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Tilting at Windmills

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June 26, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

MORE COLIN POWELL RUMORS....The last time I read about the possibility of Colin Powell supporting Barack Obama, I clicked the link and was disappointed. He's said some diplomatically encouraging things about Obama in the past, but in the latest go-around all he said — again — is that he'll vote for the best man when November rolls around. Eh.

Today, though GOP gossipmonger Robert Novak resurrects the rumors:

The prototypal Obamacon may be Larry Hunter, recognized inside the Beltway as an ardent supply-sider....Explaining his support for the uncompromisingly liberal Obama, Hunter blogged on June 6: "The Republican Party is a dead rotting carcass with a few decrepit old leaders stumbling around like zombies in a horror version of 'Weekend With Bernie,' handcuffed to a corpse."

While he never would use such language, Colin Powell is said by friends to share Hunter's analysis of the GOP. His tenuous 13-year relationship with the Republican Party, following his retirement from the Army, has ended. The national security adviser for Ronald Reagan left the present administration bitter about being ushered out of the State Department a year earlier than he wanted. As an African American, friends say, Powell is sensitive to racial attacks on Obama and especially on Obama's wife, Michelle. While McCain strategists shrug off defections from Bruce Bartlett and Larry Hunter, they wince in anticipating headlines generated by Powell's expected endorsement of Obama.

So here's an interesting question: how would the liberal blogopshere react if Powell endorsed Obama? Powell remains broadly popular, and there's no question that a Powell endorsement would be a huge boost for Obama. On the other hand, lefty bloggers as a group mostly loathe Powell and would groan at the possibility of him having any influence in an Obama administration. That's sure not change we can believe in.

So: yowls of protest, or a collective shrug because the world isn't a perfect place and you gotta do what you gotta do if you want to win a presidential election? My guess: it all depends on just how bitterly Powell denounces the Republican Party in his hypothetical endorsement speech. If he sounds a bit like Larry Hunter, liberals will break out the balloons. If he plays the diplomat, expect some grousing.

Kevin Drum 1:40 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (107)

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Comments

Powell aided and abetted evil, but he doesn't seem actively evil himself, the way Bush, Cheney, and some others do. I'd say let him bring to the party anybody he can persuade to vote for Obama. Welcome him with mildly open arms.

Posted by: anandine on June 26, 2008 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

Who cares? In fact, the endorsement of Powell could actually hurt Obama, unless he's called before Congress and states unequivocally that everything the Bush administration said prior to the Iraq invasion was a rancid pack of lies.

He's dead meat in American politics because of his "service" to the Bush administration - conservatives/neo-cons hate him because he was never really rah-rah for the war, and liberals hate him because he was a pathetic shill for Shrub Co. and had in his power the ability to derail the nightmare. He could have been a savior. Instead, he's a chump with blood on his hands.

Posted by: Jeff II on June 26, 2008 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

"how would the liberal blogopshere react if Powell endorsed Obama? "

I'd say, "Welcome to the club! Tell all your friends, settle in, have a drink, but you don't sit in Barack's chair! Remember, belonging to the club is the only privilege you get. You don't get to make any rules, influence any policies, or speak for the candidate as more than a fellow citizen and supporter."

That's what I'd say.

Ed

Posted by: Ed Drone on June 26, 2008 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

I think he is a pretty loathsome sell-out for supporting and giving legitimacy to such corrupt, incompetent, and near-evil people. But I hope he endorses Obama.

Posted by: John McCain: More of the Same on June 26, 2008 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

I'd say:

a) Good for him!
b) Good for Obama! (Long as he doesn't actually take Powell's advice.)
c) He's still a man who did more damage than any but a handful. And them, he covered for.

Posted by: gussie on June 26, 2008 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

So here's an interesting question: how would the liberal blogopshere react if Powell endorsed Obama?

Not exactly sure why you see this as a particularly interesting question. Obama has precious little control over who decides to support him publicly, and even if the Obama team were actively pursuing his endorsement (unlikely, at best), it's not as if said endorsement translates into anything approaching policy advice.

Let's face it, the liberal blogosphere & its devotees have plenty to be concerned about re: Obama's recent decision/statements without bothering themselves about the latest Republicans to finally see the light.

Posted by: junebug on June 26, 2008 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

Becoming President requires 51% of the country to choose you. To expect that only people I like can endorse Obama means that Obama will never be President because i dont like 51% of the country.

I want Obama to be President. Period. I believe in Obama and I trust his judgment and his intentions. If George Bush wants to endorse him too then that is fine with me.

Posted by: glutz78 on June 26, 2008 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

Lefties despise Powell for having the right beliefs but then refusing to act on them.

So I'd say that endorsing Obama would be a welcome step towards getting his actions and his beliefs in sync, and we on the left should praise Powell accordingly.

Of course, the Repubs will sigh and shake their heads at Powell's turning out to be really just another Negro at heart ....

Posted by: Anderson on June 26, 2008 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

You'd have to be a damn fool to repudiate his endorsement. I lost a lot of respect for Powell during his tenure in the Bush administration, as did a lot of people, but those are people likely to vote for Obama anyway. It can only help with those moderates who still have some respect for him.

Posted by: thersites on June 26, 2008 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

Here's the issue for me:

Yesterday Kevin Drum expresses certainty the libreal blogosphere will be unhappy with any VP choice Obama is likely to make.

Readers promptly rattle off a dozen examples of people who aren't HRC, Jim Webb, Sam Nunn or Evan Bayh.

