Monday, October 20, 2008

The Powell Effect

In his unambiguous endorsement of Barack Obama on "Meet The Press" this morning, former Secretary of State Colin Powell utilized one of the major tenets of the Powell Doctrine: overwhelming force. This wartime edict, employed by Gen. Powell in the first Gulf War, is meant to assure the demolition or capitulation of one's enemy. In a seven-minute torrent of clear, concise and blunt language, Powell used his eponymous principle to divorce himself from his party and the tactics of the campaign run by his longtime friend and Republican nominee, Sen. John McCain.

On McCain's handling of the economic crisis: "He was a little unsure as to how to deal with the economic problems that we were having, and almost every day there was a different approach to the problem.... He didn't have a complete grasp of the economic problems that we had."

On the selection of Gov. Sarah Palin as McCain's running mate: "I don't believe she's ready to be president of the United States, which is the job of vice president... that raised some question in mind as to the judgment that Sen. McCain made."

On the McCain-Palin focus on William Ayers: "I think this goes too far, and I think it has made the McCain campaign look a little narrow. It's not what the American people are looking for."

On some senior Republican Party members who "drop the suggestion that [Obama] is a Muslim and he might be associated with terrorists": "What if he is [a Muslim]? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer is no, that's not America." And then he eloquently told the story of Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan.
On the direction of the Republican Party: "It has moved more to the right than I would like to see it." "Over the last seven weeks, the approach of the Republican Party and Mr. McCain has become narrower and narrower."

On the Supreme Court: "I would have difficulty with two more conservative appointments to the Supreme Court, but that's what we'd be looking at in a McCain administration."

Yes, Powell had many nice things to say about Obama: "He has met the standard of being a successful president, being an exceptional president. I think he is a transformational figure, he is a new generation coming onto the world stage, onto the American stage." But Powell's full-throated endorsement gave a loud-and-clear voice to the murmurings of disappointment with the Grand Old Party, the McCain campaign and McCain himself.

By Jonathan Capehart | October 19, 2008; 5:00 PM ET

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