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Colin Powell Endorses Barack Obama




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Hooray. I wish Powell had come out with some of this rhetoric about the party when he stepped down from the Bush administration. I suppose they could attacked his as "french" or something, but Powell would have upped his standing as a leader in my eyes if he had held a press conference discussing the bad direction in which the GOP was headed then.

Still - yay! another endorsement for O!

Wow. Not just an endorsement, but a discourse on all that is wrong with the GOP.

I have to agree with gypsy sister. I've watched him over the past several years and noticed his seeming disillusion, and although it's nice to hear him put it in such clear terms; it would have been nicer a few months or even years ago.

Powell rates right up there with Andrew Sullivan and Christopher Hitchens as far as nutless wonders whose words aren't worth the breath used to form them. Their early support for the war—when they should have been well aware of the disaster that lay ahead for us—earns those three punks a one-way ticket to Palukaville in my book.

I respectfully disagree with leftbanker, I have always liked Colin Powell, I feel sorry for him about what happened in the Bush administration. I was against the Iraq war from the beginning, but there were reasonable people that supported it, and thought carefully about it. (most of the democrats supported it, they were wrong, but this does not make them evil).

People should be allowed to be wrong, particularily those who learn from their mistakes.

Likely Powell should have resigned from the Bush adminstration earlier than he did, but I suspect he was the only reasonable person in the early Bush administration and stayed to attempt to protect the troops and make the war at least work.

At the CNN recent panel of ex secretary of states, Powell was by far,in my opinion, the most impressive. I will try and find the link, it is really worth seeing.

It is worth listening to the whole meet the press section with Powell, the first segment . Before the endorsement.

.colinpowellonchallengesforthe newpresident

I believe that Powell gives the best argument for Obama that I have seen. He does it in the most respective way I have seen. He makes the best argument against the attacks from the McCain campaign, the silliness of the "socialist" calls, the silliness of the Ayres stuff.

What Leftbanker says also holds true for Hillary Clinton and is why she got rudely ejected from the top spot of the Democratic ticket that many thought was rightfully hers.

As I have said all along, there are lots of question marks surrounding Barack Obama, but with each passing day there have been much fewer and he continually proves himself to be one of the most intelligent, capable, honest, and inspiring political leaders this country produced in my lifetime.

With the looming economic collapse this country faces, most people are going to swing much further to the left than they probably ever imagined, but in my opinion it shouldn't have taken an economic disaster for so many working-class Americans to vote for--and many for the first time in their adult lives--a party and ideology that has, more or less, been for working class people for over a century.

It's good to see people finally reject the snake oil medicine--that really divides us and favors the rich--which the right-wing has been peddling since Reagan. Even Bill Clinton was sipping from the free market Kool-Aid.

I'm glad Powell finally woke up from his delusional state and recognized the racist right-wing assholes he's been nuzzling next to for far too long.

His support for our illegal venture in Iraq, and his pathetic performance in front of the UN when he helped peddle the neocon lies that led to our invasion, makes him a public figure to vilify forever, but it was nice to hear him begin the long road to redemption that he needs to travel if he truly wants history to look kindly upon his public service.

After all, if powerful politicians and technocrats like Powell and Hillary Clinton had vehemently opposed the war even if it would have hurt them politically, maybe the stupid American public wouldn't have been so easily hoodwinked into supporting this fucking disaster of a war we're still waging and paying dearly for some five and a half years later.

"we're still waging and paying dearly for some five and a half years later"

you're paying for? the only way the average american, minus those who lost their loved ones needlessly, pays for it is through the extra price at the gas station.

try hundreds of thousands of dead iraqis, blood on over half of the voting population of america - not george w. every voter, including dennis hopper, should think long and hard about what they've done and be ashamed instead of just announcing proudly that theyve now pulled their heads out of their asses to vote obama.

andrej,

I am sorry, but your comment is just too stupid to ignore.

Every year since 2003, I have paid an average of $24,000 in federal taxes a year, which comes out to a grand total of $144,000 I have piad since teh war began, if you include this current tax year. The defense budget accounts for about 20% of the federal budget, which means that I, Matthew Scheck, humble American citizen, have paid nearly $29,000 of my hard-earned money for our military machine.

