Sunday, October 19, 2008

Wheat From Chaff

This is perhaps a waste of time and effort for what it's worth, but it's the big news story of the day, so here goes.

Colin Powell's endorsement of Obama is perhaps the most absurd of the season so far. Much like the Chicago Tribune endorsement Friday, Powell went through a litany of reasons why he's backing Obama, none of which really make sense.

The left is in full celebration of the man they formerly blamed for not speaking enough truth to power. It's a faux cheer of course--they are really cheering the backstab. If Powell were the GOP nominee he would have received the Rice, Thomas treatment from these quacks long ago, regardless of any unity message.

Actually, Powell is bit like Obama as a speaker. He has a syrupy smooth and soothing speaking style that tends to lull the viewer, but beauty is truth. His allegations that the GOP is moving further right are laughable considering their nominee this year. And even if, what kind of conservative eschews his principles for a man who is arguably further left than George McGovern? A man who's looking primarily at race, status, and job opportunities perhaps?

For instance, he didn't talk much about Obama's lack of expertise in military affairs or how he might handle Iraq or fight terrorists, despite Obama's promises. He did fantasize about a future president Obama reaching out to "all towns, not just small towns" in bringing together America, a slap at Palin. Now, whether that includes plumbers or those clinging to church and guns wasn't covered, nor was Obama's wind-swept history of reaching across aisles.

The general then brushed off Obama's dabblings with a confessed traitor much better than Obama ever has, insinuating such past associations are silly and meaningless and perhaps even racist. This despite Obama forgetting to mention that he shared an office with Ayers in Chicago during his Annenberg Challenge period, something That One ™ completely ignored when asked during debates.

Too bad Brokaw didn't ask Powell whether such meaningless associations would disqualify Obama from getting a top secret security clearance if he were applying for a federal job (which also requires college transcripts). But he speaks so well!

As to Barack governing from the middle, it's certainly nice to envision such a thing (and we should all "hope" he does) but reality could be far different. If Barack rides into DC with a mandate and filibuster-proof Senate he'll have no reason to govern from anywhere but the left. And that's really what this "change" is all about.

The anecdote about the Muslim soldier who gave his life was seriously touching and wonderful, but he was using it as a political hammer. Bush was the one who coined the phrase "religion of peace" and McCain has never talked down people's faith like Obama has. McCain didn't deny sitting in a racist church whose pastor blamed guys like Powell for America's roosting chickens. In reality his allegations are a classic strawman -- that unnamed GOP leaders who are racist and xenophobic -- designed to topple over Mac's head at the last minute.

So the final nail has been nailed, the knife of revenge turned. The man who's been angling for it since Armitage dropped Plame's name to Novak has finally spoken, and spoken well. Shall we forget he once endorsed his friend Dick Cheney for VP or have his neocon warmongering ways now been forgiven? Perhaps we'll find out when the cabinet picks are announced.

MORE 10/20/08

It's hard to make this stuff up:
Colin Powell will have a role as a top presidential adviser in an Obama administration, the Democratic White House hopeful said today.

"He will have a role as one of my advisers," Barack Obama said on NBC's "Today" in an interview aired today, a day after Powell, a four-star general and President Bush's former secretary of state, endorsed him
Let's see, Colin Powell once believed Saddam was working with AQ. Colin Powell was in favor of taking out Saddam, a move Barack Obama believes was the "worst foreign policy mistake" we've ever made. I wonder, who's going to be advising whom?


Anonymous said...

John McCain is a Great Man.- Bill Clinton.
HONOR: President Clinton
VOTE: McCain

Anonymous said...

Powell's endorsement of Obama is just a case of one black man voting for another. I don't put any stock into it. It's just one man's opinion and shouldn't be given a lot of weight. I'm still voting for John McCain.

Anonymous said...

Typical racist reaction, "one black man voting for another". Just because one cannot understand the reasons to support Obama (which are many according to the majority of the voting population), does not mean they do not make sense. It simply means you do not understand and should maybe ask questions rather than make ignorant conclusions.

mccrapley said...

Wow. So should we dismiss Bush's or Lieberman's support for McCain as "just a case of one [white] man voting for another"?

Listen to the merits of Powell's argument for Obama and take him at his word--because that's all an endorsement is: a person placing faith in another on the merit of his word.

Powell laid out a pretty convincing argument against McCain and for Obama, not on the grounds of race, but on the grounds of experience and judgment.

Of McCain, Powell said:

"I found that he was a little unsure as to how to deal with the economic problems that we were having. And almost every day there was a different approach to the problem.

