Powell Backs Obama; Raises Right’s Ire

He may have worked for President Bush and has been friends with John McCain for over two decades, but Colin Powell lent his weight to Barack Obama this weekend, a move that’s garnering him plenty of criticism from the right.

Appearing on NBC’s Meet The Press yesterday, General Powell expressed his concern of McCain’s economic ignorance and ever-changing, negative campaign direction before diving into full blown Obama adoration. Describing the Democrat as a “transformational figure,” Powell went on to laud the Senator’s “steadiness,” “intellectual vigor” and “inclusiveness.”

Taken together, these characteristics make Obama the best choice for the presidency, said Powell:

…We’ve got two individuals, either one of them could be a good president. But which is the president that we need now? Which is the individual that serves the needs of the nation for the next period of time? And I come to the conclusion that because of his ability to inspire, because of the inclusive nature of his campaign, because he is reaching out all across America, because of who he is and his rhetorical abilities–and we have to take that into account–as well as his substance–he has both style and substance–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 into the world–onto the world stage, onto the American stage, and for that reason I’ll be voting for Senator Barack Obama.

Despite his support, Powell said he will not be campaigning for the Democratic candidate.

As news spread around the world, Powell suddenly – although not surprisingly – found himself assailed by a wide variety of inane – and insane – insults. Right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh sent out an email yesterday in which he attacked Powell’s claim that he didn’t pick Obama simply because he’s black. Wrote Limbaugh: “”Secretary Powell says his endorsement is not about race. OK, fine. I am now researching his past endorsements to see if I can find all the inexperienced, very liberal, white candidates he has endorsed. I’ll let you know what I come up with.” Limbaugh also painted Powell’s endorsement as a betrayal of Presidents Reagan and Bush, both of whom helped Powell rise in the army ranks: “I guess he also regrets Reagan and Bush making him a four-star [general] and secretary of state and appointing his son to head the FCC. Yes, let’s hear it for transformational figures.”

Meanwhile, Maine-based Republican activist Dan Billings also latched onto the “racist” angle and asserted “If Obama was a white man, Powell would not have made the endorsement.”

Here’s video of Powell’s remarks:

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  • Tom

    Of course, none of those idiots claiming that Powell’s endorsement is race-based talk about Powell’s criticisms of the direction the Republican Party. He clearly said he does not support the rightward direction of the Party and he further said that he sees McCain as nothing more than an extension of the failed Bush years. That, more than anything else, is why he endorsed Obama.

  • Steve D.

    “Limbaugh also painted Powell’s endorsement as a betrayal of Presidents Reagan and Bush”. What is the greater sin: betrayal of the political elite, or supporting whichever candidate you believe is best for America? And ‘old-boy’ networks, cronyism and nepotism have worked so well in FEMA and the Bush White House. They can’t have the ‘maverick’ and ‘outsider’ label and simultaneously berate Powell for ‘betraying’ the Republican dynasty.

  • ajax

    “Limbaugh also painted Powell’s endorsement as a betrayal of Presidents Reagan and Bush, both of whom helped Powell rise in the army ranks”…
    Because General Powell, an African-American, could not have risen based on his own acts or intelligence. He rose through the ranks becasue powerful white men helped.

    These right-wing nuts absolutely make me vomit. They give the Medal of Victory to war criminals and smear the actual heroes.

  • mark

    Buchanan fried his own career on Sunday’s HARDBALL going all racist. I wrote MSNBC to sh*t-can that Jurrasic filthy PIG, and I wrote Rachel telling her this queer doesn’t EVER want to see him again on her show.
    Someone needs to grab skanky ol’ Bay(the Buchanan with the better comb-over) by her thick ankles, swing her around and beat the tar out of Pat with her.

  • bobito

    “A betrayal of President Bush” – yeah, well, the current Bush administration didn’t do much for Powell’s reputation, either. His speech before the UN making the case for our aggression against Iraq back in 2003 has to be one of the most shameful moments of his life.


    Yeah like any American is going to take seriously anything Powell says after the weapons of mass destruction fiasco he spearheaded.

    He’s both a race first and American second hack and nothing but a sold out looking for some future positions with an Obama administration. Yet he has been appointed to all the positions he has been in by republicans.

  • emb

    It’s kinda funny how no one on the right had anything bad to say about Powell as long as he was playing the Good Black and carrying their pretend WMDs for ’em. Suddenly he gets all uppity in their faces and has an opinion that doesn’t conform to their sick, warped, sad and deluded worldview, and they’re breaking out the ropes.

    No doubt the Chicago Tribune, the LA Times, and Warren Buffet are all just black-lovin’ hacks too.

  • noah

    Yeah, I agree with EMB. When white Republican conservatives like the Chicago Tribune editorial board, Christopher Buckley, etc they are just traitors. But for Powell, his main reason has to be “race.”

