Powell’s Endorsement of Obama: Foreign Policy, Not Race

Colin Powell, appearing on Meet the Press yesterday, made all the arguments designed to appeal to independent and swing voters likely to be swayed by a moderate Republican with national security credentials. While praising John McCain as a person, he cited McCain’s bumbling of the economic issue and appearing to grapple erratically for a solution to the economic troubles. Then, he criticized the selection of Governor Palin and the tone of the McCain campaign in recent weeks.

In the case of Mr. McCain, I found that he was a little unsure as to deal with the economic problems that we were having and almost every day there was a different approach to the problem. And that concerned me, sensing that he didn’t have a complete grasp of the economic problems that we had. And I was also concerned at the selection of Governor Palin. She’s a very distinguished woman, and she’s to be admired; but at the same time, now that we have had a chance to watch her for some seven weeks, I don’t believe she’s ready to be president of the United States, which is the job of the vice president. And so that raised some question in my mind as to the judgment that Senator McCain made.

I reject the suggestion that Powell’s decision was based on race. As a long-time watcher of Powell’s career, I suspect that the motivating factor in his decision was foreign policy. Powell’s foreign policy views have always been closer to the consensus-oriented, coalition-building approach espoused by Barack Obama. He even warned, remember, the first President Bush about going to war over Kuwait, which was then occupied by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. When Powell knew war was inevitable, he pushed for a broad coalition, which included even Syria, and as large of a troop force as possible.

Anyone who has watched the Frontline specials of the last several years about the lead-up to the war in Iraq, knows the extent to which Powell was marginalized and then used by Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and company. Even though McCain himself — although you wouldn’t know it from his comments — waged war with this same faction of the administration, it’s my sense that Powell believes the McCain view represents a continuation of a hawkish foreign policy. So, like much that happens in politics, it’s pay-back. We can attribute retribution, not race, to this decision, which may help Obama in the margins with swing voters.

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One Response to “Powell’s Endorsement of Obama: Foreign Policy, Not Race”

  1. Norris Hall Says:

    Is it about race?
    Only one person knows for sure…and that’s Colin Powell
    Powell claims that he’s not happy with the “rightward shift” of the Republican party. But is there any merit in his accusation???
    Listen to Republican Senator Michelle Bachmann
    Video of Senator Michelle Bachmann on Hardball
    So…what do you think??. is Colin Powell was just being overly sensitive.

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