Gen. Colin Powell endorsed Sen. Barack Obama today, based in large part on the extreme rightward shift in the Republican Party, which Powell has long been affiliated with. Powell also specifically said he is concerned about two more conservative appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court.
"I have some concerns about the direction the party has taken in recent years. It has moved more to the right than I would like to see it, but that’s a choice the party makes," Powell said.
Powell noted that he was concerned that while Gov. Sarah Palin is a distinguished person, that as we’ve watched her, "she is not ready to be President of the of United States and that is the job of the Vice-President." Powell noted that her selection speaks to McCain’s judgment and is cause for concern.
"The party has moved even further to the right and Gov. Palin has indicated and even further rightward shift. I would be concerned about two more conservative appointments to the Supreme Court, but that is what we would be looking at in a McCain-Palin administration," Powell said.
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"Over the last seven weeks the approach of the Republican Party and Mr. McCain has become narrower and narrower," Powell said, contrasting that to Obama who Powell said is bringing people together and "thinking about how all villages have values, all towns have values, not just small towns have values."
Powell specifically mentioned the distractions of issues like Bill Ayers that are trumped up, and the tactics of robo-calls, as making the Republicans and the McCain campaign seem narrow and out of touch.
Powell was most powerful, poignant and demonstrated what it really means to be “pro-America” in his discussion of a young Muslim-American soldier who gave his life serving his country, the United States.
It is a great day to be an American, in my humble opinion, when someone with the stature of Gen. Colin Powell sets party aside to take up principle, and does it with such strength and conviction. It is not because Powell is endorsing Barack Obama this is important, it is because Powell is repudiating a poisonous politics from the far-right that has threatened our democracy, manipulated people of faith with misinformation, and used tactics that have divided this nation.
A weekend that began with a leader of the extreme far-right, Rep. Michelle Bachmann, calling for investigations into "un-American activities" by liberals in Congress, ends with Gen. Colin Powell calling for an end to an era of McCarthy-like tactics pursued by the far-right. Powell even mentions Bachmann in his post-Meet the Press interview below.
It should be clear to everyone by now that the most extremist elements of the far-right are primarily concerned with social issues. The far-right’s self-proclaimed Culture War set neighbor against neighbor, denied science and refused to consider medical facts and proven public health strategies, stigmatized and damned fellow Americans because of who they are, how they worship, or the personal decisions they make.
Only a Republican could have said what Powell did so clearly and with such moral strength. Many conservatives have preceded him in voicing their concern for the extremism within their own party. Perhaps the Republican party will find its way back to its roots after being held hostage by the extreme far-right social conservatives whose narrow judgment has done more harm to our politics and democracy than any terrorist possibly could. Whereas the tragedy of 9-11 brought us together as a nation, the far-right’s tactics continue to tear us apart. Once the world stood with us, but as a result of neo-conservative foreign policy and health and social policies based more ideology than medical facts, far-right tactics have squandered the good will America had in the wake of 9-11.
This election is no longer simply about any candidate or political party, it is about what every election should be about, America, and where we as a nation are going. The choice we make, to follow the path of religious extremism promoted by the far-right we are currently on, or to remember who we are as a nation of many faiths, is ours to make. Gen Colin Powell demonstrated today what a real American hero and patriotism is all about, not with his endorsement, but with his concern for the direction of the country expressed passionately, regardless of party, faith, or candidate.