’ve been so feverishly trying to construct during the past 30 years.

    With guys like Colin Powell, Ken Adelman and no doubt other esteemed personages of the republican party to come forth in the next few weeks, it represents John McCain’s swan song concerning presidential politics.

    Carl Nemo **==

  11. Hal Brown

    Pat Buchanan’s racist 2cents:

    While I think Pat has pretty much gone round the bend in his ever more lame infatuation with Sarah Palin overriding his opinion of her qualifications, obvious to anyone who watches Morning Joe, his latest comments tarnish his reputation as a fair minded conservative talk show regular. This is from Hardball:

    Buchanan: Alright, we gotta ask a question, look would Colin Powell be endorsing Obama if he were a white liberal democrat…

    John Walsh: Oh, Pat, I’m really sorry you went there.

    Buchanan: Look, General Powell Started off by saying it would be electrifying an African American and it is naive John to suggest it had nothing to do with his decision.

    Chris Matthews: He said that if that were his driving motive he would have done it weeks ago because the guy looked African America weeks and months ago.

    Walsh: And Obama’s been courting him. He’s been courting him for months.

    Buchanan: This is why he threw in the whole kitchen sink. A lot fo things are silly and ridiculous. Economics and Supreme courts justices, it’s…

    Walsh; That’s not silly…

    Buchanan: All the motives except for the one everybody is wondering about.


    I wonder whether Buchanan and a few others, both liberal and conservative (but mostly the later) take a more extreme position on the air than they believe because that’s what the producers want. That’s the subject of another column for a slow news week.

  12. gazelle1929

    Great essay, Mr. Brown. But I wonder if McCain will at this point play the race card and try to stem the bleeding. After all, he’s circling the toilet and has nothing to lose except his dignity, which may have died when he stuck his tongue out on national television.

    If Powell’s going to work with your list of moderate Republican senators he had better hurry. Hagel and Warner are not running for reelection, Smith looks to be a loser in Oregon, and Norm Coleman’s trailing against a comedian!

  13. pollchecker

    Powell’s endorsement was just another nail in the coffin. How appropriate. The former head of the Joint Chief of Staff, does not think McCain will make the best commander in chief. McCain loses on all fronts now.

  14. KYJurisDoctor

    With Colin Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama, John McCain is in DEEP political DOO-DOO.

    And so is SILLY SARAH (Palin). OsiSpeaks.com

  15. colocritic

    If McCain plays the race card against Powell it will kill him. Surely he’s not that stupid. Others are doing it for him, all to no gain.

    This certainly adds weight for Obama in the area of Commander-in-chief where he was not so strong. It fills my heart bursting with joy. I’ve always really liked Powell and think he is a giant among good and decent men and feel he was coerced by Bush/Cheney to go to the U.N. to give his speech. That damaged his standing and good record and I’ve never forgiven Bush for that action. He was a good soldier doing the bidding of his commander.

    My guess is this will set McCain back some as many people are fond of Powell and it might sway quite a few votes of the undecided. I certainly hope so! McCain/Palin are
    running such a dirty campaign they do not deserve to win.


  16. keith

    colocritic wrote:

    I’ve always really liked Powell and think he is a giant among good and decent men and feel he was coerced by Bush/Cheney to go to the U.N. to give his speech. That damaged his standing and good record and I’ve never forgiven Bush for that action. He was a good soldier doing the bidding of his commander.


    And General Powell said as much in his autobiography. What’s more, he has never forgiven President Bush for forcing him into doing so.

    The sad truth is that General Powell genuinely believed that what he was sharing with the UN was actionable intelligence. And that intelligence clearly indicated that Hussein had WMDs and was preparing to use them.

    We now know that General Powell was handed intelligence of dubious origin that had been “cherry picked” by a Cabal that had already decided to go to war. “W” and his cronies were simply looking for something (and someone) to provide the world with justification for their doing so.

    In short, General Powell was set up.

    Clearly, General Powell made the right call on Sunday to support Mr. Obama. For, like so many of the rest of us, General Powell has also now recognized that John McCain is simply George W. Bush on steroids.

  17. colocritic

    Good additional information, Keith, do you know who the speech writer(s) were?

    I think I’ve read that Powell and his aides spent several days writing the speech. Then Addington, with info from the CIA, wrote additions to the speech and Powell vehemently argued with him on those additions. Powell said he would refuse to say those “lies” and insisted they be removed. After the revised speech arrived and Powell was practicing, he realized they had put several of the disputed things back in the speech. I don’t recall now what the conflict was over but Powell stood his ground, removed what he disagreed with and insisted Tenet sit behind him at the U.N. when he gave the speech. That did happen.


