A Dark Vein of Chris Matthews In Some Parts of Colin Powell

How do you react when you turn on a Sunday morning news show and find the highly respected, retired four-star general, Colin Powell, irresponsibly throwing out claims of racism at the Republican party that sound as if they’re being read directly from an MSNBC teleprompter?

If you’re a liberal, you probably feel a thrill up your leg. If you’re a conservative like me, however, you slap your hand to your forehead and finally accept the reality that the man you once deeply admired has not only retired from public service, but also from his own personal reputability.

For those who missed it, Powell made the following provocative comments to NBC’s David Gregory on Meet the Press:

“There’s also a dark– a dark vein of intolerance in some parts of the Party. What I do mean by that? I mean by that is they still sort of look down on minorities. How can I evidence that? When I see a former governor say that the president is shuckin’ and jivin’, that’s a racial era slave term. When I see another former governor after the president’s first debate where he didn’t do very well, says that the president was lazy. He didn’t say he was slow, he was tired, he didn’t do well, he said he was lazy. Now, it may not mean anything to most Americans but to those of us who are African-Americans, the second word is shiftless and then there’s a third word that goes along with it.”

 Just to clarify again, this was Colin Powell… not Al Sharpton.

A couple of things have been apparent regarding Powell over the last few years. It’s clear he feels animosity toward the Bush administration (and by extension the Republican party) for what he has referred to as a blot on his record over faulty intelligence on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. It’s also apparent that he feels a sense of pride in having Barack Obama as our president, and has become a vocal defender of him.

What wasn’t apparent until Sunday was Powell’s willingness to sink down into the depths of  a typical left-wing bomb-thrower by playing the race card. It was an incredibly disappointing thing to watch, even for those of us who had already questioned Powell’s political judgement when he endorsed Barack Obama’s presidency… twice. No matter how you paint it, race-baiting isn’t any less despicable coming from a man of Powell’s stature than it is coming from Chris Matthews and the rest of the MSNBC looney-bin. In reducing himself to their level, he has, in my eyes, sacrificed the strong reputation he’s long had of being a thoughtful, independent voice in our political discourse. My sense is that I’m far from alone in that sentiment. I hope, for Powell, that the rhetoric was worth it.

In a general sense, it absolutely boggles my mind that after four years of routine accusations of racism levied at Republicans by Obama supporters, the accusers still can’t seem to offer up any coherent evidence to support their claims. Instead of any rational case, all we keep hearing about is this obsessive concept of racist dog-whistles, the modern-day definition of which seems to be: Mundane words or phrases that magically transform into subliminal racism when uttered by someone with an “R” next to their name.

During last year’s presidential campaign we learned from the mainstream media that the official racist dog-whistle list includes, but is certainly not limited to: “Chicago”, “food stamps”, “monkeying”, “golf”, and as Colin Powell reminded us on Sunday, “shuck and jive”, and “lazy.”

How anyone can take such nonsense seriously is beyond me, but if it’s the basis for Powell’s argument, how about using a single standard?  If “shuck and jive” and “lazy” are enough evidence to proclaim that Republicans are intolerant and “look down on minorities”, where does that leave someone like Vice President Joe Biden who has become well known for his racially insensitive remarks?

In case some have forgotten, Biden’s the guy who talked about black people being put “back in chains” just a few months ago. He’s the guy who, in 2007 before joining the presidential ticket, marveled at how Obama was the “first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.” He’s the guy who, in 2006, told a supporter, “You cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I’m not joking.” He’s the guy who, in a speech in 2012, dawned an Indian accent and said, “How many times you get the call, ‘I like to talk to you about your … credit card?”

Is that behavior not concerning to Powell? Is there no “dark vein” of “looking down on minorities” in “some parts” of the Democratic Party? By Powell’s own criteria, the evidence seems to be there.

How about a high-ranking Democrat who sat in his proclaimed spiritual adviser’s church for 20 years, listening to him routinely preach hate, racism, an anti-Americanism? Granted it’s no highly deplorable example of intolerance like saying “shuck and jive” or “lazy” (yes, that’s sarcasm), but it sure seems like the kind of thing that would concern Powell, given his comments on Sunday. Oddly, however, it doesn’t.

