Sunday, October 19, 2008

Gen. Colin Powell Endorses Barack Obama

Well, Colin Powell's son Michael (who works for McCain) was wrong. His father did go public with an endorsement and did not keep his vote private. According to CNN and other news sources, this morning Gen. Powell, former Secretary of State for George W. Bush, endorsed Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama for President of the United States.

I view Powell's endorsement as better late than never and hope it will wake up some people who've bought into the Obama is anti-American smears. Here's a quote from Powell and the CNN story:
"I think he is a transformational figure, he is a new generation coming onto the world stage, onto the American stage, and for that reason I'll be voting for Sen. Barack Obama," Powell said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Powell said he was concerned about what he characterized as a recent negative turn of Republican candidate Sen. John McCain's campaign, such as the campaign's attempts to tie Obama to former 1960s radical Bill Ayers.
In June I posted Colin Powell on Obama and Voting While Black here. And last week I posted on the rumors that Powell would endorse Obama after the last presidential debate, in particular that pro-conservative FOX News has already started to inoculate its viewership against giving weight to the Powell endorsement. The network spotlighted Powell dancing with rap stars in Britain.

Powell is not alone in rejecting McCain after hearing the negativity of the last few weeks, charges that Obama is anti-American and most recently a Republican surrogate calling for a congressional witch hunt, Palin's Obama is "paling around with terrorists" nonsense that's resulted in her rallies turning into hate fests, and Republican dirty tricks smearing Obama with voter fraud allegations, which has fomented into an actual FBI investigation. An AP/Yahoo! News poll indicates McCain's losing ground across the board, in part to the economic crisis but also in part to his campaign's fear/smear tactics. Some long-time conservatives have come forward recently to support Obama and others have expressed disappointment with this year's Republican nominee.

Powell joins more military commanders who do not support John McCain. While Powell cites campaign negativity, other military leaders have rejected McCain as potential Commander In Chief, calling McCain unstable.

McCain, however, does have support, and he said so on Fox News today, per CNN:
Speaking on Fox News Sunday, McCain said he respects and admires Powell, and the announcement "doesn't come as a surprise."

"I'm also very pleased to have the endorsement of four former secretaries of state -- Secretaries [Henry] Kissinger, [James] Baker, [Lawrence] Eagleburger, and [Alexander] Haig -- and I'm proud to have the endorsement of well over 200 retired Army generals and admirals," McCain said.
So, some people love still love McCain, but I think those endorsements came prior to his latest campaign stunts.

Powell considers Obama "steady" and said "met the standard of being a successful president, being an exceptional president." (CNN story)

Update: Lisa Stone just posted on BlogHer and has video from Meet The Press on which Powell appeared and announced his endorsement. She gives a round-up of other commentary as well.

While some progressives may never forgive Powell for his role in the Iraq war, I think people change their minds all the time, and the former Secretary of State changed his after a little introspection and watchfulness. Powell did choose, after all, to leave Bush's administration and was replaced by Condoleeza Rice. He articulated well on Meet The Press why he's endorsing Barack Obama; however, a transcript from his Meet The Press appearance shows he still believes the war in Iraq was right.

However, Powell seems to have only recently awakened to the racism and anti-multiculturalism of the Republican Party. Perhaps the devout bigots were silent around him, and so he's only aware of them now, but really, it's nothing new.

1 comment:

WEF said...

This endorsement speaks volumes and I believe it will be a needle mover for two relevant voter segments this election: (1) moderate Republicans who are becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the extreme rightward direction of the McCain-Palin campaign and (2) people who are holding back on Obama-Biden primarily because of foreign policy and national security concerns.

Aside from the blemish on his record in relation to the Iraq war, General Powell still garners tremendous respect from the vast majority of Republicans, and every Republican President in the last three decades has sought his advice on National Security and Foreign Policy issues. I hope that General Powell's endorsement will sway the votes of some members of the two above-mentioned segments away from John McCain and Sarah Palin and towards Senators Obama and Biden.

This election is still too close for my comfort, and the excellent news about General Powell aside, it will be important for those of who support Senator Obama to get to the polls on election day (or sooner if you can!) and vote not only to ensure his victory, but also to demonstrate the greater sense of unity and solidarity our country desperately needs right now.

Comments welcome: