In a previous piece, I asked where prominent African-American leaders were within the Republican Party as the McCain campaign has waged one of the most negative and divisive campaigns against Barack Obama. In that article, I specifically mentioned Colin Powell and today as he endorsed Barack Obama he laid out cogent reasons for doing so. In so doing, Colin Powell put country first before party politics and if that angers Pat Buchanan who saw him as abandoning the Republican Party: His opinion should fall on deaf ears as McCain and Palin played tinder-box politics given the fact that Americans are already under immense financial and emotional stress.
As he listed those reasons, he was not doing so as an African-American, but a man very concerned for the future of this country.
On Meet the press, Colin Powell stated of Obama that he “is better suited to handle the nation's economic problems as well as help improve it's standing in the world.” That one statement says it all and will speak to the more moderate Republicans who may be alarmed with the disjointed messages coming out of the McCain campaign. He will also speak to those independents who have a high regard for this former general.
As I have stated in previous pieces, I was once a Republican until it fell into the hands of those who Colin Powell eluded to. I feel he was speaking to those such as Tom DeLay who once said, “I am the federal government” Powell is the embodiment of true Republicanism where those who practice his style of Republicanism seek to find common ground with their colleagues on the Democratic side of the aisle instead of dividing our government.
Those elected leaders within the Republican Party who governed from an extreme right helped to create a fissure within this country far more dangerous than the San Andreas fault. I fault them more for creating this polarization since they have had real and actual power instead of the liberal left throughout these past years. It has been their agenda that has governed this country. But, I still believe that extremism when practiced from any side can be detrimental to this country.
On Meet the Press, Powell also expressed a grave alarm at those robo-calls coming out of the McCain campaign as every American should be since it plays only to our fears and gives us nothing to cling to. In fact, should you get one, just hang up.
This is what he opined of Bill Ayers which has been the central focus of the McCain campaign in the past two weeks, “This Bill Ayers situation that's been going on for weeks became something of a central point of the campaign," Powell said. " But Mr. McCain says that he's a washed-out terrorist. Well, then, why do we keep talking about him?" Now that is a good question.
On Saturday night millions of Americans viewed Sarah Palin’s performance on Saturday Night Live where in essence they did poke fun at her. Powell remarked today that what is being said in these campaigns does find its way to Al-Jazeera and it forms a world-wide opinion of our country. At times, I believe there should be a demarcation line in how politicians seeking the highest office of the land should not cross. In order to be seen as a likeable candidate, most candidates have had to appear on programs such as Letterman and Leno so we can feel they are just like us. But, performing in comedic skits is far different than being interviewed. Given our dangerous world they specifically Palin must be mindful of that fact. We need rock-solid leaders. Okay, call me an elitist if you will. But, through these past eight years we have seen enough comedy coming out of Bush as he has traveled to foreign countries.
Ask yourself this one question: Given Palin’s winking at the vice presidential debate, and her performance on SNL, exactly how will that play to the Iranian government, the Russian government and the Chinese? Will they take her seriously?
When Powell opined that he did not see Sarah Palin as being qualified to become our next vice president, he brought with him a moniker of leadership. He even stated of Palin, that he did not believe she is ready to take over as president if necessary. Colin Powell has been involved in the most sensitive meetings that have taken place within the Oval office as it pertains to our intelligence as well as our national security and it is his opinion we as Americans should listen to as he expressed his concerns of Sarah Palin. One of the first decisions a presidential candidate must make which shows his judgment is the running-mate he chooses. In choosing Joe Biden, Powell thought it was a sound judgment coming from Barack Obama. One must remember that Joe Biden is still the chair of our Foreign Relations committee.
Powell also stated that this economic crisis that is now a world-wide problem that McCain “failed the test” and did not “grasp the economic problems we have had” One only has to remember the first day that the stock market plunged, McCain first said the “fundamentals of the economy are strong” Wrong!
As he remarked of Barack Obama’s steadiness within this crisis on a day-to-day basis, we must remember how McCain stated he was suspending his campaign, and his decision to put off the first presidential debate which did take place. McCain cited an urgency to get back to Washington, but his actions did not show such urgency as he appeared at the Clinton Global Initiative and stood up Dave Letterman as he was interviewed by Katie Couric. McCain really did not add to any real discussion when it came to the first bailout bill which went down in flames. But, it was Barack Obama who peppered Henry Paulson at that meeting at the White House with poignant questions as McCain sat silent.
I am glad Powell expressed concern of more conservative justices to be named to the Supreme Court especially when both McCain and Palin are anti-choice. Powell himself is pro-choice and for women who are still undecided and are pro-choice, this can be the very endorsement they are looking for especially given Powell’s stature.
Another item I applauded Colin Powell for was when he put to rest Barack Obama being a Muslim given our nation’s emotions in a post-9/11 world when he said, "He's always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer's no, that's not America," Powell said. "Is there something wrong with some 7-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president?" I do hope that puts those on the Christian right to shame in shaming them back. This is America, the home of the huddled masses and it was Colin Powell who reminded all of us just that through that statement.
In telling the story of a mom grieving over her son’s headstone at Arlington National Cemetery, he cited that this dead soldier was a Muslim-American and came to the aid of our country. I would have loved to have seen the face of that woman claiming Barack Obama was an Arab in hearing Powell’s narrative of how this young soldier gave his life in defense of her.