The mainstream media will, of course, continue to examine Powell’s comments aggressively. After all, there are few stories they like more than a Republican attacking his own party (even though I’m not sure exactly what makes Powell a Republican anymore). However, it will be difficult for any rational thinker to find logic in such a selective proclamation of racism, especially when the rhetoric was nothing more than the same, tired, nonsensical charges that conservatives have had to endure for the past four years.

Then again, logic matters little in today’s politics, and the only insight we can derive from Powell’s Sunday performance is that conservatives can look forward to another four years of routinely being called racists in the promised post-racial era of Obama.

Author Bio:

John Daly couldn't have cared less about world events and politics until the horrific 9/11 terrorist attacks changed his perspective. Since then, he's been deeply engaged in the news of the day with a particular interest in how that news is presented. Realizing the importance of the media in a free, democratic society, John has long felt compelled to identify media injustices when he sees them. With a B.S. in Business Administration (Computer Information Systems), and a 16 year background in software and web development, John has found that his real passion is for writing. He is the author of the Sean Coleman Thriller series. His first novel, "From a Dead Sleep," is available at all major retailers. His second novel, "Blood Trade" is available for pre-order and will be released in Sept. 2015. John lives in Northern Colorado with his wife and two children. Like John on Facebook. Follow John on Twitter.
Author website: http://www.johndalybooks.com/
  • JmThms

    Bravo for the truthfulness and clarity of this article! The truth is that Powell voted for, and supports, Obama because HE LOOKS LIKE HIM! It was obvious that both Powell and McCain were putative ‘moderate Republicans’ with a military background. So they should be pretty much ideologically in step, right? Much more so than Powell and the Left-wing Obama!!! The ONLY reasonable explanation is that Powell voted for Obama twice, and continues to throw left-wing grenades in our direction is due to his adoption of left-wing racial politics. Because, after all, OBAMA LOOKS LIKE POWELL!!!!

  • propwash

    I’m beginning to think Colin Powell, himself, has an identity problem

  • Switchlight13

    Powell the “washed up has been” probably took his marching orders from the White House just as Susan Rice did on Meet the (far left) Press back in September

  • Bob Hadley


    Although it’s striking to accuse the GOP of having a vein of racial bigotry on a national talk show like Meet the Press, I tend to give Gen. Powell the benefit of the doubt to a certain degree. Gen Powell’s accusation may well be wrong or overblown. On the other hand, Powell also appeared to be conveying an honest, visceral reaction that may well be common amongst many African-Americans. The statements are not mutually exclusive

    Although former Gov Palin’s “shuck and jive” remark was striking, I can imagine her saying that about any politician whose policies she deplores. I think that’s just the way she talks. And I didn’t think anything of (I think it was) former Gov. Sununu’s “lazy” remark.

    But if Gen. Powell was honestly conveying a gut reaction he felt at the word usage, then perhaps the GOP should take notice. If that was the honest gut reaction of someone as experienced, educated and sophisticated as Gen. Powell, I think it safe to assume that a lot of other African-Americans have a similar gut reaction.

    Yes, thinking people can be expected to rise above gut reactions when circumstances warrant, but many don’t.

    As Paul Courtney indicated below, Gen. Powell has reason to be hypersensitive in this area. Blacks in this country have a history of brutal, violent, often deadly oppression that has been systematic, systemic and pervasive. Today, although the worst of this is in the past, residual racial bigotry thrives in many areas of the country. For example, when I lived in Boston, Mass. for a several years, I was aware of a lot of anti-black hatred and even some racial violence.

    So, of course there’s going to be over-sensitivity among blacks. What do you expect? Things like that can’t be simply be shut off like a faucet.

    I have witnessed a racial hyper-sensitivity among whites here in Hawaii (where I live and was born and raised). Whites come here from the mainland and find the majority of the population to be non-white or of mixed races It’s not at all uncommon for whites who move or visit here – even educated and intelligent whites – to see things in terms of anti-white sentiment. I’ve seen whites get like this even when they’ve lived here for over 10 years. They will often find racial animus at the drop of a hat, at word choice, at tone of voice, at level of engagement, etc. It’s almost as if they’re looking for facial animus. They will often often get very defensive when it’s pointed out that whatever they’re complaining of is not the result of racial animus.