Today Kevin Drum thinks he's asking a provocative question about Colin Powell.

What's the issue here?

You take votes for your candidate from people whom you disagree with. If you take votes from these people, why not take endorsements? What's the big deal?

Is Colin Powell still a pathetic yes-man who got outmanuevered in the Bush administration? He thought he was playing one game and everybody else was playing another game.

Powell failed as a bureaucrat. Powell failed morally.

But what's the downside of taking his endorsement? It's probably the closest Powell will come to taking responsibility for his actions.

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on June 26, 2008 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

I don't loathe Powell so much as really pity him. By all accounts his biggest failing was believing he could have more influence over Bush than Cheney and Rumsfeld. He was wrong. Sadly, tragically, very wrong.

Posted by: Trevor J on June 26, 2008 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

If Powell endorses Obama I'll be happy and cross my fingers that he doesn't wield any influence in an Obama administration.

Now if Henry Kissinger endorses Obama ...

Posted by: AndrewBW on June 26, 2008 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

No one cares who this man endorses.

Posted by: Brojo on June 26, 2008 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

The left blogosphere loathes George Bush. However, McCain would be toast were Bush to enthusiastically endorse Obama. What would be an appropriate reaction? Joy I suppose, once you picked your dentures up off the floor. If it gets Obama elected so much the better. Same goes for Powell. We're a big tent, let him in if he wants.

Posted by: steve duncan on June 26, 2008 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

who cares.

let's just get him elected.

Posted by: cleek on June 26, 2008 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

Powell is the ultimate sycophant, the consummate team player, and he knows that the Republicans days are numbered. Just another rat leaving the ship.

Posted by: BL on June 26, 2008 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

Why do you think that we'd have a problem with this, Kevin? Sounds like you're subconsciously buying into the right-wing view of our side of the blogosphere, a view that just isn't accurate.

Like most of the others commenting, I'm no fan of Powell but I'd be perfectly happy to see him endorse Obama (as long as there's no significant quid pro quo).

Posted by: J on June 26, 2008 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

There will be gasps of outrage from those same people who are shocked, SHOCKED! to discover that Obama sometimes acts like a politician.

Posted by: thersites on June 26, 2008 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

I'm with Trevor P on this one. I think most people in the lefty blogosphere see Powell as a bit of a dupe of neo-cons. The war's a disaster, and a lie, and he helped sell the snake oil.

I think the lefty blogosphere would view the endoresement as a good thing maybe even a very good thing.

And, at the risk of getting shouted down, I think there's a role for Powell in the Obama administration. Maybe even SecDef. Either he or Clark would have the cred to restore our military.

Posted by: do on June 26, 2008 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

I'm a believer in redemption. Yes, Powell screwed up in aiding and abetting the neocons; an Obama endorsement would help him make amends.

Posted by: norman h on June 26, 2008 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

It can only help with those moderates who still have some respect for him. Posted by: thersites

This is probably true, though calling the middle mass "moderates" misses the point. The majority of American voters have no coherent political philosophy or world view. As such most don't understand what Powell did to the country. They'll remember him as being an acceptable negro and Gulf War I hero of sorts, and not physically threatening or caustic and annoying like 50 Cent(s) and Al Sharpton.

Posted by: Jeff II on June 26, 2008 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

Where did you get the idea that lefties hated Powell? My attitude is that he allowed himself to be duped by Cheney. He is, at worst, a fool duped by the evil Dick and his scummy staff.

Powell can resurrect himself by endorsing Obama.

Posted by: POed Lib on June 26, 2008 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff II,
You say potato and I say po-tah-to.

The important thing is that a Powell endorsement can only help, UNLESS Obama's more messianic-minded supporters make too much racket about it, which could make this same middle mass/moderate group think again.

Posted by: thersites on June 26, 2008 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

Is it really true that Colin Powell "remains broadly popular"? I don't know, although it sounds like one of those Beltway-pundit expositions on what "Americans believe" that's based on no data and really means, "I believe it". Sorry, Kevin, don't mean to accuse you of being a Beltway pundit! But is there some data to back up that assertion about Powell's popularity?

Posted by: Glenn on June 26, 2008 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

Before his pack of lies at the U.N., I would have said "Great."

After his pack of lies at the U.N., I say "who gives a fuck what Powell has to say?"

Posted by: Chief Angry Cloud on June 26, 2008 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

Funny - do above indicates that Powell might make a good SecDef.

I was thinking that myself.

You need a token member of the other party. Powell as SecDef.

Posted by: POed Lib on June 26, 2008 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

Define 'acts like a politician.'

That strikes me as a pretty silly statement.

Posted by: gussie on June 26, 2008 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

And, at the risk of getting shouted down, I think there's a role for Powell in the Obama administration. Maybe even SecDef. Either he or Clark would have the cred to restore our military.Posted by: do

My guess is that the middle-level career officers, the ones in and running Iraq and Afghanistan, probably have lost a great deal of respect for him as well. After all, this is the guy who came of age as a junior officer in Vietnam and vowed as a senior office to never again get the Army into a situation from which it could not easily extricate itself.

Blue Girl, can you chime in?

Posted by: Jeff II on June 26, 2008 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

I'm a lefty, and I hate Powell. He allowed himself to be used.

It's not about Powell redeeming himself. It's about is his endorsement useful. The answer is, yes. Chief Angry Cloud and I don't care what he says, but some people still do.

Posted by: thersites on June 26, 2008 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

Powell remains broadly popular

Do you have a link for that? I know he was popular back when Bush was popular. Of course we can fix the statement by saying

Powell remains broadly popular with the Press and it will be undeniably true.

