Colin Powell's Obama Endorsement May Raise Uncomfortable Questions
Why Powell's Obama Endorsement Could Actually Backfire
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Remember the good old days, when the left saw Colin Powell as a bloodthirsty warmongerer? Now, with his move to endorse Barack Obama for the presidency, he's somehow a hero to our "progressive" friends.
If the Dear Leader's supporters were hoping for a grand slam from Powell's move, however, they may soon be saddened to discover this is a mere foul ball. Worse, it could prove a complete strikeout.
That's because it brings to the surface issues of ethnic division in our society that Obama's handlers have long sought to keep out of the debate. Do they really want to open this can of worms?
Though he denies it now, as recently as a month ago, Powell was open and honest about Obama's race as a key asset in this contest. From MSNBC in September:
From NBC's Libby Leist
Colin Powell, the first African-American Secretary of State, said this afternoon that electing an African-American US president would be “electrifying” for the world, but he said he still remains undecided between McCain and Obama.
Appearing today at George Washington University with four other former US Secretaries of State -- Madeleine Albright, James Baker, Warren Christopher, and Henry Kissinger -- Powell and the panel were asked by a student whether they thought America electing Obama president would send a more powerful image overseas than John McCain.
Baker and Albright spoke first and said they both thought it would be significant, but Baker noted he was still voting Republican. “I think electing the first African-American president would send a powerful message not just abroad but in this country as well. Having said that I have, of course, endorsed Sen. McCain,” Baker said to much laughter.
Albright followed up and got a huge round of applause from the college audience for her presidential choice. “I think it would send a huge message in terms of what America stands for and in terms of diversity and potential. And I, of course, am supporting Sen. Obama,” she said.
Then came Powell. “[T]o send that kind of a message, I think would be electrifying,” he said, “but at the same time, we have to make a judgment here ... which of the candidates blends a right measure of experience and judgment? I have been watching both of these individuals, and I know them both extremely well and I have not decided who I’m going to vote for yet.”
Because many Americans suspect Powell endorsed Obama primarily because of a shared ethnic identity, the move raises fears that his candidacy really is about division, rather than unity.
That raises tough questions about the issue of race in this election that until now might have been avoided in public settings.
Enter talk radio, where the gloves are truly coming off in the final days of this lengthy campaign season. Knowing full well the left would attack him, Rush Limbaugh didn't even wait for the start of Monday's broadcast to get the ball rolling:
"Secretary Powell says his endorsement is not about race," Limbaugh wrote in an e-mail. "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."
As for Powell's statement of concern this morning about the sort of Supreme Court justices a President McCain might appoint, Limbaugh wrote: "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."
And, in response to a request from your Radio Equalizer, syndicated host Mark Levin offered this reaction:
"It's my understanding Colin Powell gave his word to John McCain that he would not make an endorsement in this election. Powell stabbed McCain in the back. This is the same Powell who kept silent for two years while Scooter Libby was falsely accused of leaking to Bob Novak when Powell knew his own deputy, Richard Armitage, had spoken to Novak.
"I have never been a fan of Powell. He was plucked from obscurity by Ronald Reagan, did little noteworthy in all the top jobs he has held, had become a favorite in the Washington social scene, and now he endorses Barack Obama. In the end, though, it won't make a difference. Powell thinks he's more important and influential than he actually is."
Levin's final point may be the most compelling: when was the last time Powell had any relevance in national politics? One would have to go back many years. This is exciting news for Beltway elitists, but not the average American.
Beyond that, Powell's move has made fair game an issue that many were previously reluctant to discuss. That's why Limbaugh didn't hesitate to get straight to that point in his reaction to the news.
Sure enough, Colin Powell's endorsement was a game-changer, but perhaps not in the way Obama's campaign had hoped. Worse, the ensuing backlash could actually undermine his chances if it causes some white voters to reconsider their support.
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Technorati tags: talk radio rush limbaugh powell obama powell endorsement backlash colin powell mark levin obama race issues