So it is reasonable to say I have indeed paid "dearly" for it, you idiot.

pardon me, matthew, i was assuming you were speaking symbolically when you said paid dearly, as in american lives that this war has cost. i made a sarcastic remark taking your "paid dearly" literally, and then countered the point i thought you were actually making (arguing that iraqis paid much more dearly without having ever voted for bush).

but turns out you insensitive prick ACTUALLY meant that youre just pissed off that you had to pay more.

best, idiot.

Actually, anjdrej, for better or worse, the Iraqi people got two substantive things from this war: they lost an autocratic and brutal dictator who had terrorized them for a generation, and they now have the ability to rule themselves, so it hasn't been a complete disaster for them. Out of this horrid mess they actually have gained the right to self rule and a real chance at a more fair and just society. It is doubtful they can meet these lofty goals, but they now have that chance, which under Saddam they never even dreamed of having. I have been against the war from the start and oppose it now, but even I can agree with the above logic, painful though it is to admit.

Conversely, the American people haven't gotten shit for their investment in lives and national treasure for the Iraq War, which was MY point. We normally wage wars to ensure our domestic security and to protect our national interests, but these were not served by the over 4,000 American lives and hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars we've spent on this fiasco.

And our "preemptive" reasoning for invading Iraq violates nearly every civilized notion of why nations fight wars. In my opinion what we did was highly illegal. I said this in 2002 before we invaded, I said it the day we invaded, and I say it now.

I have deep investment in my country way more than just paying taxes, but I was merely making a point by placing a real cost to my investment in this war.

Your knee-jerk moralizing aside, I have no idea what point you are making, to be honest, but thanks for your goofy "holier-than-thou" posturing, which points to an irrationality that is at the heart of nearly everything that is wrong with public discourse both here on the Internet and in the real world.

of course, its the "rationals" against "holier-than-thou" irrational populists. for simply pointing out what is to me the irreversible bottom line? im not trying to make myself feel better about me, win any votes or show off. im just pointing out the simple, big truths when i read smug citizens lamenting their money loss.

I won't point out any more of the silliness and irrationality you've expressed now in three comments, or the idiotic selective perception you use to make points that become only apparent to you and your irrational mind, but thanks for trying to add somethng to his conversation--muddy, illogical, and silly though it may be.

dito, RATIONAL insensitive prick.

user-pic

Good...good!! Strike him down in your anger!

As Mt Scheck already said: any criticism of Powell's early support for Iraq could also be leveled against Biden, or Clinton, or even Edwards. Doesn't make him any less wrong, mind you.

Ronald Reagan, all praise be unto him, once said (paraphrase from memory): "I am proud to invite Mr. Colin Powell to the opening of my Presidential library, but I do so on one condition- that he one day returns the favor"

That was a very powerful statement in the late 80's, and I still remember it vividly (this was my core Reagan-ganda implanting phase, after all). If someone can find that clip, it would be useful for the next time Calligraph wanders by.

Can you just imagine what the world might look like right now if Bush picked Powell for VP, and then choked on that pretzel?

Granted, I don't buy the "whoops- W tricked me line!" from Hillary, and I won't buy it from Powell either. However, unlike Hillary, Powell is very useful for converting moderate and right-leaning independents.

The poll spread looks wide enough to beat the Bradley effect. Now, we just need to intimidate the GOP into not playing Diebold games. An endorsement by Powell does a lot to discourage vote fraud.

And, I'd like to believe this endorsement would have come even if Obama were 100% white. Too bad we'll never know for sure.

And as far as the "free market = a scam" argument goes, forgive the obligatory:

Reaganomics/debt-based money != free market

Clinton's NAFTA, and Reaganomics, were BOTH terrible moves that screwed the working classes and hurt America's growth long-term.

I am willing to give Obama 4 years to prove me wrong. If the middle class relief is enough to offset the inflation caused by the recent bailout politics, I promise to re-read my FDR/New Deal history and reconsider this point of view.

But if you ask me, President Change should fire Paulson and Bernanke on day one, and ask Congress to investigate the Fed the next day. That would be some change I can believe in!

