After General Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama last week, I got to thinking about Powell, who is kind of a mystery man to me. Of course he’s a patriot. He has served his country well in the military and also as Secretary of State under President Bush. No question, Powell loves America and has contributed greatly to it.
Also, I have no problem with his support of Senator Obama. Powell is simply exercising his voting freedom, so more power to him. The problem is the General’s explanation for defecting from his party.
On TV, Powell said he was angry that some extreme right-wingers have called Obama a Muslim and he feels that the Republican establishment has been disrespectful towards the Senator. Okay, there have been some absurd things said about Barack Obama, but John McCain has challenged them publicly, and has even rejected bringing up Reverend Wright as a campaign issue, feeling it is too divisive.
Seems to me that McCain is rejecting ugly politics and the Senator is the guy running against Obama, not some nut shouting invective at a rally.
What is also dubious is Powell’s lack of fair play. Recently, Barack Obama appeared on an NBC News program whose host has called John McCain a “fraud” who “tacitly [incites] lunatics to violence.”
That assertion, of course, is absurd and grossly irresponsible. So, why would Senator Obama go on a program like that? Shouldn’t Powell be concerned about it?
And then there is the Daily Kos. As readers of this column may remember, I chastised the Democratic presidential contenders last summer for attending the Kos convention in Washington. Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and the others lent their credibility to a website that routinely revels in hatred.
For example, DailyKos posted a picture of Senator Joseph Liebermann about to engage in a sex act with President Bush and displayed that disgusting thing for more than year.
When Tony Snow’s fatal cancer returned, the website allowed a posting that said the world “would be better off without him.”
And, most recently, the Daily Kos put forth that Sarah Palin’s teenage daughter, not the Governor herself, gave birth to the Down syndrome baby. It doesn’t get any worse than that.
Again, Senator Obama visited the Kos convention, mingling with these vicious character assassins. I respectfully submit to General Powell that visit is as troubling as anything that has happened in the Republican precincts.
I know Colin Powell only slightly, but I believe his endorsement of Barack Obama really stems from two things he did not say. First, Senator Obama has cultivated Powell, treating him with respect, asking for his advice.
And, secondly, Powell remains bitter over the way he was treated by the Bush administration and some rank and file Republican stalwarts. The friction between him and the so-called “neo-cons” has been widely reported.
So, I think that’s the true story behind General Powell’s shift to the Democrats. The Muslim factor has nothing to do with it.