    It’s just part of the same racist Rethugh reasoning.

    On this site, we have real racist like Church-nazi who admits his primary objection to Obama is racial. Church-nazi has no problem with the blatant homophobia of the GOP. He brushes it under the rug and dances on top of it, hoping to not get cut by the sharp shards of hate. Too late, his feet are bloody as are his hands.

  • Simba


  • Bill Perdue

    The Powell endorsement is the best example in weeks of how the partisanship of Democrats puts the movement at risk, but it’s still nothing compared to Obama chanting “gods in the mix”, Barney Frank gutting ENDA or Kennedy, Reid and Pelosi ditching the hate crimes bill.

    Becasue now Democrats are asking us to ‘respect’ a bigoted caricature of a man who told a Congressional hearing that those

    “who favor a homosexual life-style, and put them in with heterosexuals who would prefer not to have somebody of the same sex find them sexually attractive, put them in close proximity, ask them to share the most private of their facilities together, the bedroom, the barracks, latrines, the showers…”

    I should note that the military has never published one example of the abject terror straights must fear knowing that they’re being watched by GLBT folks. Not one report! But there have been reports of numerous incidents of beatings and harassment of GLBT service members and one, PFC Private First Class Barry Winchell, had his skull crushed by a thug empowered and emboldened by the Clinton-Powell-Nunn codification of bigotry commonly known as DADT.

    (Rent a copy of the movie Soldiers Girl if you haven’t seen it yet. It’s about a young soldier discovering his sexuality and his lover, an older transsexual, and the terrible price bigotry makes us pay for love. One reviewer describes this excellent flic a “story about lovers in a dangerous time…”)

    Colin Powel was, and still is, a nauseatingly oily and sleazy GI Joe poster child for Karl Roves brand of slick and divisive bigotry. Colin Powell is a war criminal and an apologist for war crimes. And has been for a long time. He was assistant chief of staff of the 23rd Infantry Division in Nam where he lied under oath and attempted to discredit the expert testimony of courageous GI’s like Tom Glen of the 11th Light Infantry Brigade who exposed the My Lai Massacre. Powell said:

    “In direct refutation of this portrayal is the fact that relations between American soldiers and the Vietnamese people are excellent.”

    How excellent can it be when you have to kill a few million people to save them from their own liberation?

  • seitan-on-a-stick

    I want to ask Churchill-y if he would oppose an African-American Republican candidate for President over a Caucasian Democrat?

    Also, when John McCain loses, lets not blame Sarah Palin but the wholly unpopular current Commander-In-Thief and Senator McCain’s voting with him 90% of the time.

    While a Powell endorsement of Obama helps him with White Swing Voters, Perdue is right about Colin Powell’s own War Crimes but he also cornered Clinton on DADT with the Republican-controlled Congress. In the ‘W’ movie, Colin Powell played by Jeffrey Wright was the “Voice of Reason” in the Bush White House!!

  • Bill Perdue

    Wrong again, seitan. I check and double check before I write something and while I have made a couple of errors, like saying that Obama voted for a version of NAFTA when he only spoke in favor of it, for the most part I carefully research what I say.

    But feel free to do your own research and tell me if I’m wrong.

    DADT, or Public Law No: 103-160 was passed in 1993 and signed by Clinton on 11 30 1993. Later, after, subsequent to that the Republicans took over congress as a result of the 1994 elections. They won 230 seats in the House and 54 in the Senate.

    Although Republican bigots supported the Clinton-Nunn bigot bill in ’93 they didn’t control Congress at the time. It was controlled by Democrat bigots, the ones who went on to overwhelmingly vote for DOMA, even though it was written by Gingrich, and more recently to gut ENDA and make the hate crimes bill ‘disappear’ after it’s passed both houses.

    And even if you were right, and you’re not, about the facts how would that excuse the pigheaded bigotry of Clinton, Nunn, Frank, Pelosi and the other bigots who run the party you support. And how would it excuse the “god’s in the mix” bigotry of Barak Obama.

  • Bill Perdue

    For anyone with an iron stomach, here’s the text of DADT, sponsored and signed by a bigot named W. J. Clinton and supported by his wife, another bigot named H. Clinton and by most members of Congress on both sides of the aisle and by Obama supporters Nunn and Powell.

    If they change their minds it’ll be for one reason only. Obama plans to enlarge and continue the war and they need cannon fodder.

    I have to warn you – this is sickening stuff.

