October 19, 2008

Powell Endorses Obama

In a move that will probably not mean much to the Democratic base, but that I find significant, Colin Powell endorses Obama, and with some detailed comments. Here's what I posted to EAForums about it:

On Meet The Press, Colin Powell gives respect to John McCain, but very low marks for [his] campaign, the judgment in choosing Sarah Palin, and the rightward shift of the Republican party. He praises Obama for his steadiness over the campaign and especially in the last few weeks, and his ability to cross lines, be an inclusive leader, and apply intellectual vigor.

He dismisses the idea that this is because he is an African American, explaining that he could have made that endorsement long ago, but needed to get to know Senator Obama better, which he did in personal meetings and by judging his actions.

He doesn't plan on campaigning for him so close to the election.

Tom Brokaw brought up that he doesn't agree with Obama on the idea of a deadline in Iraq (noting a quote of Powell's). Powell noted that a timeline is already being developed, and that the next president, whomever that is, will be working with the military to set timelines and criteria.

Powell calls what Ayers did in the past "despicable," but to keep bringing it up (in the context of this election) is also despicable.

Will this endorsement help Obama? I think the people who would dismiss this as a race-based endorsement are not votes that are "in play." This is an endorsement that adults should pay attention to.

And, personally, I'd rather have Colin Powell's endorsement than an imaginary plumber.

More than its effect on the election, the Republicans should pay attention to Powell's comments on the Republican party's narrowing.

As I said to my father-in-law yesterday, When they go to Ayers, ACORN, terrorist!, socialism, and the other distractions they've made the center of their campaign, they're hardening their core. They're thrilling the base, but lighting their hair on fire. If the Republicans want to be an opposition party, do they want to be a fringe opposition party? Are they aiming to win an election, or to radicalize their core against the possibility of a popular president?

We need to see an inclusive leader to help the nation move forward. I agree with Colin Powell that this leader is most likely to be Barak Obama.

Posted by James at October 19, 2008 10:16 AM
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According to 538, "Mostly, endorsements serve to win news cycles rather than win over voters, although Powell is probably the biggest 'get' there is in this election (unless perhaps Ross Perot decided to endorse)."

Posted by: Karen at October 19, 2008 11:52 AM

I missed the first few minutes of MTP, but I caught the rest of it. Powell was well-prepared for Brokaw's attempt to discredit his choice.

I liked that he didn't throw McCain under the bus (I don't think it's in Powell's nature to do such a thing anyway). That would only have aroused sympathy for McCain. No need to throw a guy under the bus if he tends to wander out into the street on his own anyway.

Posted by: Julie at October 19, 2008 1:54 PM

Well said, Julie!

Posted by: Karen at October 19, 2008 3:13 PM

Now 538 says this: "With that said, Powell has approval ratings as high as just about any public figure in America. His endorsement was eloquent, unequivocal, and because of his role in the Bush Administration, genuinely newsworthy. Powell's endorsement might play especially well among the defense and military communities in Northern Virginia, which just so happens to be perhaps the most important swing region in the election."

Posted by: Karen at October 19, 2008 3:20 PM

This was fantastic. You also have to like that Christopher Buckley sacrificed his job at the National Review to come out and support Obama. See: http://www.salon.com/politics/war_room/2008/10/10/buckley_bails/index.html?source=rss

Posted by: Kitten Herder at October 19, 2008 9:11 PM

I'm excited by Powell's endorsement of Obama, but then I'm already an Obama supporter. The pubs seem to be dismissing it as race-based (figures), but the question is, how does it resonate with moderates and undecideds? Any polls out on this?

Posted by: Chuck S. at October 20, 2008 7:34 AM

I haven't seen any polls, but many people are noting that endorsements don't necessarily have a long term effect.

However, a lot of voters in Florida are military and ex-military, and Powell's long record of service to this country is undeniable.

Posted by: James at October 20, 2008 9:24 AM

I'm excited by it, too, Chuck, and I was particularly pleased that he addressed the racism and religious intolerance in his remarks. I had ranted on my blog (I know nobody reads it except apparently Bull :-) and I don't blame you since I hardly ever post) about McCain's "defense" of Obama as not Arab / "good family man." That infuriated me, because as Powell points out, the correct answer is, "What if he is?" (I realize Powell was addressing Christian/Muslim, but that's an even more important point.)