"I was also concerned at the selection of Governor Palin. She’s a very distinguished woman, and she’s to be admired, but at the same time, now that we have had a chance to watch her for some seven weeks, I don’t believe she’s ready to be President of the United States, which is the job of the Vice President.

And so that raised some question in my mind as to the judgment that Senator McCain made."

Of Obama, he said:

"I watched Mr. Obama, and I watched him during this 7-week period. And he displayed a steadiness, an intellectual curiosity, a depth of knowledge, and an approach to looking at problems like this and picking a Vice President that I think is ready to be president on day one, and also in, not just jumping in and changing every day, but show intellectual vigor. I think that he has a definitive way of doing business that would serve us well."

Also, Powell said something that follows a trend of commentary on the negative whisper campaigns going on in GOP circles: "I’m also troubled by…what members of the party say, and is permitted to be said, such things as, ‘Well you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim.’ Well, the correct answer is, 'He is not a Muslim, he’s a Christian, he’s always been a Christian.'

But the really right answer is, 'What if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country?'

The answer’s 'No, that’s not America.'

Is there something wrong with some 7-year-old Muslim American kid believing that he or she could be president? Yet I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion he’s a Muslim and he might be associated with terrorists. This is not the way we should be doing it in America."

These are very specific reasons that Powell lays out, and if you don't want to put any stock into his opinion, that's your right. But don't try to sell me the argument that Powell, who is a VERY decorated war veteran, the 16th National Security Advisor, the 12th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the 65th United States Secretary of State was taken in by ethnic pride.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to see Obama elected, it will be interesting how morally depraved our country will become after he is elected.

JohnRJ08 said...

This sounds like a truckload of sour grapes. If Powell had endorsed McCain, you'd be talking about what a great American he is, but he didn't so you attack him. Sadly typical of the Republican Party's current mindset. Powell's endorsement, in and of itself, isn't that powerful. But the fact that so many distinguished conservatives have walked away from McCain is. Powell joins George Will, Buckley, Brooks, Frum, Parker and a number of others who all feel exactly as he does about the McCain/Palin ticket. Republicans ignore this at the party's peril.

I was a Republican for most of my life, but I walked away from it when it tried to sabotage the Clinton administration. In that case, it wanted to impeach a president for lying in answer to a question that NEVER should have been asked in the first place. In the process, Clinton took his eye off the ball and didn't go after Bin Laden as aggressively as he should have.

The Republican Party needs to heal itself before it will ever get another chance to heal the nation.

A.C. McCloud said...


I laid out some reasons in the post that Powell's defense doesn't make perfect sense.

Specifically, he set up a straw man of unnamed GOP people who he claimed were being racist or overly fearful, then smacked it down. Who are these people? He won't say.

Ayers. Running education reform with a man who admires Hugo Chavez's reform is meaningless? I guess Powell doesn't follow the news.

And Obama did better on the financial crisis? Please. He did nothing, then urged the Congressional Black Caucus to vote for the bill to ensure passage AFTER McCain had moved to save himself from being blamed for the whole mess. The CBC was in on that ruse, too.

McCain had no choice. Had he not made an issue the bill wouldn't have passed; the stock market would have tanked anyway; and Obama would have blamed everything on him. But OK, that's better judgment.

He didn't even cover Iraq in depth. It's no wonder. Powell was one who believed that Saddam was working with AQ back when Barack was expressing his judgment not to go in. Iraq has dropped off the TV now that violence is down and Obama can't make a campaign issue of it anymore. Real good judgment on the surge, though, lol.

But I will agree with Powell that Barack talks a good game. Face it--Powell has been the poster soldier for RINO for years, surely ever since the Plame thing. It's doubtful he ever was much of a Repub--probably just said he was to advance in the DoD.

A.C. McCloud said...

This sounds like a truckload of sour grapes. If Powell had endorsed McCain, you'd be talking about what a great American he is, but he didn't so you attack him.

I respect and admire his service greatly but frankly haven't trusted him since the Plame thing. But speaking of hypotheticals, if he were the GOP nominee would you be supporting him? Are you supporting Obama?

Sadly typical of the Republican Party's current mindset. Powell's endorsement, in and of itself, isn't that powerful.

You're right. It's only powerful in the sense that lefties can use it to show how republicans are abandoning McCain, like you did in the following sentence.

There's no question the party is in disarray, in large part thanks to Bush. But also in large part thanks to a virulent left wing blogosphere and biased media who slant just about everything towards port.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
I can't wait to see Obama elected, it will be interesting how morally depraved our country will become after he is elected.

