Sunday, May 24, 2009


The Powell Polictical Doctrine

Based on Sunday's Face The Nation, Barack vs. Dick. vs. Colin vs. Rush may be a Final Four better than the NCAAs

And, on another Sunday talk show, my old boss demonstrates that he is a bit more inclusive than either Limbaugh or Cheney:  
Powell also found a less likely ally in former House Speaker Newt Gingric, who said on "Meet the Press" that "I don't want to pick a fight with Dick Cheney, but the fact is, the Republican party has to be a broad party that appeals across the country," adding, "To be a national party, you have to have a big enough tent that you inevitably have fights inside the tent."

Pointing to President Ronald Reagan's at appealing to Democrats and independents as he carried 49 states in 1984, Gingrich 
– himself a potential 2012 contender for the party's presidential nomination – concluded, "I think Republicans are going to be very foolish if thy run around deciding that they're going to see how much they can purge us down to the smallest possible space."
For those wondering about Colin Powell (full Face The Nation clip right here) and party loyalty, here's an interesting anecdote. 

Because Powell had been a career military man, he never officially declared his party affiliation when he was national security adviser under Ronald Reagan and then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton.  After retiring from the service, he wrote the best-seller, My American Journey. There was a frenzy around the country when the book came out in 1995, with lines around the bookstores when he had signings.  Much of it was attached to the possibility that he might run for president: Now that he was a free man and could enter politics, would he enter the GOP primary?   

When these questions were dominating the media, what did several movement conservatives do?  Before Powell made any decision, conservatives launched a pre-emptive strike to keep him out of the race. Then-head of the Family Research Council Gary Bauer labeled him "Bill Clinton with ribbons."   At a November National Press Club press conference, the pile-on began:  Paul Weyrich called him too "risk-averse" to be president.  Frank Gaffney called him "too cautious."  Morton Blackwell pushed the line that Powell was getting attention because he was black (horrors!). 

The entire spectacle was fascinating that a handful of politcally-minded individuals -- none of whom had actually served in combat-- were labeling a popular decorated veteran, essentially, a coward.  

In any event, Powell ultimately didn't run -- reportedly because he didn't have his wife's blessing.  

Nonethelees, the following summer, Powell still came to '96 GOP candidate Bob Dole's aide and spoke -- for the first time -- at the GOP Convention, proudly started, "My fellow Americans, my fellow Republicans." He could have sat out that convention -- given how the so-called base treated him. Appearing at the convention was hardly going to sell him any more books.  

Four years later, he also addressed the 2000 convention. By then, of course, there was something of  a quid pro quo. It was basically understood that Bush was would name him secretary of state: He was providing Bush as much "adult" foreign policy cover as Dick Cheney was providing "gravitas" in the vice president's slot. 

Point is as much as Limbaugh or Cheney might want to call Colin Powell disloyal, he's been there for his presidents and his party.  While he's never backed down from his moderate beliefs on domestic issues (except for gays in the military), conservatives opened war on him 14 years ago. 

Good for him for demanding a a place at the table of his party -- whether it wants him or not.  

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