Clinton's two biggest crimes against the American citizenry were his signing of 1999's Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and 2000's Commodity Futures Modernization Act.

These two disasterous pieces of deregulatory legislation have helped destroy our economy as much as anything, and both happened under Clinton's watch.

It should be noted that Clinton's Treasury Secretary and chief free market advisor (and head Wall Street cheerleader), Robert Rubin, is now working for Barack Obama.

This fact pisses me off more about Obama than his support of the FISA legislation.

I agree, and I hated Clinton for his intellectual property crimes, his pro-Eisner/Jack Valenti record/contract on America. The stain rubbed off on Hillary for me too, whom I really did not trust.

C. Powell was right to defend Arabs, who are indeed the most Semitic Semites, not the mere semisemites whose semitonal cantorials we are so accustomed to hearing (but Ink don't Blink) from their post WWII esconcement amongst the establishment. Such as it is. Not that there's anything wrong with that, though Henry Kissinger endorses McPalin.

Colin Powell played the good soldier til the end of Bush's first term. He told the administration that the preemption with Iraq wasn't a good idea. When his advice was rejected, he went along with his commander-in-chief and did his duty: gave a shaky dissertation to the U.N. to convince them to let us go to war with Iraq, and he did try to influence how it was fought. The former irritates me to no end, and the latter at least lets me have some modicum of respect for the general.

His endorsement will do a lot for Republicans who don't want to vote for McCain but are considering Obama, albeit tepidly.

But Powell wasn't an Army general under Bush and therefore his obligation as a Cabinet-level bureaucrat was to the American people, not George W. Bush. Therefore, he should have resigned if he was so admantly opposed to invading Iraq. Even if Powell had been a general, he should have handed in his stars rather than execute illegal orders.

No civilian or military leader is obligated to follow illegal orders, no matter who makes them.

Powell knew better and yet he did nothing.

I know what Powell's status was under Bush. However, he had been career military, and he was behaving like the good soldier. Read my 1st post; I already said that his behavior irritated me.

As far as your financial cost - yes that sucks, but I have to put in 2 cents to agree with andrej that the lives lost (on both sides) are also a heavy toll. I don't feel that the ends justify the means for the benefits (however great) that you cited for the Iraqis.

Umm, when I quantified how much I've paid for the war effort, I was merely responding to andrej's assertion that:

you're paying for? the only way the average american, minus those who lost their loved ones needlessly, pays for it is through the extra price at the gas station.

So as I said, as an "average American," I am paying for it in more ways than through the "extra price at the gas station." Obviously, merely paying my taxes isn't much, but it does mean I have partial ownership of this disasterous war, even if--as was the case--I vehemently opposed it all along the way. Perhpas my contribution to the war effort purchased the ammunition that led to the slaughter of innocent civilians. I don't know. But I am ashamed that I've been connected to this war in any way, shape, and form. So indeed it has cost me.

Perhaps what andrej meant to say (personally, I try not to "infer" from people's ill-worded or apparantly illogical statements what they really mean; silly me, I think they mean what they say, not what they meant to say but lacked the eloquence or logical skills to express it correctly) was that few average Americans have sacrificed much for this horrible war.

If andrej meant "sacrifice" and not just "cost," then I would agree with him. Obviously no one sacrificed like the American military who served in Iraq, or like the Iraqi people, for whom this war has been a complete and utter nightmare. Their losses have been immense. But, like I said, they have gained something, even if it was forced down their throats against their will. But the fact remains they have a real chance to be much better off in the future because of our invasion and occupation. Was the cost and sacrifice too high for them? Obviously.

However, the war has in fact cost all Americans dearly, whether that cost was a sacrifice or not.

So maybe we can now quit splitting hairs on this. We probably all agree the war was an utter disaster that should never have happened. We probably all agree far too many sacrifices were made. We probably all agree this cost America dearly in terms of lives lost, taxpayer money flushed down the drain, and our prestige abroad taking a huge nosedive.

bygones

I think most of those who visit this site know the war in Iraq has been disastrous and many if not the exact same number disagreed with the war from the onset.

Regardless of your opinion of Powell, do you feel that his endorsement will do some good for O?

