Colin Powell on Meet the Press

And condemns Republican party

| Yesterday on Meet the Press, Colin Powell demonstrated what the Powell Doctrine is all about: overwhelming force — in this case, force of argument. Uninterrupted for several minutes, Powell laid out both his conclusions and how he arrived at them. It was a tour de force befitting a famous general. However, along with his reasons for Barack Obama, Powell laid out an equally impressive and devastating argument against the Republican party.

For Obama

... because of his ability to inspire, because of the inclusive nature of his campaign, because he is reaching out all across America, because of who he is and his rhetorical abilities--and we have to take that into account--as well as his substance--he has both style and substance--he has met the standard of being a successful president, being an exceptional president. I think he is a transformational figure. He is a new generation coming into the world--onto the world stage, onto the American stage, and for that reason I'll be voting for Senator Barack Obama.

Against McCain and the Republican party

Although Powell insisted that McCain "would be a good president," Powell cited some specific and harsh criticisms of John McCain and his campaign.

Powell went far beyond McCain in his criticism, condemning the Republican party for its shift to the extreme right and its narrowing and polarizing view of what it means to be American.

It's easy to imagine Powell cringing every time Sarah Palin talks about real Americans and pro-America areas of the country:

We believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hard working very patriotic, um, very, um, pro-America areas of this great nation.

Sarah Palin, at rally in Greensboro, N.C., WashingtonPost.com, Oct 17, 2008

Whither the GOP?

So what will the Republican party do now, both in the short term and in the long term?

Nick Anderson
Nick Anderson
Tony Auth
Tony Auth
Stuart Carlson
Stuart Carlson

In the short term, it would not be surprising to see them turn on Colin Powell, attacking him as a traitor who has betrayed the cause. Desperate people act desperately, and the McCain campaign and the Republicans are obviously very desperate; they face a humiliating defeat in the upcoming election.

The Republican party has dominated the political agenda for more than three decades: control of the White House, control of Congress, and, absent control, ability to obstruct. The party learned that it could re-package itself as the party of the common man while acting for the benefit of business and the well-to-do. It discovered the power of exploiting wedge issues and waging a culture war. The libertarian and fiscal conservative blocs of the party were pushed to the margins as the social conservatives and fundamentalists became the party's base. Now, in the waning days of the Bush administration, all the chickens have come home to roost: the government is mired in debt; the economy is sliding into a deep recession; trillions of dollars of wealth have disappeared in the crash of the stock market; two wars continue to stretch the military to the breaking point; the country's international reputation is in tatters as a result of the administration's lawlessness and adoption of abhorent policies such as torture, euphemistically called "enhanced interrogation techniques"; millions of Americans are losing their homes and suffer under a crushing burden of debt.

In the longer term, it seems like they have two choices: double-down on more of the same or — more sensibly — reflect on where they went astray and plot a new course. Seems a no-brainer to me, but then it wouldn't be the first time a group chose its own self destruction.

Powell summed it up in his final comments on the presidential race:

I strongly believe that at this point in America's history, we need a president that will not just continue, even with a new face and with some changes and with some maverick aspects, who will not just continue, basically, the policies that we have been following in recent years. I think we need a transformational figure. I need--think we need a president who is a generational change. And that's why I'm supporting Barack Obama.

Last updated on Sep 9, 2016

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