General Colin Powell, the African American former Secretary of State famous for winning the First Gulf War as Chief of the Amy and, later, for being duped by Dick Cheney and George Bush to convince the world that Iraq was harboring illegal weapons of mass destruction, oft considered to be a presidential candidate, running mate, or some other important thing, has endorsed a candidate for the presidency of the United States of America.

This is a man who knows George Bush and worked for years in Republican Administrations. He is a man people listen to. He is a man most believe does not play politics, preferring instead to strive to do the right thing.

And, of course, he’s gone ahead and endorsed Barack Obama.

From the BBC:

This is not a decision Colin Powell has taken lightly, our correspondent says.

He has spoken to both Mr McCain and Mr Obama regularly and watched carefully and he has concluded, he says, that Barack Obama has the style and substance to lead America in the future.

But it is perhaps the sharp criticism of the recent conduct of John McCain’s campaign, for being too negative and too narrow, that will do most damage to the Republican candidate, our correspondent adds.

That approach, Mr Powell said, is not what the American people are looking for.

‘Electrifying’ choice

“I think he [Barack Obama] would be a transformational president,” Mr Powell told NBC’s Meet The Press.

An Obama victory would should “not just electrify our country, it would electrify the world”, he said.

Mr Obama was better suited to handle America’s economy, the former secretary of state said.

“In the case of Mr McCain… you got the sense that he didn’t have a complete grasp of the economic problems that we had,” he argued.

Mr Powell was also “concerned” at the selection of Governor Sarah Palin” for running mate believing her not ready for the White House.


  1. #1 Ghost of Minnesota
    October 19, 2008

    Accusations of treason in 3… 2… 1…

  2. #2 llewelly
    October 19, 2008

    More evidence Obama is really center-right, and not left at all.

  3. #3 John
    October 19, 2008

    Nah, more evidence that Colin Powell has at least a minimum of critical thinking skills and an ounce of self-preservation given the way things have been going.

    Either that, or he’s thinking back to the time when Republicans decided it was better to spectacularly abort his career to add a little icing to the Iraq cake instead of maintaining a powerful and respected figurehead that took decades to cultivate.

    But no matter what, it’s all going to be “Republican” for backing up a “brother”. No excuse is easier to the idiots, so they’ll pivot off of racism.

  4. #4 Mike Haubrich, FCD
    October 19, 2008

    Llewely, as a progressive I have waken up to the fact that I am never likely to see a U.S. preznit who will be as liberal as I am. It’s down to two people, and that is the way the American political landscape is laid out.

    Don’t think that this means I am giving up on the idea of pushing the Democratic to the left (where it is often accused of being,) nay, in fact I am engaged in it. Heavily.

  5. #5 SkepticalPoet
    October 19, 2008

    The agent of change is endorsed by the Neocon’s most effective weapon of mass deception. Speaks volumes to how limited and cynical the differences are between Republicans and Democrats. Powell wasn’t duped. He knew the evidence was weak.

  6. #6 Stephanie Z
    October 19, 2008

    On the other hand, SkepticalPoet, it could just speak volumes to the horridness of the agent of expediency. You do know that cynicism is also a tool of the neocons, don’t you?

  7. #7 SkepticalPoet
    October 20, 2008

    Don’t confuse realism with cynicism StephanieZ. I do think there’s a legitimate case to be made for picking the lesser of two evils in swing states, but as Chomsky notes one should do so without any illusions.

  8. #8 Greg Laden
    October 20, 2008

    Who in pragmatic politics needs Chomsky to tell us about illusions?

    And, I do not buy into the myth (you can tell, because I tend to CALL it a myth … that’s a clue) that the Republicans and the Democrats are the same. People who say that have not been to a DNC/DP or DFL (or any kind of Democratic Party) function in which policy and platform is worked out. The parties are in utter contrast on every single issue. How can they be the same yet be different in every possible way?

    Do the parties represent the whole possible range of options? Nope. But that is not the criterion for being different.

    The illusion that the parties are the same is the luxury of those who do not need to fight to not be crushed by the right if the left becomes too weak. The Libertarians living in the mountain forest and the academics living in the ivory tower. The rest of us actually have something at stake here.

  9. #9 Stephanie Z
    October 20, 2008

    SkepticalPoet, this is what I think of your “realism.”

  10. #10 SkepticalPoet
    October 20, 2008

    I do think there are Obama supporters out there with illusions Greg. But I agree that Democrats and Republicans are not the same. There are small differences that can have a real impact on people’s lives over time. But these differences reflect a narrow range of political views. One only needs to talk about the issues with someone in Europe to see how limited our political choices really are in the US.

    The policitcal compass puts all the US “mainstream candidates” (including Barr) in the authoritairn-right quadrant noting that they “occupy a relatively restricted area within the universal political spectrum.” I think that’s a pretty accurate picture of our environment.