It may do as much good for Colin Powell's disgraced honor as it does for Obama's political fortunes, which look pretty good right now with or without Powell on his side.

Time will tell.

I guess my point is that far too many American legislative and bureaucratic leaders acted cowardly in the face of the fact that in 2002-2003 70% of America supported invading Iraq despite there being no compelling reason to invade.

Only Army General Eric Shiseki had the guts to stand up to the lying shitbag civilians (Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Feith) who were above him in the chain of command.

Shinseki refused their orders to present their lies to Congress, and of course he was fired for doing this.

Few other leaders acted as honorably, and they could have if they weren't so obsessed with their own personal and political ambitions instead of putting America first.

Shinseki knew he was toast as soon as he began presenting testimony to Congress that contradicted what his sleazy civilian leaders had been peddling.

That's honor. Powell has none and never did.

I don't know if it is as simple as that.

I think a man doesn't earn your trust for years with a certain behavior(as far as we know) and then get dismissed without understanding his beliefs in one of the biggest fiascos this country has ever seen. I'm not saying you're not right - I'm just saying I reserve judgment. Maybe his behavior was not as exemplary before or maybe not as reprehensible after (for example - believing that if he left, it would continue on without him and there would be no one watching the inmates, believing he could exert some level of influence, believe he could protect the military to some extent?)

I don't know enough about the financial laws that Clinton signed in (would they have passed anyway if he had vetoed them) but, again, I would like to hear what his justification was then and now. Again, I'm not saying you're wrong - I'm just saying I would reserve judgment until I understand the situation then and now a little better. Maybe you've already done that so who are your sources?

Try Google, for starters.

I tried the google on the internets and found Krugman with a kind of positive spin on deregulation so looks like Clinton is faultless. Hey - thanks for the tip!

This excellent article in Mother Jones explains how destructive one of the two Acts I mentioned above has been.

The most powerful part of the article:

Passage of the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 was celebrated in a Wall Street Journal editorial as an end to "unfair" restrictions imposed on banks during the Great Depression, under the headline "Finally, 1929 Begins to Fade." But Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman, writing in Mother Jones [in 1999!], warned that the legislation, which amounted to the "finance industry's deregulatory wish list," would "pave the way for a new round of record-shattering financial industry mergers, dangerously concentrating political and economic power." Mokhiber and Weissman also predicted that such mergers would eventually "create too-big-to-fail institutions that are someday likely to drain the public treasury as taxpayers bail out imperiled financial giants to protect the stability of the nation's banking system."

Indeed. This is exactly what has happened! They wrote the above quote in italics in 1999!

Better yet, read this 1999 Mother Jones article criticizing Clinton, Rubin, Gramm, and the repealing of Glass-Steagall.

Their predictions of what this would do are frighteningly accurate.

Oh, that liberal media!

The (Reagan-Bush-)Clinton(-Bush) era/error. I would vote Admiral Stockdale if I had a time machine.

I hope he calls Chuck Hagel and gets him in the game too.

Limbaugh and others are already saying this is only about race. The fervent lunatic base will believe that and it may take the real kick out of this endorsement.

There is perhaps a more compelling argument that Powell is making this endorsement to atone for his own sins.

Per the discussion above between Matt and Andre.

What sort of insanity is it where many Americans spent 29,000 or more in Iraq. Imagine if we had all bought a hybrid car with that money or it had all been spent on high speed rail. We would all be so safer and better off economically. Particularly if one of our moronic automakers was actually making their own Hybrid car here in America.

How about if that money went to public education, infrastructure, or health care?

I for one would love to see more of my tax $$ doing things that really matter for my fellow citizens, rather than paying for an Army of occupation in a country we have no business occupying.

But somehow that makes me an insensitize prick.

Silly me.

I am pretty sure that wanting less people to die and having your tax dollars spent to make peoples lives better rather then worse is not a sign of insensitivity.

Jury is still out on you being a prick.

Oh, I am a prick. I don't mind that pejorative being flung at me. ;-)

Here is Powell outside the studio after Meet the Press.

All I can say is: Wow. Looks like he had a little more to say on these topics. (It's been a long time since I've heard a conservative speak so sensible about taxes, even though, granted, the point he's making is probably obvious to most of us).