Posted by: DR on June 26, 2008 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

POed Lib, I can understand having a token member of the other party, but if Obama picks a Republican for SecDef, he's a fool. It will perpetuate the false idea that only Republicans can be tough on defense. The token Republican needs to get some totally useless position.

Posted by: Chief Angry Cloud on June 26, 2008 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

"handcuffed to a corpse." - is that mostly just GWB, or something more abstract as well?

Posted by: Neil B on June 26, 2008 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

"handcuffed to a corpse."

Didn't Spitzer have to pay extra for that?

Posted by: on June 26, 2008 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

a collective shrug because the world isn't a perfect place and you gotta do what you gotta do if you want to win a presidential election

HAHAHAHA! Like that's how any "shoot yourself in the foot" so-called progressive has ever acted in the last 40 years.

Posted by: Christopher on June 26, 2008 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

Is this even surprising? Considering that Obama will get 95% of the black vote.

Posted by: glutz78 on June 26, 2008 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

PollingReport.com doesn't show any poll results for Colin Powell since mid-2004:
http://www.pollingreport.com/P.htm#Powell

From the Harris poll data there, it looks like his approval had been in the 80s up through the start of the Iraq war. By mid-2004 it was down to the 60s.

I'd be curious to know what it is today. My guess is that a lot of people don't remember Powell's role in promoting the war. I

Posted by: J on June 26, 2008 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

Christopher writes: HAHAHAHA! Like that's how any "shoot yourself in the foot" so-called progressive has ever acted in the last 40 years.

And yet, oddly enough, that's how most of the commenters in this thread seem to feel, and most of us probably call ourselves progressives.

Maybe you should reexamine your assumptions?

Posted by: J on June 26, 2008 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Powell did wonders for the State Department, whatever history says about his part in the invasion. Before he got duped by BushCo. he initiated a huge build-up in State Dept. (Diplomatic Readiness Initiative). He's a hero to them.

He dramatically increased personnel, made sure the Dept. was computerized and linked, pushed BushCo. into paying for AIDS work in Africa, and did far more than the typical figurehead appointee. If Bush had used the State Department for its intended purpose, Powell's efforts would have made a difference.

As far as the invasion, he has admitted he acted like what he is, a former military man who spent a long career following orders. No excuse but at least an explanation. What's Condosleaza's excuse?

I'm not a fan of what he did but I, too, am a believer in redemption. He has publicly accepted his mistakes, which is more than Hillary ever did about her vote giving Bush the go-aheaad to invade. I welcome any endorsement he would give.

Posted by: Everyman on June 26, 2008 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

You know, just read the first half of the comments, mostly from people whose names I don't recognize, and they are uniformly great. Nice blog here when that's going on. Now I'll read the rest, fearing that the trolls will show up and the usual troll-beaters will show them to be the shills or idiots they usually are. I'm off to see.

Posted by: David in NY on June 26, 2008 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK


BushCo pimped out a popular general to draw us into an unpopular war, and Powell went along. In doing so he well and truly fucked himself, and the rest of us too.

So now he wants to work for our man? I say why not, he's an earner.

Posted by: John on June 26, 2008 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

I'm a believer in redemption. Yes, Powell screwed up in aiding and abetting the neocons; an Obama endorsement would h elp him make amends. Posted by: norman h

"Screwed up"? Clinton screwed up with Lewinsky. This isn't even in the same area code as "screwing up."

I guess that means you're okay with community service for aiding and abetting mass murder. He's beyond redemption at this point. There is no hating the sin and loving the sinner involved here. He was party to an on-going crime against humanity.

Posted by: Jeff II on June 26, 2008 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

Ok, trolls absent (guess Kevin's question leaves not much room for trollish factlessness) and comments were pretty good all told.

Posted by: David in NY on June 26, 2008 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

to expect that only people i like can endorse obama means that obama will never be president because i dont like 51% of the country.

dude, you're way better than me. i don't like 52% of the country.

Posted by: skippy on June 26, 2008 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

gussi: Define 'acts like a politician.'

Meaning, "changes position on issues depending on circumstances." For example, having secured the nomination, you vote for telecom immunity even though it angers the base that secured you the nomination.

I'm not condemning or praising such behavior. I'm just making fun of those who thought Obama was somehow above all that, and comparing it to some who might feel that Obama shouldn't accept Powell's endorsement.

Posted by: thersites the silly on June 26, 2008 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

The gutless,spineless Powell would not help Obama!Powell would be a better fit for the flip-flopping I love the 100-year war McSame ticket!

Posted by: antiquelt on June 26, 2008 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

Why is Kevin treating "the left blogosphere" like Sister Soulja? Is he running for something?

Posted by: goethean on June 26, 2008 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

Powell did wonders for the State Department, whatever history says about his part in the invasion. Before he got duped by BushCo. he initiated a huge build-up in State Dept. Posted by: Everyman

Isn't that kind of an insult to say someone "got duped" who graduated from West Point, served two tours in Vietnam, and was the head of the military? Are you saying that he was stupid or unschooled in the ways of Washington? Which is it - either he was a superb public servant or not bright enough to hold the job.

Posted by: Jeff II on June 26, 2008 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

cleek >"who cares.

let's just get him elected."

Precisely.

Once that`s done we can all start to deal with the more trivial stuff.

