Commentary Magazine


Re: Re: Powell’s Endorsement

Colin Powell struck a disingenuous note with his concern about the increasing nastiness of the GOP, and its effect on his endorsement. Powell said he has

heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion [that Obama's] a Muslim and might be associated with terrorists. This is not the way we should be doing it in America. I feel strongly about this particular point. We have got to stop polarizing ourselves in this way.

He also said, “and John McCain is as non-discriminatory as anyone I know. But I’m troubled about the fact that within the party, we have these kinds of expressions.”

Why the “but”? If you believe that a) John McCain is a paragon of inclusiveness, and b) the GOP is losing its moral standing to polarization and prejudice, then you would logically c) want McCain to steer the party back on course — not abandon it to the influences you’ve cited as disturbing.

And does Powell really think the Democrats are less polarizing? I don’t know who his anonymous Republican big shots are, but I certainly can attach names to the divisive smears that have come from senior members of the party Powell will be voting for next month. Nancy Pelosi has called the president “an incompetent leader,” a “man with no judgment” and a “liar.” She’s called the Republican Party “immoral” and “corrupt,” all the while diminishing the accomplishments of U.S. troops, and crediting the success of the surge to “Iranian goodwill.” If a Republican of her stature spoke this way, he’d be drummed out of public service.

It was Hillary Clinton who was brave enough to say Barack Obama is not a Muslim “as far as I know.” It was Charles Schumer who said in 2006 that letting an Arab company manage a handful of U.S. ports was “a homeland security accident waiting to happen.” It was none other than Senator Barack Obama who complained, “[N]ow we’re allowing our port security to be outsourced to foreign governments,” when in fact the majority of American ports were already run by foreign (non-Arab) companies. Whereas John McCain said, “We’ve got some very, very big issues that I think are perhaps more important than whether a country that’s freer than China should have control of some of our terminals.”

And if I start in on the anti-Semitism expressed by Democrats, you’ll still be reading this when you should be out voting. Powell is entitled both to his anonymous hate-mongers and his indifference to John McCain’s record as a uniter. But if he’s simply done with the GOP, he should say so.