    For example, I recently had dinner with a white friend who has lived here off-and-on for 10 years or so. A part-Hawaiian couple sat down at a table next to us a few minutes after we were seated. A part-Hawaiian cook then came out and greeted the couple, who were obviously close friends of his. The couple was served before us. My companion almost blew a gasket. I had to struggle to keep him from making a scene. He would not accept the explanation that the couple next to us was most likely served before us because of favoritism, not race.

    There is some anti-white sentiment here in Hawaii, but not as much as there is anti-black sentiment at various places on the mainland, and it is often overblown.

    And whites have far less of an excuse to be hypersensitive about race. They do not have a history of oppression anywhere near comparable to that of blacks.

    I’ve heard that in Wash. DC perception is reality. I’ve always thought that this was an over-statement. But maybe the GOP should stop, look and listen.

  • Reality Based Media

    Funny. Conservatives loved Powell when he sullied his reputation by lying about WMD, but now that he is telling the truth, you hate him.

    • John Daly


      So, if lefties like yourself believe he ‘lied’ about WMDs (in contrast with those of us who believe he merely presented the best – all be it incorrect – intelligence the CIA and several other countries’ intelligence organizations had at the time) to send our troops to Iraq where thousands of them would be killed, why are you so proud of him now?

      If you believe he would ‘lie’ about something as consequential as a justification for war, why would you believe ANYTHING he says?

      • Reality Based Media

        He did lie. The Bush Administration knew that Saddam did not have WMD. That’s why GWB would not let the UN Weapons Inspectors complete their job. So why do I believe Powell now? Unlike conservatives, I recognize the truth when I see it. Conservatives have a great deal of difficulty with recognizing truth due to prolonged exposure to Rush Limbaugh, Fox “News” and the rest of the conservative media.

        • John Daly

          You can click your red-ruby heels together and repeat your little fantasy version of what happened as many times as you like, but the reality is that all of the major intelligence communities in the world, the Clinton administration, the Bush administration, and a good portion of Obama’s current cabinet all believed Saddam had WMDs.

          There is no truth to anything you’ve written above, despite your desperate need for it to be. It’s fantasy speculation that flies in the face of the facts, much like the Birther movement.

          Your answer, however, explains how you’ve reached your conclusion on Powell’s recent comments. You merely believe what you want to believe, and somehow you seem to think that that makes you wide.

          • John Daly

            lol. Not wide, ‘wise.’

        • Paul Courtney

          No hope of getting through to you, RBM, but others might appreciate reality based history. In addition to the truth that Saddam himself believed he had WMD, Bush had to act because Russians and French were about to lift sanctions on Iraq at that time. UN weapons inspectors, led by Egyptian who had no interest in finding weapons (irony alert-he lost election and will likely be imprisoned by the Brotherhood in a classic show of Islamist gratitude) had been thrown out of Iraq and weren’t being let back in. Ring any bells?

          • Reality Based Media

            Yes. It was GWB himself who would not give them time to finish. he told them to get out because if they didn’tthey were very likely to become collateral damage. That’s the reality based history

          • John Daly

            Just out of curiosity, were you old enough to remember the beginning of the Iraq war? The actual reason for ending the inspections was widely reported at the time. It was no secret. Every time the inspectors announced a location they were going to visit, our satellite photos would show the Iraqi military get the location first, load up big trucks with lots of heavy material, and then leave with it. After happening time after time, patience had run out, and fears that the extended delay was causing a strategic advantage for Saddam ended the inspections.

        • JmThms

          Thats a lie! The U.S Intel community, like those overseas, suspected that they still indeed did have WMD. And you know that. You are lying!

        • JmThms

          And furthermore you don’t ‘recognize the truth when you see it’. What you recognize is an opportunity to lie and perpetuate the faulty, inaccurate, and under-handed talking points of the Left. But please keep trying. The longer your side’s lying goes on the more we have to fight back with.

    • JmThms

      He is not telling the truth. And its obvious. And it is hilarious that you still, like so many other liberals, claim that it is! You are a lying liberal and you know it.

  • Patrick H.

    What amazes me is that these people were the ones calling him a house slave, Uncle Tom, oreo, war criminal, and all the like and now suddenly they’ve become a big fan of him. What short memories these people have.

    • John Daly

      Excellent point.

  • Wheels55

    I could quote lines from “DJango Unchained”, but I would be called a racist, even if those lines were spoken by blacks.

  • Wheels55

    How will history view playing the race card? I think it will show that these Powell type messages being as detrimental as the KKK.