"The sailor does not pray for wind, he learns to sail." - Gustaf Lindborg

Posted by: daCascadian on June 26, 2008 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

Powell = Scotty McClellan. We don't mind if you want to cross the aisle, but don't expect a reward for doing the right thing for the first time in your public life.

IOW, we'll take the endorsement, but Powell does not deserve a job in an Obama Administration.

Posted by: nota bene on June 26, 2008 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

If Obama ran his campaign in such a way that all of us on the left were perfectly delighted and smiling broadly, what percentage of the vote do you think he'd get? Like it or not, politics is the art of compromise. Ideological purity is a virtue of losers.

Posted by: Jim Strain on June 26, 2008 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

Meaning, "changes position on issues depending on circumstances." For example, having secured the nomination, you vote for telecom immunity even though it angers the base that secured you the nomination.

I'm not condemning or praising such behavior. I'm just making fun of those who thought Obama was somehow above all that, and comparing it to some who might feel that Obama shouldn't accept Powell's endorsement.

First, I think you're grossly overestimating the numbers & the influence of the netroots, or, more accurately, the leftier side of the party. And anyway, it's not as if they were going to coalesce around Clinton, for reasons that we've discussed ad nauseaum.

Second, and as one of those at whom you direct your mockery, I'd simply point out that there was nothing naïve about taking Obama at his word on FISA, especially since his spokesman wasn't exactly ambiguous about the issue when he said, "To be clear: Barack will support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies."

I'm still waiting for somebody to explain to me when it all of a sudden became risky to stand up to Mr. 25% & the unitary executive theory.

Posted by: junebug on June 26, 2008 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think anyone would be either surprised or influenced by a Powell endorsement of Obama. When it really counted, Powell was a "good soldier" when he should have been a hero. That's the reputation he is left with, so who cares?

Posted by: alibubba on June 26, 2008 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

Powell = Scotty McClellan. We don't mind if you want to cross the aisle, but don't expect a reward for doing the right thing for the first time in your public life. Posted by: nota bene

No he doesn't. First of all, McClellan, while embroidering crimes of Shrub Co. documented elsewhere, stops just short of coming clean completely. Listen to any of his interviews. Unlike a few of the former administration people who have denounced Shrub, McClellan ultimately falls back on the crutch of "I want to help change the tone of politics in Washington" bullshit. We'll if you really wanted to do that, why didn't quit months before and ask to testify before Congress?

Secondly, Powell has yet to make a formal public apology of his complicity in the Iraq war.

Finally, Powell started out morally neutral vis-a-vis the right. I thought it was suspect that he took the job as SS in the Bush administration (also thinking that as a former career military man that he wasn't suitable for the job to begin with). He then compromised his own military principles and sold out the nation as well by not resigning knowing what he did prior to the invasion.

McClellan's trajectory, such as it is, is the opposite - he started out a shit (he'd been with Shrub since his days as governor) and is trying to assuage his conscience with his "tell all."

Posted by: Jeff II on June 26, 2008 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

glutz78 wrote "Becoming President requires 51% of the country to choose you." Incorrect. Becoming president can require as little as 22% of voters to vote for you, and that's assuming that the same percentage of voters vote in every state. If different percentages of voters vote in each state, one could win with less than 1% of the popular vote. An extreme example would be if only one person showed up to the polls in each of the 11 most populous states, and those eleven voters all voted for one candidate, and a hundred million voters in the other 39 states plus D.C. all unanimously voted for another candidate. The candidate with 11 popular votes and 271 electoral votes would beat the other candidate with 100 million popular votes and 267 electoral votes.

Posted by: Joel Rubinstein on June 26, 2008 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

Colin Powell is no better than Condollezza Rice - they lied when the truth counted. He is even worse; he should have cared for the troops he left to die.

Posted by: Anne Holland on June 26, 2008 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

If Satan were to endorse Obama I'd at least make a favorable reference to hell in blog comments somewhere.

Posted by: rea on June 26, 2008 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

Powell is a pig.

Posted by: Jenna's Bush on June 26, 2008 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

Interesting question.

A) I hate Colin Powell with a passion and think he, along with the rest of the Bush administration, should be on trial for war crimes.

B) I also know that, for some bizarre and obscure reason, he remains popular with the general public.

C) In addition, I have a strong desire that Barack Obama become our next president. I have written at length on my blog about my many and deep dissatisfactions with Obama (and his recent comments on the Supreme Court capital punishment decision does not help matters, to put it mildly).

Still, above all, I do want Obama to be president.

D) Because of C), overall I'd be happy if Powell endorses Obama. Though personally I would do my best to ignore it and avoid writing about it.

Posted by: Kathy G. on June 26, 2008 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

The only "political" thing left for Powell to do is testify before congress, be candid and cogently honest to all questions asked, and then afterwards make occasional appearances in public stating support for "open and honest Government which is what I believe Obama can bring to these United States."
And I say that as a disappointed Powell supporter.

Posted by: sheerahkahn on June 26, 2008 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

Of what value is an endorsement from the one man on this planet who may, just may have had sufficient prestige to have de-spoked the Cheney-Bush war wagon and was too gutless to do so. Colin Powell was and is the biggest disappointment of my lifetime; no other public figure who could have given so much to the nation has ever given so little and is so deserving of contempt. Perfectly positioned as Sec of State, possessing his own intell capability, supported by loyal staff and almost certainly bright enough to have known the right thing to do, Powell Uncle Tom'd it. Preferring to serve at the president's pleasure while dis-serving the people of the United States and the Constitution. His shameful conduct during the run-up to war proved that in his previous service he had never truly been tested as a soldier, a man or as an American. Surely he had not - else he would not have acted so dishonorably when his time came to stand up.