It can't get any worse that it has under 8 years of Bush

Anonymous said...

I think Powell backing Obama just got McCain all the military vote. Powell was a "political guy in the Military" - the military did not respect the man as they knew he was sucking up the credit for what Norman S was doing.

And surprise - surprise - a black guy switching parties to vote for a black guy. I am soooooooo shocked... couldn't see that one coming. If anything - this just convinces me to make SURE all of my family and friends get to the polls. No way in this world I want the black caucus running our country - they make decisions for tooooo small of a group of people... not even for all the blacks in this country.

Besides - there was a time Powell could have received the nomination and he refused to run - I am still curious about what skelton he has in his closet that he his afraid people are going to find out. The dirt will come to light if he runs.

Howard said...

Powell's endorsement of Obama does not verify Obama's judgement, but rather brings Powell's judgement into question. Powell says that Obama is ready to lead ... WHY? ... Regardless of Powell's last minute endorsement, Obama is still the most liberal senator in congress ... who accomplished nothing in his meager 3 years in office, except voting present 160 times, and campaigning for President, as well as associating with anti-American racists and domestic terrorists ... and, taking America down the road to socialism. Obama betrayed a friendship of 20 years, for personal ambition. Powell betrayed his friendship with McCain. McCain did not betray his fellow prisoners, even during 5 years of torture. These facts speak volumes about who these men really are, and whether or not we can trust them.

Anonymous said...

what is it with you idiots and your damning of a man for being able to put sentences together in a cogent manner? Since when is that a detriment? Oh, i forgot, it's not YOUR candidate so eloquence becomes a negative in your bizarro-gotta-save-face world. Give me a break. Grow up and find actual reasons to damn someone. If he had come out for McCain, there's no way in hell you would have made such a dumbass statement.

gmillington said...

I think the response of General Powell's Endorsement of Sen. Obama as, "Just a Black man voting for another one" is truly what's wrong with this country.

The fact that given all of his accomplishments, 4 star General, former National security Advisor, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff & Secretary of State, that you regard him as "Just another Black man" says a lot.

He could do everything from curing cancer to saving the world from an impending asteroid, in your eyes, all you see is his race. God Bless America and especially You!

Anonymous said...

I have to tell you that reading the comments from posts on this site and others has made me very sad. I’m not sure if I’m just now realizing it or if our condition in America has always been so bitter and so very contentious. I fear for your future, not because of our next President but because of our people. Just because I decide to vote for one person or the other doesn’t give you the right to attack me or give you the right to make judgments about things that you know little or nothing about.

Mr. Powell is a man and has the right to vote as he chooses as all of us do. Maybe we should use that information to look at our selection instead of attacking his. If you are comfortable with your pick then why does it matter what he has chosen? He has paid the price for the life he has lived. The same as you have paid the price for the life you have chosen. It would never occur to me to judge you and your history no matter who you are.

Stop all the negativity and vote for your best choose according to how you see it. That is how we were founded and that is how it should be in a free country like ours. The best country in the World and yet we spend so much time and resources looking to destroy each other on one level or another. So sad.

mccrapley said...

A.C. McCloud,

First of all, Powell wasn’t asked in that interview to name GOP people who he claimed were being racist or overly fearful, so the argument that he won’t say something because he didn’t say something is a fallacy.

Now, you say that Ayer’s radical education reform ideas somehow taint Obama’s philosophy toward education reform because they served on the same board. Having read Obama’s education plan, my assessment of Obama’s education plan is that it’s progressive, but I doubt anyone would be able to legitimately call it radical. Since you levied the accusation, the burden of proof is on you.

All things considered, Obama’s work on education reform under the guiding hand of Annenberg—a philanthropist, ambassador for Reagan, and fund raiser for McCain—is something that should be praised. The fact that Ayers independently served the board really wasn’t Obama’s responsibility. Each member of that challenge came to it with an individual mindset. Obama didn’t vet Ayers, and I don’t expect anyone to stop working for a charitable organization because s/he doesn’t agree with the philosophies of each of its members. I don’t agree with all of your statements, but that doesn’t mean we can’t discuss politics agreeably. Should neither of us volunteer for Salvation Army, because it has been known to accept former convicts as volunteers? Of course not.

The truth is, if we follow the same McCarthyite logic that McCain offers for why Obama’s associations are troubling, then I’m left wondering why should I, in good faith, vote for Sen. McCain, who has an ongoing friendship with G. Gordon Liddy? Liddy served four and a half years in prison for his role in the Watergate burglary, and he never served time for plotting to kill journalist Jack Anderson. Liddy is a man who wrote in a book that his first political hero was Hitler (let’s give credit where it’s due: he renounced Hitler later in his life). Liddy is a man who told listeners on his radio show to shoot law enforcement officers in the head if gun laws change and officers are required to disarm them. The latter statement was post rehab, I’d like to note.