    1) Section 8 of article I of the Constitution of the United States commits exclusively to the Congress the powers to raise and support armies, provide and maintain a Navy, and make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces.
    (2) There is no constitutional right to serve in the armed forces.
    (3) Pursuant to the powers conferred by section 8 of article I of the Constitution of the United States, it lies within the discretion of the Congress to establish qualifications for and conditions of service in the armed forces.
    (4) The primary purpose of the armed forces is to prepare for and to prevail in combat should the need arise.
    (5) The conduct of military operations requires members of the armed forces to make extraordinary sacrifices, including the ultimate sacrifice, in order to provide for the common defense.
    (6) Success in combat requires military units that are characterized by high morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion.
    (7) One of the most critical elements in combat capability is unit cohesion, that is, the bonds of trust among individual service members that make the combat effectiveness of a military unit greater than the sum of the combat effectiveness of the individual unit members.
    (8) Military life is fundamentally different from civilian life in that—
    (A) the extraordinary responsibilities of the armed forces, the unique conditions of military service, and the critical role of unit cohesion, require that the military community, while subject to civilian control, exist as a specialized society; and
    (B) the military society is characterized by its own laws, rules, customs, and traditions, including numerous restrictions on personal behavior, that would not be acceptable in civilian society.
    (9) The standards of conduct for members of the armed forces regulate a member’s life for 24 hours each day beginning at the moment the member enters military status and not ending until that person is discharged or otherwise separated from the armed forces.
    (10) Those standards of conduct, including the Uniform Code of Military Justice, apply to a member of the armed forces at all times that the member has a military status, whether the member is on base or off base, and whether the member is on duty or off duty.
    (11) The pervasive application of the standards of conduct is necessary because members of the armed forces must be ready at all times for worldwide deployment to a combat environment.
    (12) The worldwide deployment of United States military forces, the international responsibilities of the United States, and the potential for involvement of the armed forces in actual combat routinely make it necessary for members of the armed forces involuntarily to accept living conditions and working conditions that are often spartan, primitive, and characterized by forced intimacy with little or no privacy.
    (13) The prohibition against homosexual conduct is a longstanding element of military law that continues to be necessary in the unique circumstances of military service.
    (14) The armed forces must maintain personnel policies that exclude persons whose presence in the armed forces would create an unacceptable risk to the armed forces’ high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability.
    (15) The presence in the armed forces of persons who demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability.
    (b) Policy.— A member of the armed forces shall be separated from the armed forces under regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Defense if one or more of the following findings is made and approved in accordance with procedures set forth in such regulations:
    (1) That the member has engaged in, attempted to engage in, or solicited another to engage in a homosexual act or acts unless there are further findings, made and approved in accordance with procedures set forth in such regulations, that the member has demonstrated that—
    (A) such conduct is a departure from the member’s usual and customary behavior;
    (B) such conduct, under all the circumstances, is unlikely to recur;
    (C) such conduct was not accomplished by use of force, coercion, or intimidation;
    (D) under the particular circumstances of the case, the member’s continued presence in the armed forces is consistent with the interests of the armed forces in proper discipline, good order, and morale; and
    (E) the member does not have a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts.
    (2) That the member has stated that he or she is a homosexual or bisexual, or words to that effect, unless there is a further finding, made and approved in accordance with procedures set forth in the regulations, that the member has demonstrated that he or she is not a person who engages in, attempts to engage in, has a propensity to engage in, or intends to engage in homosexual acts.
    (3) That the member has married or attempted to marry a person known to be of the same biological sex.
    (c) Entry Standards and Documents.—
    (1) The Secretary of Defense shall ensure that the standards for enlistment and appointment of members of the armed forces reflect the policies set forth in subsection (b).
    (2) The documents used to effectuate the enlistment or appointment of a person as a member of the armed forces shall set forth the provisions of subsection (b).
    (d) Required Briefings.— The briefings that members of the armed forces receive upon entry into the armed forces and periodically thereafter under section 937 of this title (article 137 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice) shall include a detailed explanation of the applicable laws and regulations governing sexual conduct by members of the armed forces, including the policies prescribed under subsection (b).
    (e) Rule of Construction.— Nothing in subsection (b) shall be construed to require that a member of the armed forces be processed for separation from the armed forces when a determination is made in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Defense that—
    (1) the member engaged in conduct or made statements for the purpose of avoiding or terminating military service; and
    (2) separation of the member would not be in the best interest of the armed forces.
    (f) Definitions.— In this section:
    (1) The term “homosexual” means a person, regardless of sex, who engages in, attempts to engage in, has a propensity to engage in, or intends to engage in homosexual acts, and includes the terms “gay” and “lesbian”.
    (2) The term “bisexual” means a person who engages in, attempts to engage in, has a propensity to engage in, or intends to engage in homosexual and heterosexual acts.
    (3) The term “homosexual act” means—
    (A) any bodily contact, actively undertaken or passively permitted, between members of the same sex for the purpose of satisfying sexual desires; and
    (B) any bodily contact which a reasonable person would understand to demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in an act described in subparagraph (A).

  • Mr C


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