Powell is am impressive guy, role in the war or not, I hope that once Bush is out of office, there will be a Powell book that really tells us the truth.

It is easy for us, not in politics, to be sure how we would have acted during the start of the iraq war. Opposition to it and you were blackballed and called unpatriotic. Perhaps some felt that staying on and working was the more patriotic thing to do.

My dad has often told me how bad things were during the McCarthy period. I suspect opposing the war in republican circles would have been similar.

Hi Norm,

just a quick message to let you know my thanks to you and what you've been doing.

I've learned about your blog two years ago, from a canadian (and I'm living in Quebec now), and I've learned a lot about american politics from your posts, the links with my coffee, and the daily/colbert/moyers show excerpts.

Although the focus on religion is a bit "100 years ago" from a european/french standpoint ;) , it's still most interesting to learn about the US culture that way.

Thanks again for your work, Armand

PS: please don't refrain from posting more about Edwards, Nader and other 'progressive' thinkers and ideas.

My original point was that Powell was directly involved in making America's most disastrous foreign policy decision—and that's saying a lot for US. Had Powell put the country before his fucking personal ambition and told Bush what he really thought about the Iraq invasion, things may have been quite different. As Mat pointed out, he was no longer a soldier obliged to take orders from Bush as commander in chief, he was an American public servant whose duty is to serve the people. Andrew Sullivan, Hitchens, Chris Matthews were just post 9/11 chickenhawks who wanted America to kick some ass (I guess any old Muslim ass would work, as far as they were concerned). I welcome Powell embracing Obama, but like those three pundits, his opinions are not interesting to me. I'd rather listen to those who have been right all along about the war. Name one conservative pundit who predicted that the war was going to be difficult in any sense. Most of the people who comment here have been against it from the start precisely because we knew:

a) The the basis for invading was dubious at best.
b) That occupying Iraq would be a public relations nightmare.
c)That getting out would be difficult (I still have visions from childhood of people clinging to the skids of choppers exiting Viet Nam).

So if Powell, Sullivan, Hitchens, Matthews, el al want to change their little minds about the most disastrous American foreign policy decision of all time, they should stop offering opinions for a bit and start listening to people with a bit of wisdom.

The issue here also is accountability.

It's one thing for idiotic pundits to promote destructive ideas, openly lie, change their minds ex post facto, or obfuscate facts, but quite another for a public servant, in his or her role while serving the American people, to openly lie as horribly as Colin Powell did in his speech to the UN prior to our invasion of Iraq.

As I said, when General Eric Shinseki (speaking of good soldiers) was ordered to lie before Congress, he refused and spoke the truth, and this testimony contradicted the horse manure Rumsfeld el al. had been peddling.

Powell knowingly lied that day in front of the UN, and no matter how much soul searching he does in his later years, it will be difficult for him to fully redeem his honor.

Had Powell put the country before his fucking personal ambition and told Bush what he really thought about the Iraq invasion, things may have been quite different.

As Katie Couric would say, not to belabor the point but, was it personal ambition? Maybe it was....maybe he thought, without me there, there will be no one to fight Rumsfeld.

And, I don't think the big problem with Powell is that he didn't warn us how difficult it was going to be - He said "you break it, you bought it." Woodward said he told the President: "You are going to be the proud owner of 25 million people. You will own all their hopes, aspirations, and problems. You'll own it all." I think we all have trouble with Powell's actions but I think he did predict difficulty.

I don't know if it would've been any different if he had stood up against it. I think there was too big a snowball going on but...maybe because he was a voice we looked to for credibility it would've been.

As far as grouping him with Sullivan, Hitchens and Matthews - I don't see it. They were know-nothing cheerleaders. I don't remember Matthews then but Hitchens's arguments were completely disingenuous - ignoring any inconvenient fact that didn't fit in with the side he wanted to portray and, as far as I can tell about Sullivan - all he cares about is himself - he didn't care if soldiers died - that was their job. (He said something about it back then but I can't find it.) I think his disenchantment with the Republican party had to do with their position against gays.

If Powell wanted respect from liberals he should have endorsed Kerry four years ago. Period.

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