His reputation is beyond salvation and so, I hope, is his soul. Could he not, at long last, come clean, tell what he knows, apologize to the nation and go away forever? Is that too much to ask?

Posted by: Tex Ret Army on June 26, 2008 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

The only "political" thing left for Powell to do...

Generator Powell ought to volunteer to go to Iraq and assist with burying the dead.

Posted by: Brojo on June 26, 2008 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

My impression

Obama supporters would accept an endorsement from the devil himself if they thought it do any good.

How's the old saying go "...if she can sell Uncle Ben's... ...can sell Uncle Sam...", and you'd all buy it hook-line-and-sinker....

Define "CHANGE" a Progressive can believe in? New po.l.i.tic.s? Do any of the catch words below sound like a new start?...

FISA, Gun-Control, NAFTA, July War ('06), Capital-Punishment, Fed Election $, Corn/Agbiz....

yes. colin powell endorsement would be one more tell-tale-sign. But... whatever.
change you can get sucked into.
...suckers

Posted by: toon town on June 26, 2008 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

Tex Ret Army wrote: "Could he not, at long last, come clean, tell what he knows, apologize to the nation and go away forever? Is that too much to ask?"

For Colin Powell to tell the American people forthrightly that he knows for a fact that Cheney and Bush deliberately lied to the American people, the United States Congress and -- through Powell himself -- to the United Nations Security Council and the entire world in order to justify their long-planned war of unprovoked aggression against Iraq would be FAR more valuable to the nation than for him to endorse Obama.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on June 26, 2008 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

Endorsing B.O. doesn't do much for him directly...

But on the other hand, what a slap in the face for McCain!

So indirect benefits galore.

Posted by: lampwick on June 26, 2008 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

I would welcome it as much as I would welcome Khadaffi's or Kim Jong Il's endorsement and give it just as much weight. If he does then welcome to a very large club Mr. Powell...and enjoy your retirement.

Posted by: markg8 on June 26, 2008 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

listen. the reason colin powell might add weight to obama is because obama looks weak on foreign policy. only leftists see obama's message as strong. right now, the general impression on Iraq is split down the middle in the polls. powell entering into the fray would signal an act of desperation by obama's campaign to make obama look more qualified, while attempting to reinforce obama's alleged new direction in foreign policy is indeed realistic and sound.

As far as how the leftwing bloggers and progressives in general would react to Powell -the word is out-- nobody cares. O's team effectively is saying "your day in the limelight" was securing the DEM nomination for Obama -bow out gracefully and fall on your swords. --Your job now is regulated to securing money for Obama. And as his policy goals change and he becomes more and more apparent, he will show himself --- as blackagendareport argued all along--- to be the political twin of Hillary Clinton.


Posted by: mr potatoface on June 26, 2008 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

just more proof - obama is not about change - he is just going to carry on the neocon agenda while distracting people with his rhetoric.

He is more reprehensible than mccain who at least tells you that he is a neocon and anti-democracy.

I hope to see obama's campaign "crash" bigtime, let mccain finish what the chimp started. Let the history books show that it was the republicans that destroyed our democracy.

Posted by: on June 26, 2008 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

The notion that a Powell endorsement could hurt Obama is a ridiculous one. On the whole, Powell is respected by liberal Democrats and the netroots. Powell is an honest and decent American with a distinguished record of service. That he was played by the Bush administration is not enough to incite a Democratic backlash.

Posted by: J.D. on June 26, 2008 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

listen. the reason colin powell might add weight to obama is because obama looks weak on foreign policy. Posted by: mr potatoface

Says who? As a matter of a fact, something like 60% of Americans think Iraq was a mistake and that U.S. foreign policy is going in the wrong direct. McCain plans to continue the failed policies of Shrub Co., so I think you need to wet that finger and place it in the wind one more time.

We all know that Powell was part and parcel of this failure, so it would eventually be broached in a public forum broader than a middle-of-the-road political blog.

Posted by: Jeff II on June 26, 2008 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

Who cares about his endorsement? People are responding as if the endorsement was an appointment to Obama's staff.
In any case way it seems to work with the "liberal blogs" is that whoever is associated with Obama, gets some of his glow. If he's for something like telecom immunity, he must have a good reason, etc. He's still pretty teflon at this point, and obviously still confident of the support of most Democrats and most voters overall.
I don't see how an endorsement by Powell would be seen as a negative by liberals.

Posted by: ClareA on June 26, 2008 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

The only endorsements I'd be afraid of would be from OBL and the like.

Posted by: B on June 26, 2008 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

"For Colin Powell to tell the American people forthrightly that he knows for a fact that Cheney and Bush deliberately lied to the American people, the United States Congress and -- through Powell himself -- to the United Nations Security Council and the entire world in order to justify their long-planned war of unprovoked aggression against Iraq would be FAR more valuable to the nation than for him to endorse Obama."

You know SA, sometimes I disagree with you, but on this...you are right.

Posted by: sheerahkahn on June 26, 2008 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

Forget whether or not Powell endorses Obama and whether or not there are some lefty armchair bloggers whose feelings will be hurt if Powell likes the guy they like. That's high school stuff.

There are people who think Obama needs extra foreign policy and defense ballast on the ticket. (I'm not too worried about that, but old fogies on the Post editorial page are.) Who better than a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs? It's the domestic/foreign policy balance, the young guy and the senior statesman, bipartisan unity ticket blahblah.