A little girl in my daughter's class is some flavor of Christian. She is also half African-American. She told her mother that she can't vote for Obama because he's a Muslim and he'll come kill her.

Now I don't know where in school she heard that idea, but it's horrifying that we have this kind of prejudice, that we believe that every Muslim is a religious extremist. I think that view comes primarily from the religious extremist Christians.


Go, Colin Powell!

Posted by: Maggie at October 20, 2008 12:46 PM

Oops, sorry Chuck! I see you visited my blog. Okay, who doesn't visit my blog very often? Apparently me.

And I meant that I felt Powell's point of Christian/Muslim was more important than the issue of country of origin. Obviously Obama is an American citizen and not an "Arab." I think the woman probably meant something different.

Posted by: Maggie at October 20, 2008 1:03 PM

If Obama gets elected, I really, really, REALLY want him to ask Powell to be SECDEF.

Posted by: Bull at October 20, 2008 2:00 PM

Obama announced today that, if he is elected, Powell will play some role, be it formal or informal, in advising him. Since Powell said he wasn't anxious to rejoin an administration, Obama wants to see what would "be a good fit" for him.

Powell said that he'd have to seriously consider any offer from a sitting president. With Powell as SECDEF, I can't imagine any credible complaints or questions about an Obama's readiness to hit the ground running.

Looks like Obama is already looking outside his party for his advisors. Imagine that. Imagine that: looking for the best people rather than the most politically loyal.

While you could argue that Powell is endorsing Obama, so that negates his party affiliation, I think that is a naive take. Obama would probably have asked Powell to advise him in any case, but it would have been presumptuous to announce it on the campaign trail when Powell was explicit that he was keeping his choice to himself. It would have been unseemly to try to attach himself to Powell before an endorsement.

Posted by: James at October 20, 2008 2:44 PM

I want him to ask Samuel L. Jackson to be SECDEF. ;-)

Posted by: briwei at October 20, 2008 2:51 PM

I do read your blog, Maggie, but I didn't have anything to add to that one!

What really distressed me about that particular gaffe is the way I first heard about it. I read that a woman had described Obama as an "Arab terrorist" and then McCain had corrected her. Which means that the person who reported this (just some random doofus on Twitter) heard "Arab" and mentally registered it as "Arab terrorist." Swell.

I felt a little better when I saw the footage. Yes, McCain really stepped in it, yet again; but even his clumsy effort to be magnanimous seemed to bewilder the crowd. That was satisfying in its own way!

But the Powell endorsement. Apparently, Pat Buchanan was quick to write it off as a racial thing. Chris Matthews pointed out that Obama's been a black guy for a long time and Powell could have endorsed him ages ago.

I'm sure the logic was wasted on Buchanan (and on that woman at McCain's rally too), but I hope it sinks into a few heads once in a while...

Posted by: Julie at October 20, 2008 2:58 PM

By the way, I do know better than to consider Twitter a credible news source; but that is often where I read about things first. The "Hot Political Topics" bar at the top is pretty quick.

Posted by: Julie at October 20, 2008 3:48 PM

Mr.Powell deserves much respect for his years of service ,however he is not perfect but only thinks he is perfect.

Posted by: MRaye at October 21, 2008 12:00 PM

He thinks he is perfect?

Former US secretary of state Colin Powell says his United Nations speech making the case for the US-led war on Iraq was "a blot" on his record.

Mr Powell has also said that he had "never seen evidence to suggest" a connection between the September 11, 2001 terror attacks in the United States and the Saddam regime.

That doesn't sound to me like someone who thinks he is perfect. That's precisely why I think his opinion is valuable.

Posted by: James at October 21, 2008 12:24 PM

Wow MRaye... you can read minds? Why didn't you warn us before the war started and tell us all the real reason?

Here's a thought: maybe you don't actually know what Powell "thinks". Maybe you only think you do.

I can't say for sure, because I can't read minds.

Posted by: Chuck S at October 21, 2008 12:47 PM

Thanks for the warning that General Powell isn't perfect.

It logically follows, then, that everything he says is wrong.

Now, just tell me who is perfect so that I know who to listen to?

Posted by: Julie at October 21, 2008 1:06 PM

Speaking of minds, and whether one can read them (or if one even has one):

"And you take the U.N.C.F. model that what a waste it is to lose one's mind or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is."

Onetime VP Dan Quayle, during his address to the United Negro College Fund

Posted by: Patti M. at October 21, 2008 1:16 PM

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