The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

20 October 2008

Colin Powell's Obama Endorsement May Raise Uncomfortable Questions


Why Powell's Obama Endorsement Could Actually Backfire

*** ALSO: Philly Talker Turns Traitor, Curious Obama St Louis Rally Coverage ***

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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  • How many combat ribbions
    doe's Mark Levin have?
    Now all of the smears aganist
    a 4star general with battle
    experience has begun.
    All the chicken hawks Rush,
    Hannity, Levin etc will decry
    General Powell as a liberl,
    Lets face it... if Obama
    is good enough for the
    general.... Obama is good
    enough for me a former
    infantry LT.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 20 October, 2008 07:40  

  • Race trumps all when it comes to the black electorate, and their 90%+ projected monolithic vote proves they are America's most racist of all.

    And Powell should hang his head in shame for buying into the Palin white-trash meme and publicly admitting to his own common stupidity.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 20 October, 2008 07:47  

  • Just like Obamabots tried to twist Obama's flip flop on FISA? Just like they try to justify anything Obama does?

    powell endorses obama, and supporters pee their pants with glee

    By Blogger sarainitaly, at 20 October, 2008 08:47  

  • Absolutely on the mark! When a black republican endorses a black ultra liberal candidate, over a center leaning republican, what else could it be but race? Its so shallow and obvious that it insults my intelligence. Powell should have kept quiet.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 20 October, 2008 09:10  

  • I've been hearing that McCain isn't pushing the Wright issue based on an agreement with Powell not to in exchange for Powell not endorsing Obama (in other words, not endorsing anyone). Does this make Wright fair game now?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 20 October, 2008 10:29  

  • Colin Powell is just another glowing example, in a long line of attempts, by EEOC directive to place minorities in positions that they are ill-equiped to handle.... he didn't do much as a General under Reagen, and was a total failure as Sec. of State under Bush W... both these Presidents sellection Powell to appease the Left... is the light going on yet....???

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 20 October, 2008 11:01  

  • If conservative media had any stones, they would turn this into:

    If you follow Martin Luther King's dream, you must be a racist if you vote for Obama, because it certainly isn't because of the content of Obama's character.

    Ayers? Wright? Frank Marshall Davis? Dohrn? Klonsky? Phleger?

    Let's roll America!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 20 October, 2008 11:23  

  • Not to mention the fact that Colin Powell is a war criminal who knowingly sold a pack of lies to the U.N. of WMDs in Iraq to allow the U.S. invasion of that country.

    Powell has the blood of millions that were slaughtered on his hands; now, so does Obama in accepting this war criminal's endorsement,

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 20 October, 2008 11:33  

  • McClellan siding with the dems so he can move up the food chain?


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 20 October, 2008 11:48  

  • I agree 100%. My friend, who voted for Kerry in 2004 and is a independent leaning Democrat asked me this yesterday: If Obama was a WHITE candidate, would Powell had endorsed him? All I could say was: "No, probably not"...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 20 October, 2008 12:15  

  • In 2004 Daily Kos said that
    "Uncle Tom Powell" was stumping
    for "Massuh Bush"

    By Blogger raccoonradio, at 20 October, 2008 12:19  

  • I think this will only backfire in the minds of those who are obsessed with being resentful against most blacks. People like Limbaugh or other nazi gasbag types.

    I think this is a plus for Obama; the vast majority of Americans do not see the endorsement through a narrow-minded racial lens as Limbaugh and his intolerant brethren do.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 20 October, 2008 15:01  

  • Powell's character has a lot to be desireed. I think Joe the Plumber is 100 times the effect as the racist Powell.

    In the end, Powell was all about race.

    What would it be called if 95% of the whites voted for the white candidate?

    By Blogger 10ksnooker, at 20 October, 2008 16:25  

  • Glad to see Real Clear Politics went from 5.2 pre-Powell endorsement to 5.8 post.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 20 October, 2008 17:52  

  • cons toss another one under the bus, if you don't support McBush and psycho Sarah, instantly you become a traitor...

    a 4 star general with is now a traitor, Levin deserves to have his jaw broken, Hash, you are a typical bigoted baby boomer white trash scum bag.. you were always a wing-nut, the threat of a brown president brought out the true bigoted baby boomer white trash locked deep inside.