Obama/Powell 2008. You heard it here first. If whitey doesn't like it, whitey better start running.

Posted by: Ben on June 26, 2008 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, comments like this only show the cracks in your armor of general reasonableness. By posing questions in this way, you are buying into the Beltway (and Republican) talking point that the left wing bloggers are all emotional hysterics, with no real thought processes behind their anger.

Granted, the Internet is a medium tailor-made for emotional self-indugence, but it is so for everyone: left wing, right wing, sports nuts, movie fans, needlepoint buffs, whatever. Internet forums, in particular, allow anyone to be a self-centered, arrogant a**h***. Open forums on virtually any topic are are risk of providing examples of this on a daily basis.

As a reporter, you know you have to have to see past the spin and boilerplate to understand what is going on in politics. If you want to understand what is going on on the internet, you have to filter through the hysteria and outrage. Real or feigned, what is really believed and happening, what people are going to decide and do, is something beyond the hyper-emotion and the spew of expletives.

Posted by: Berken on June 26, 2008 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

On the whole, Powell is respected by liberal Democrats and the netroots.

No he's not. The comments here are probably running about 5 to 1 against Powell.

Powell is an honest and decent American with a distinguished record of service.

Unfortunately, his shilling for Shrub Co. pretty much negates whatever goodwill he had accumulated during his military career. Though the fact of the matter is that few Americans even knew who he was until he was appointed to head up the military during Bush the Elder's reign. Whatever he is supposed to have accomplished as SS is more than offset by his pimping for the Iraq war.

That he was played by the Bush administration is not enough to incite a Democratic backlash. Posted by: J.D.

Here's that wonderful backhanded defense again - he was an honorable and capable public servant. He just wasn't, according to posters like J.D. and Everyman, quite swift enough to keep from getting hoodwinked by that tricky Shrub and Cheney. For Christ's sake, J.D., he's on record during the first meetings after 9/11 counseling against invading Iraq. Somewhere over the next few months, Powell apparently had his spine removed and/or was replaced by a replicant willing to do the administration's biddings, no questions asked.

Sorry to keep hammering away at this. But these are the facts and it seems a lot of posters either never knew them of, inexplicably, don't think they matter. Powell is just as culpable for the Iraq debacle by action and inaction as anyone who was in that first cabinet. He was the only cabinet member who knew anything about war, yet he let the country get lied into another one under the same kind of circumstances that allowed us to "justify" the Vietnam War, the war that supposedly formed his philosophy about which wars to fight and how to fight them.

Furthermore, after signing on to reluctantly support the war (like a "good soldier" even though he wasn't one anymore), he allowed all the post-war planning the State Department had done to get muscled aside in favor of the half-assed ad hoc "work" done by Cheney's shadow department.

Posted by: Jeff II on June 26, 2008 at 6:25 PM | PERMALINK

Obama all CHANGE all the time:

CHANGE ... what you'll have left after I raise taxes.
CHANGE ... your gas prices upwards, but gradually
CHANGE ... my hat size because every day my head gets bigger
CHANGE ... the national motto to: In Obama We Trust.
CHANGE ... what I do to my story depending upon whom I'm talking to.
CHANGE ... what I do every day to my foreign policy
CHANGE ... what I do to my trade policy depending upon whom I'm talking to
CHANGE ... your lifestyle because the rest of the world doesn't like you
CHANGE ... my friends when they turn out NOT to be "The person I knew"
CHANGE ... what my radical left-wing ideologue handlers have in store for you
CHANGE ... what I do to facts to suit my needs.
CHANGE ... my pastor's screed is OK, yours isn't
CHANGE ... FISA line that we crossed but I have now moved back
CHANGE ... from public to private campaign financing because I can raise more money
CHANGE ... I'll debate John McCain anytime, anywhere; except when and where he asks me.
CHANGE ... the words of others and claim they're mine, because words count.
CHANGE ... the meaning of Bible verses to meet my own liberal world view
CHANGE ... more of you into victims of something and build government programs to take care of you
CHANGE ... you into a ward of the state so that I OWN you and your vote
CHANGE ... your mind and believe in me for I am the Obamessiah come to save you
CHANGE ... into giggling sycophants; liberal mainstream media do under the spell of the Obamessiah
CHANGE ... the chant I use to control the weak-minded Obamanized masses
CHANGE ... into an Obamatron; join the cult, repeat the chant: CHANGE, CHANGE, CHANGE ...
CHANGE ... what I plan to do to America because it's the greatest country on the planet.
CHANGE ... the national anthems of all the nations of the world to Kumbaya using my messianic foreign policy skills
CHANGE ... into mumble-mouthed idiot when I don't have prepared speech to read.
CHANGE ... historical facts to agree with my life story
CHANGE ... I said the DC gun ban was constitutional, but now I agree with Supreme Court ruling it unconstituional.
CHANGE ... what I said because my rhetoric was overheated and amplified
CHANGE ... but not for us, not the left-wing liberal elite, CHANGE is for YOU.
CHANGE ... anything and everything I've said or done in my life if it will help me win
CHANGE ... the definition of change to: What I say, when I say it, to whom I say it.
CHANGE ... I can CHANGE when it suits me
CHANGE ... you can believe in for a day or two
CHANGE ... you can't keep up with
CHANGE ... your underwear because you'll defecate in your pants when you wake up to find out what the left-wing liberal ideologues have done after gaining complete control of government.

