Unless you were in a cave somewhere Sunday, you know that Gen. Colin Powell, President George W. Bush’s first Secretary of State and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, endorsed Barack Obama for president.
He did it on “Meet the Press” during an interview with Tom Brokaw. His reasons included John McCain’s temperment in the early days of the financial crisis (that whole “I’m gonna suspend my campaign to go fix the economy and avoid the first Presidential debate” thing), his willingness to negative in the extreme (he singled out the obsession with William Ayers and the “Obama is a secret Muslim thing”) and his selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate as the reasons he threw his support behind Obama.
“It isn’t easy for me to disappoint Senator McCain as I have this morning,” Powell said. “I truly believe that at this point in America’s history we need a president who will not just continue … basically the policies we have followed in recent years. We need a president with transformational qualities. For that reason, I will be voting for Barack Obama.”
(I’m noticing that most of the conservatives that have thrown their support to Obama have done so partially because of the choice of Palin. Obama has even raised $150 million from people who want her nowhere near the Red Button. Now maybe it’s just me, but I’m starting to think that her presence on the ticket isn’t having the effect the McCain campaign was hoping it would have. Your VP choice is supposed to help YOU win, not the other guy.)
McCain, with whom Powell has been friends for more than 20 years, took it well. He said that the two just “had a disagreement.”
But the right-wing partisans who gin up vitriol for a reason saw Powell’s endorsement as one of those “How dare he decide to side with someone other than us?! That ungrateful darky!” moments.
Pat Buchanan, for instance, had me cracking up with his pronouncement that Powell had “betrayed” McCain by “making this announcement as he was taking on water. He didn’t have to do that to a fellow Republican.
But my personal favorite came from Rush Limbaugh. (Have I ever mentioned that I can’t drive while listening to this guy and that my twin brother listens to him every day? Now do you see why I don’t live at home?)
Now if he wanted to endorse Obama because they’re both black, Powell could have done that during the Democratic National Convention. Powell says that he was waiting to see how things shook out in terms of the VP choice and a few other things before making a pick. But that didn’t stop Limbaugh from hitting us with the bit of know-nothingness for which he’s famous.
I expected this from the right, I mean, their favorite darky has gone and gotten uppity and endorsed one of his own.
But what I saw from the left was kind of disappointing, too. Will Bunch of the Philadelphia Daily News took this moment to slam Powell for the War in Iraq and his appearance before the UN to make the case for war.
Was I happy with Powell then? No. I believe that when he sat down at the microphones at the UN, he took all of his credibility and threw it into the East River.
But as an Army brat, I get where Powell was coming from. Powell is a military man and as a military man, you don’t question orders, you follow them. He was following orders and it cost him. I don’t get down on him for that. He is probably down enough on himself because of it. No one likes to see dead soldiers less than one who commands them.
Powell says that he won’t rub the endorsement in by campaigning for Obama, but his endorsement was probably enough to make military folks and independents consider following his lead.
Should be interesting…