    2 more weeks, Reagan era ideologies die.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 21 October, 2008 01:30  

  • I can believe how far some of the commenters here seem to have their heads up the bottom end of their digestive tracts. Colin Powell was not the failure in the Bush administration - Bush was (and Dick and Scooter and Wolfowitz and Rove and the whole crew). The idiots excoriating Powell here do the same thing they accuse others of doing, only in reverse - they completely change their assessment of Powell on the basis of his endorsement. I think Powell was a fool for providing political cover for the idiocies of the administration for months (or years) after it became obvious that his well-informed and thoughtful positions and advice were being completely and utterly disregarded. Perhaps he thought he could limit the stupidity, but he was wrong. That alone calls his judgment into question. But anyone STILL touting the failed policies McCain and Bush and company are selling is obviously still more judgment challenged. They're bordering on outright Palinesque stupidity... and THAT is really saying something.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 21 October, 2008 02:24  

  • Powell actually gave an exhaustive explanation for his endorsement on MTP. He acknowledged that race was a factor, but not close to the primary factor. He, like much of America, has watched McCain fumble during the economic crisis while Obama remained steady.

    Considering that around 10% of the U.S. electorate either changed or made up their minds in Obama's favor during that period, why is it so hard for some to accept that Powell may have done so as well?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 21 October, 2008 07:22  

  • It does not matter how many combat ribbons Mark Levin has, phillip. Gen Powell is a bad politician, and was not effective as a Secretary of State. If Bush's policies failed, then Powell was a part of it. It only changes because he supports Chairman Obama, that is all. It is amazing to me that just 6 short years ago, Gen Powell was an uncle tom. Now he endorses obama, and we are counting his ribbons. Hogwash. Powell was NEVER a conservative, is not one, and will never be a conservative. His critique by Rush and Mark are FAIR GAME, regardless of how many medals, ribbons, stars, etc he has.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 21 October, 2008 08:26  

  • Just a thought for you Hope/Change people...Does it bother you that Colin Powell helped shape the failed Bush policies?

    By Blogger Biased Girl, at 21 October, 2008 14:01  

  • MOP,

    Hash really turned into a Judas, double-crossing turncoat traitor.

    To be honest I never like the guy even when I was posting regularly on this board.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 21 October, 2008 17:04  

  • I agree with hashfanatic about Race trumps all when it comes to the black electorate, and their 90%+ projected monolithic vote proves they are America's most racist of all.

    And Powell should hang his head in shame for buying into the Palin white-trash meme and publicly admitting to his own common stupidity.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 21 October, 2008 22:17  

  • @mickey white

    You have no idea how much that troubles me.

    I have never trusted Colin Powell to be above partisanship.

    And, even though I flat out totally agree with virtually all of the reasons he stated for endorsement obama and not supporting mccain, I can only hope that, should obama win the election, that powell plays no part in his administration.

    during his press statement after the endorsement, powell was stating again that the original action against iraq was something that he supported - that is yet another reason i don't trust him.

    This endorsement will do more good than damage to obama, and it is doing a great job of allowing limbaugh, savage, maloney and others (hasn't chris matthews said the occasionally racist-tinged thing here and there before? I'm not saying the "conservative" talk show hosts are the only racists by any means - they're just the ones at the racist forefront of this particular issue) to show just how ugly their racism is.

    Hopefully that has a negative impact for them - though i doubt it.

    however, i do hope that powell's involvement with presidential politics or any forthcoming administration stops on Nov 3.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 22 October, 2008 00:46  

  • MOP

    Your not man enough to break someone’s jaw. That is why you are intimidated by Sarah Palin. She has more balls then you ever will.

    Now to the point did Powel endorse BO because he’s black? Yes with out a doubt. If not tell me the last time he endorsed one of the most liberal member of congress. Will it make a difference? NO

    Do I think BO will be elected? Yes. I also see a Republican congress in two years and Republican president in four.

    My world will not change with BO as President. My company will lose profits because of the tax hike and slow down in economy. But I will recoup the cost by canceling health insurance and firing a few good employees. It will be a wash either way. But hey at least 95% percent of Americans want be effected by the tax hike.

    By Blogger pf1, at 22 October, 2008 01:37  

  • Amazing how much petty racism and hysteria there is in these comments section.

    As far as the article goes--you are making too much of this. It's just an endorsement. Most on the left aren't using this as an excuse to celebrate, so why should those of you on the right over-react to such an extent?

    There's no question that this helps Obama, but it's not a game-changer. Grow up.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 26 October, 2008 21:32  

  • To me what Powell did does not lead to uncomfortable questions. It is what I expected I consider the racism this year to be against women not blacks. I am so sick of hearing that blacks are discriminated against when you watch them on CNN and the like they are more discriminating in my opinion. Powell after lying at the U.N. about weapons of mass destruction and knowing he was made me dislike him then. He is nothing in the scheme of things and his endorsement of Obama means nothing. Powell is full of himself and to think he has any power over voters is amazing. The black voters will vote Obama no matter what or who he is simply because of the color of his skin how shallow and stupid are they?? It appears they are brainless and can't get beyond there skin color so why do they assume the rest of the world should when they can't even do it themselves. Just ask Reverend Wright that question.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 03 November, 2008 09:05  

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