CHANGE ... YOU better freaking BELIEVE IN because it will WORK YOU over.
Obama: the AUDACITY to count on you and I being DOPEs


Posted by: occam on June 26, 2008 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

Disgruntled...not a good enough reason to abandon one's party...unless of course one never really was part of the party and only gravitated toward the party to get the position...I have lost some of the respect I once had for Colin Powell. That is sad.

Posted by: wordsntone on June 26, 2008 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

A dozen years into his retirement from the military, could it be that Gen. Colin Powell has finally learned the difference between actually being a good soldier and playing the part of the loyal soldier?

Well, I'm not going to hold my breath. As far as I'm concerned, I'm through with the obsequious Powell, and if ever or whenever he chooses to grace us with his presence on the public stage, it'll always be too soon for me.

Posted by: Out in Pasadena on June 26, 2008 at 7:12 PM | PERMALINK

For what it`s worth (basically nothing) I wouldn`t stop to urinate on Mr. Powell if he was on fire.

Every chance he has had to take the correct action he has failed; the UN presentation was only one among many (see My Lai for starters).

"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

Posted by: daCascadian on June 26, 2008 at 7:14 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff II:

Says who? Presumably, the people conducting polls for both McCain (who's going to run on his foreign policy expertise) and Obama (who just put together a ForPol advisory board composed mainly of old Clinton hands). Both camps seem to think that, as a freshman Senator, Obama needs to solidify his foreign policy credentials.

Being right about the Iraq war is important, but it isn't the be-all and end-all of foreign policy.

Of course, it could be that you know ever so much more about how the American public views the two candidates in regard to foreign policy that either they nor their teams do. Or not.

the reason colin powell might add weight to obama is because obama looks weak on foreign policy. Posted by: mr potatoface

Says who? As a matter of a fact, something like 60% of Americans think Iraq was a mistake and that U.S. foreign policy is going in the wrong direct.
  Posted by: Jeff II on June 26, 2008 at 5:45 PM |

Posted by: keith on June 26, 2008 at 7:20 PM | PERMALINK

As for comments here running 5:1 against Powell, all that does is show that the premise to Kevin's question is valid... and that you need a recount.

Posted by: keith on June 26, 2008 at 7:24 PM | PERMALINK

Let's see. We have this --

"Why do you think that we'd have a problem with this, Kevin? Sounds like you're subconsciously buying into the right-wing view of our side of the blogosphere, a view that just isn't accurate.
Like most of the others commenting, I'm no fan of Powell but I'd be perfectly happy to see him endorse Obama (as long as there's no significant quid pro quo).
Posted by: J on June 26, 2008 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK"

Follwed by this --

"Powell is a pig.
Posted by: Jenna's Bush on June 26, 2008 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK"

Reads to me like Drum's view, and the 'right-wing' view, is pretty acurate, J. Please spend a few minutes at HuffPo. My congatulations to you ,J, and to Jenna's Bush. As progressives nee liberals, I'm impressed that you submitted a post without using the f word.

Misspelled.

Eight times.

Posted by: on June 26, 2008 at 7:29 PM | PERMALINK

Better late than never. A LOT of former republicans need to be forgiven and moved towards progressive goals. There is work to do.

Posted by: Sparko on June 26, 2008 at 7:34 PM | PERMALINK

Powell was just a dupe? Two words: My Lai

Posted by: SadlyNo on June 26, 2008 at 8:50 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, when exactly did your "moderate" blog become populated almost exclusively by partisan crackpots and Barry Obama cultist or haters? Jesus, how tiresome. I guess with postings down here so dramatically you have to take what you can get, but, it certainly looks like a death spiral to me. First fewer posters, than crazy posters, than nothing but crazy posters. The fact that you are taking ad revenue from Newt Gingrich on the sidebar here is a testament to how far WM has fallen and how desparate they must be. With posts and revenue down so drastically, can pulling the plug be far behind? Sheesh!

Posted by: Pat on June 26, 2008 at 9:02 PM | PERMALINK

Powell's endorsing Obama is not the same as Powell's having influence in the Obama administration. (Ditto me, Rev. Wright, and other people. Surely we should have learned that.) So we should welcome the endorsement.

Posted by: focus on June 26, 2008 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

If he sounds a bit like Larry Hunter, liberals will break out the balloons. If he plays the diplomat, expect some grousing.

Powell's support should be welcomed without qualification. Grouser's can go soak their heads.

Posted by: has407 on June 26, 2008 at 9:26 PM | PERMALINK

Now, really: who fives a damn about the liberal blogosphere? The point is to win an election, not placate people with more time than brains.

Posted by: Mandy on June 26, 2008 at 10:12 PM | PERMALINK

Colin Powell is a loathsome human being who condones mass murder, disguised as a soft-spoken, moderate. But his defection to the Democratic Party is one more sign that John McCain is going to get beaten like a red-headed stepchild in November.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on June 26, 2008 at 10:25 PM | PERMALINK

One sell-out artist deserves the other...maybe more statements from the O-man on telecom immunity and 'stuff the 4th Amendment, we're at war' shite will embolden the notoriously craven Powell to formally endorse him. Man, both Tweedledum and Tweedledee have seen the future and want that Unitary Executive chair, TODAY. Think Junior's legacy is just going to disappear after Inauguration Day? Get real, the bad shit is just starting, no matter if McDumbass or Obama gets elected...the "most powerful office in the world" has gotten a hell of a lot more powerful, worst luck for humanity at large.

Posted by: barrisj on June 26, 2008 at 10:29 PM | PERMALINK

Colin Powell, clearly, should he make an endorsement would say something "big" about what he thinks of his party at this time.