  18. Hal Brown

    Will racism still help elect a president?

    Consider what Paul Krugman writes today:

    Richard Nixon made a remarkable marketing discovery. By exploiting America’s divisions — divisions over Vietnam, divisions over cultural change and, above all, racial divisions — he was able to reinvent the Republican brand. The party of plutocrats was repackaged as the party of the “silent majority,” the regular guys — white guys, it went without saying — who didn’t like the social changes taking place.

    It was a winning formula. And the great thing was that the new packaging didn’t require any change in the product’s actual contents — in fact, the G.O.P. was able to keep winning elections even as its actual policies became more pro-plutocrat, and less favorable to working Americans, than ever.

    John McCain’s strategy, in this final stretch, is based on the belief that the old formula still has life in it. from The Real Plumbers of Ohio

    Will the old formula still work? Good question.

  19. keith

    Hal, it might work this time, but probably not much longer.

    Ours is an ever-more diverse (and younger) nation. The old prejudices of race and ethnic origin that divided us in the Nixon era (and which Karl Rove and company have used to their advantage ever since) are now dying right along with that portion of our population that espoused them.

    In fact, it may very well take another generation or two before a majority of people who have known nothing else but to perpetuate such bigotry and baseless dogma to completely disappear.

    That’s because, as Professor Doctor Max Planck, winner of the Nobel Prize for physics and one of the greatest physicists of the early 20th Century once said, “Innovation rarely makes its way by gradually winning over and converting its opponents. What does happen is that its opponents gradually die out, and the growing generation is familiarized with the innovative ideas from the beginning.”

    I think we are already seeing this happening with Mr. Obama’s growing popularity in this election.

    However, what remains unknown at this point is how many of the bigots are still alive and willing to express their horrifically entrenched prejudices at the polls on election day.

  20. Hal Brown

    Obama will use Powell as adviser…

    Check this out: “Colin Powell To Have Role In Obama Administration Says Obama”

    My comment:

    The right wing blabbers are blathering in an attempt to minimize the impact this endorsement will have, and some like Limbaugh (no surprise), Pat Buchanan (a sad surprise) and George Will (a big surprise) are suggesting the endorsement was based on race.

    I think this announcement from Obama will fuel bring out the hidden racism in many people, and lead them to use this as “proof” that “the fix was in” prior to the endorsement.

    Of course these people were already supporting McCain, so it doesn’t make any difference. What will make a difference is that this may persuade some moderate Republicans and Reagan Democrats to vote for Obama.

  21. pollchecker

    I thought Powell made it pretty clear that he really wasn’t interested in public life anymore. I mean he did say he would consider anything that the POTUS would ask of him but really would prefer to remain in private life.

    I can’t say that I blame him, after the way Bush/Cheney used him.

    I am not suprised at Limbaugh or Buchanan’s statements. These were predictable. I am a bit surprised if Will insinuated that Powell’s choice was race based. Even Will has had harsh words for McCain & Palin lately so why he would think that Powell’s actions were anything but exactly what he said they were.

    Overall, I don’t think this endorsement is any great earth shattering news. It is just more of the snowball effect. The good things is that some people who may not consider voting for Obama might reconsider that train of thinking. Perhaps some people will feel validated by Powell’s endorsement in voting for Obama.

    And then I have a feeling there will be a lot of closet Obama voters…..white voters who will say they wont’ vote or vote for McCain who will vote for Obama behind closed doors when no one is looking.

  22. keith

    The right wing blabbers are blathering in an attempt to minimize the impact this endorsement will have, and some like Limbaugh (no surprise), Pat Buchanan (a sad surprise) and George Will (a big surprise) are suggesting the endorsement was based on race.

    …all of which simply underscores these person’s own racism.

    Clearly, there is absolutely no way to “spin” General Powell’s endorsement as being racially-based without also revealing one’s own racist frame of mind.

  23. Hal Brown

    Next century all Americans will be a shade of milk chocolate and have slightly oriental eyes. Too bad in a way that the diverse appearances we now have will fade away. Seeing Obama surrounded by people who vary in skin color from lily white to black as coal is inspiring.

    All the bigots will be long dead and their genes will be in the DNA of descendants that look more like Barack Obama than John McCain.

    My own view of innovation and change was influenced by Everett Rogers (LINK) who I took a course from when he was a young, not yet famous, professor of communications at Michigan State.