  • Larry B

    We can all thank Alma Powell for vetoing dear Colin’s desire to run for high office. He made a lot of money on the lecture circuit, but why anyone would want to pay to listen to him now is a mystery.

  • ARJ127

    No. Powell didn’t fall into disgrace. The Republican Party did. General Powell is a man who served his country well and who called it as it is. The Republicans have a lot of house cleaning to do. The racist slurs against Obama are symptomatic of what has ailed the Republicans. Call him a free-spending liberal. HOwever, “shuckin’ & jivin’ has racial connotations that Powell correctly called you on.

    • John Daly

      Believe me, I was a long time admirer of Powell and was proud of his service to this country while you guys on the left were busy calling him a liar and a war-criminal.

      The reality is that these “racial slurs” as you call them wouldn’t amount to a hill of beans if they were uttered by a Democrat, as evidenced by people like Joe Biden, Harry Reid, and Barbara Boxer who’ve gone far beyond using phrases that critics have to contort into “dog whistles” in order to find an element of racism.

      If Powell’s stated rationale was his best case for why the Republican party has a ‘dark vein’ of intolerance and ‘look down on minorities’, then I can reach no other conclusion than that he resigned his credibility to the Obama public relations machine.

      Racism is a serious charge. Anyone who throws it around like the MSNBC players and now Powell isn’t worthy of reputability on the topic.

      • Larry B

        There is a racialist and anti semitic organization right in the heart of the Congress: It’s called the Congressional Black Caucus. As long as it exists, the democrats should not lecture anyone else on race.

    • pol_incorrect

      Of course he did. Only he knows his true motivations for blindly supporting Obama and bashing the Republican Party. We can only guess. Her successor at the Department of State, who is arguably way smarter than him, apparently doesn’t feel the same. Not only that, her speech at the RNC was one the most powerful delivered there, hand in hand with Marco Rubio’s. Collin Powell has a hidden agenda. Whether he is doing this in hopes of rehabilitating his image after being complicit in the WMD thing or because (as I believe) of “race brotherhood” with the first black president, the reality is that he has become an utterly pathetic old man.

      • ARJ127

        If Powell criticized the Republicans, they should do some serious soul searching. Republicans seem to be impervious to criticism and therefore incapable of learning.

        • John Daly

          The GOP absolutely needs to learn from the mistakes they’ve made, and I don’t even entirely disagree with some of Powell’s criticism of the party. It’s the racist nonsense he was peddling that discredited him.

          • pol_incorrect

            As I said, the Republican Party is full of competent and smart people who do not conform to the “white, old boy network” that the liberal media portrays. Powell’s criticism is not the word of God. It’s his opinion. An opinion that is not shared by Condi Rice, Marco Rubio or myself.

            As a naturalized citizen who regularly votes Republican I find Powell’s comments insulting really. I came to the US searching for something very different than the rubbish welfare state that is offered in my native Western Europe to every problem. I wanted opportunities, individual freedom, to be judged by my work, to have the right of not being labelled X (X being the identity as in “identity politics” of your choice). Amongst the two major parties it’s the Republican Party that offers that. And in fact, the reason I switched my party registration from Republican to independent is the RINOs, not the core ideology of the Republican Party which is music to my ears. The Democratic Party only offers the same culture of dependency and individual alienation that I left behind in Western Europe. I found it disgusting then and I find it disgusting now. The most reasonable and welcoming natural born Americans that I have met are all conservative Republicans or conservative Democrats. Liberals are the most untrustworthy and dishonest people I have ever met.

          • John Daly

            Well said.

          • pol_incorrect

            Great minds think alike :D.

          • Reality Based Media

            No one said that general Powell spoke the word of God. however, there’s a good reason why the Republican Party has a super majority of white people and his assessment is pretty much right on the money

          • pol_incorrect

            Wow, and I am sure that you think you just made a super wise argument. Following your reasoning, the Democratic Party is the ultra racist party against all things white given that 95% of Blacks voted for it and 70+% of Hispanics and Asians did. They promote all things anti-White. Nonsense. Let me tell you this, there is only one of the two major parties that has institutionalized racism in its platform an that’s the Democratic Party. It’s called affirmative action.