That said, I have much respect for him. I dont think he has any interest in being a part of an Obama cabinet. He has flaws, but is a pretty decent guy. I read his book and believe that he would put country over 'person'. Even if he keeps quiet-- endorses no one, the message would just be as 'loud'. www.vernasmith.blogspot.com


Posted by: Lizz on June 26, 2008 at 10:46 PM | PERMALINK

I have mixed feelings on Powell as a man. I long admired him, and saw his time in the Bush machine as little more than tragic. I do, however, fault him for not standing up and speaking the truth when it could have made a difference, and lending his hard-earned credibility to an afterschool gang of dumb jocks.

That having been said, I can't see his endorsement of Obama being a negative, and I do know that there are many moderate Republicans who would stand and take notice of such an endorsement. My father, for instance, retired Air Force career officer himself, would have taken an endorsement by Colin Powell as a major reason to vote for a Democrat for the first time in his life (unfortunately, he kept his always-vote-Republican record solid to the end, but maybe he's pushing for the good guys now :) ).


Posted by: Tom Dibble on June 26, 2008 at 11:03 PM | PERMALINK

So here's an interesting question: how would the liberal blogopshere react if Powell endorsed Obama?

Here's a more interesting question: How would the liberal blogosphere react if Obama chose Powell as his running mate?

Posted by: e. nonee moose on June 26, 2008 at 11:03 PM | PERMALINK

no name @7:29

You and the wingers are wrong.

The vast majority of posters here think Powell is scum for selling out the country and the military, but don't see any problem with his endorsement.

Nice try.

As always, republican trolls float in the sea of lies and distortion.

A proven winning strategy in the US of A.

Posted by: says you on June 26, 2008 at 11:19 PM | PERMALINK

I don't mind if Powell supports Obama, as long as he keeps it to himself.

Posted by: Repack Rider on June 26, 2008 at 11:21 PM | PERMALINK

It was around April 2007 when Pat began stalking me here at Political Animal. Perhaps if what Pat says is true, Pat should attribute Pat's abuse of other commenters as the reason for his lament.

Posted by: Brojo on June 27, 2008 at 1:18 AM | PERMALINK

Colin Powell is obviously one bright guy. Still, one senses he is more Courtney Massengale the Sam Damon (reference: Once were Eagles by Myrer). Colin pushed the Powell doctrine aggressively on the Clinton administration, than totally rolled over for the Bushies, when he really needed to stand up. His biggest sin was being totally outmaneuvered politically by Cheney and Rumsfeld. If you are going to be a political general, at least be good at it.

Posted by: fafner1 on June 27, 2008 at 1:26 AM | PERMALINK

A dozen years into his retirement from the military, could it be that Gen. Colin Powell has finally learned the difference between actually being a good soldier and playing the part of the loyal soldier?

Yeah, that must be it.

The possibility can't have escaped you all that Powell, like a number of other black conservatives, is thinking of endorsing Obama because he's black?

If black conservative/Republicans really want to help Obama, then they shouldn't endorse him. It won't matter a damn to liberals, but it will cost Obama no small amount of white high school graduates (and probably some Hispanics and Asians, too). The sight of blacks abandoning all ideology in favor of "one of their own" won't go over all that well.

Disapprove all you like, but don't kid yourselves.

Posted by: Cal on June 27, 2008 at 1:47 AM | PERMALINK

Powell is probably the Republican I've been most harsh on on my blog, so speaking for myself, I'd remain silent.

Posted by: KathyF on June 27, 2008 at 2:05 AM | PERMALINK

Powell could be a vital asset to the Obama team as it attempts to improve relations with Iran. He could go and sell them some more missiles.

Posted by: ajay on June 27, 2008 at 5:50 AM | PERMALINK

Ever dramatic little Brojo! "Persecution complex." Look it up. And by the way, just because I and numerous others are regularly forced to point out the abject stupidity of most of your arguments here doesn't mean you are being stalked. It just means you are stupid. Hey, how's dad, by the way? Things good down at the church?

Posted by: Pat on June 27, 2008 at 7:04 AM | PERMALINK

"In direct refutation of this portrayal is the fact that relations between Americal soldiers and the Vietnamese people are excellent." -- Colin Powell, 1969, Report on the Investigation of Tom Glen's letter to Gen. Cleighton Abrams following the My Lai massacre.

There is special place in hell for Colin Powell -- and nothing about him has changed over his years of syncophancy.

Posted by: onomasticator on June 27, 2008 at 8:20 AM | PERMALINK

Powell is looking at change HE can believe in.

I would welcome him because it would almost as good as an apology for the UN debacle.

I bet Condi won't endorse McCain in any real way.

Posted by: lilybart on June 27, 2008 at 9:00 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah, this is really kind of a silly post. An endorsement? Who cares!

Now, if we're talking about a cabinet post (or a cabinet post in return for an endorsement), well, that'd be an entirely different affair.

It's not as if Zell Miller's running things over at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave these days.

Posted by: Royko on June 27, 2008 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin -- I recommend you read Judge Stevens' dissenting opinion closely. It might change your layman's view.

http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/07pdf/07-290.pdf

Posted by: js on June 27, 2008 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

105 posts.
Just 3 mention My Lai.
And each with no reply.

Posted by: jr on June 27, 2008 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK

Welcome his support, reject his advice.

Let him stand in the picture--silently.

Posted by: Nancy Irving on June 27, 2008 at 11:18 PM | PERMALINK
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