          • Reality Based Media

            of course, the idea of Democrats promoting anything anti any race is nonesense. the racist part of the Democratic Party left many decades ago when conservatives started leaving for the GOP. Racism has always come from conservatives. the fact that you consider affirmative action to be racist clearly identifies you at best as unintelligent and at worst as a racist. In fact, the GOP has long had racism as part of its election arsenal. It’s called the Southern Strategy.

          • pol_incorrect

            Affirmative action is institutionalized racism. You favor certain positions and opportunities, and similarly deny said positions/opportunities, for some people based solely on people’s skin color. That’s racism. As to the Democratic Party’s racism, it’s in its history. The Democratic Party is unable to look at people as individuals and nothing else. They have mastered the art of “identity politics”. It was not able to do so when it was an overtly anti Black and anti Asian party (ask the 100000 + Japanese Americans that were sent to concentration camps during WWII) and it’s unable to do so now. It might be news to you, but I do not identify myself primarily by my race or ethnicity. And certainly, I repudiate the culture of parasitism and dependency on the welfare state that the Democratic Party promotes. I know all too well the type of rubbish society that results when a majority of people aspire to become welfare state parasites vs empowered individuals pursuing their dreams through hard work.

      • oldphardt

        That pathetic old man has joined a group of venture capitalists and is wealthy beyond your dreams. He talked of this in a speech at Wright Patterson Air Force Base several years ago. Humble, he ain’t and with his wealth, he can and will talk down on any who do not agree with his views.

  • Paul Courtney

    At least Powell has an excuse for racial hyper-sensitivity, unlike Matthews and other white liberal guilt trippers. My biggest beef with Powell is this-“you broke it you bought it.” For a long time now, one thing that most people seem to agree on is that we should not have stayed in Iraq or Afghanistan as long as we did. It was his policy that we stay, yet nobody mentions Colin Powell. Things might have turned out alot better if he’d quietly advised getting out back in ’04, instead of acting petulant because he was tasked to give a speech based on “false” intel. You don’t see Susan Rice complaining!

  • pol_incorrect

    You are spot on. Powell’s fall into disgrace is astonishing. I wasn’t aware that his hate for all things white was so profound. It says a lot that he has been willing to tarnish his legacy to blindly defend an incompetent president only because both are black.

    • John Daly

      I highly doubt his beef is with white people. It’s with Republicans.

      • pol_incorrect

        You are probably right although it’s hard not to make the case that his blind following of Obama is in part motivated by race “brotherhood”. He cried the night Obama was elected in 2008. If this was some random black, one would understand, but it’s a four star general with combat experience that we are talking about here. I think Powell is too invested in Obama personally. In any case, if he thinks that 50 years from now historians will be kind to him on the Iraq/UN issue because of his Obama KoolAid drinking he is basically deluded.

      • oldphardt

        Sadly, a full reading of history as it really happened – not the retro look being boosted by Democrats – will prove that Republicans have done more FOR black people that have all of our Democrat office-holders myet, as I write these words, there will be those who debate what I write without concrete reasons to do so —just that they hate Republicans. Even Johnson credtited Republicans (mainly Ev Dirksen of Illinois )for helping push his civil rights bill through a fairly rigid Senate. Look it up.

        • Reality Based Media

          it was moderates and liberals that have done the most for black people. This was at a time when there could actually be moderate and liberal Republicans. conservatives consistently fought against equal rights for African Americans whether this was yesterday’s conservative Democrats or today’s conservative Republicans

  • RickonhisHarleyJohnson

    So, the ‘Affirmative Action’ General doesn’t want me calling his President lazy? Frankly, Colin Powell, I don’t care what you think. The current man in the White House is the laziest President I’ve ever seen. Haven’t even thought about whether it comes from his white side or his black side. In all my years, I’ve had no respect for lazy people, white or black. When do we stop excusing people’s laziness because of skin color?!!

  • http://twitter.com/Libertarianish Libertarian Ish

    On Meet The Press he criticized name calling by some people on the right, then turned around and did it himself. Let’s face it, he was encouraged and promoted by GOP leaders and proudly called himself a Republican during that time. The minute the GOP went out of power he joined the ranks of the left. I never heard him criticize Chris Matthews, who used the term “shuck and jive” on Hardball long before Palin used it. He’s just another hypocrite like so many on the left. And I view him as someone desperately looking for a job doing anything in the Obama administration.