If we allow the logic of McCain’s guilt-by-association argument against Obama, then I suppose we would decide that McCain agrees with the late Strom Thurmond’s principles on segregation because they served on the same senate committee.

Look, associations don’t necessarily matter in politics. What a person does in politics matters.

I don’t care whom McCain was “pallin’ around” with in 1993 and 1994, but I know that I strongly disagree with his votes in 1993 and 1994 against bills that were intended to increase penalties on domestic terrorism against abortion clinics.

I wouldn’t especially care that Palin is married to a former member of an Alaskan secessionist group, except the Branchflower report recently demonstrated that Todd Palin had unusual and ethically objectionable access to her governmental staff and files. I care that she was friendly enough with the organization to send a video message to their annual convention in 2007, and I care that she could be a heartbeat away from the presidency less than a year from today.

I don’t care that McCain had a relationship with Charles Keating, but I do care that McCain could soon be in a position to steer the future of our economy after the poor judgment he showed in the Keatings Savings and Loan scandal, when he and four other prominent men worked on Keating’s behalf to distract regulators from the white collar crime occurring within Keating’s company. I care about actions, because actions speak volumes more about the way a person would govern than do associations.

Obama’s been in the public eye as a senator for over 10 years now. If he had a radical agenda, I think Illinois would have something to say about it, and I don’t think Colin Powell and Warren Buffet would endorse him if such an agenda were the case.

I suspect we may not agree on the bailout bill. I understand the viewpoint that maybe it would have been better to let the market correct itself, but in that scenario, the lower and middle class would have been disproportionately affected by that outcome while the heads of companies like Lehman Bros and AIG would have left with golden parachutes intact. I think we’d be looking at a much worse mess in terms of foreclosures, a major credit freeze, and even more significant job loss than what we already have if some attempt at establishing market confidence weren’t undertaken by the government. So, history will show us which path was correct with respect to the bailout.

Obama showed steady and clear leadership on the bailout, while McCain turned his campaign into a sideshow of political spin. Obama calmly laid out core principles for the type of bill he would support, and he stuck to those principles throughout negotiations. He was and has been calm and straightforward in his temperament to the crisis, and he’s put out bipartisan measures in his economic plan to stabilize the economic situation for the middle class, including eliminating the capital gains tax. If you remember correctly, this was one of the tenets for passage of the bailout bill that was pushed for by the GOP (it didn’t make it to the final bill).

What I saw from McCain was a lame publicity stunt of quasi-halting his campaign to go to Washington, whereupon we saw a breakdown of negotiations. I say it was a publicity stunt because meanwhile, his campaign continued to run ads and fundraise, and his surrogates remained on the trail (including Palin). I say it was a publicity stunt because the first thing he did after halting his campaign was film an interview with Couric about halting his campaign. I say it was a publicity stunt because prior to announcing his “campaign suspension,” he was on the set of Rachel Rae making veal piccata.

The next day, news reports of negotiations at the White House showed McCain rarely offering suggestions, while the same reports showed Obama probing backers of the proposed bill with questions. I think that’s a good example of the intellectual curiosity of Obama and the narrowness shown by McCain’s campaign to which Powell was partly alluding to.

“He didn't even cover Iraq in depth. It's no wonder. Powell was one who believed that Saddam was working with AQ back when Barack was expressing his judgment not to go in. Iraq has dropped off the TV now that violence is down and Obama can't make a campaign issue of it anymore. Real good judgment on the surge, though, lol. “

Also, as a front page editor for an online newspaper, I can tell you that one of the reasons Iraq isn’t on the front page lately is that reports of violence in Iraq, while still quite frequent, remain episodic, and we like to reports trends, mainly. The trend we’re seeing now is that the improvements are very fragile and appear to be the results not merely of the troop increase but primarily of the Anbar Awakening (a situation that, by the way, resulted because our commanders were willing to sit down with some of the people we considered enemies and realign our—and their—perceptions of the war.)

Last point I’d like to make: I suspect Powell’s socially more liberal than many neo-cons, but that’s not the only definition of Republican. I will say that if when we create an environment wherein it’s acceptable to vet intelligent professionals according to their party affiliation as part of the process of advancement in our nation’s highest departments, we weed out a lot of highly intelligent people.

A.C. McCloud said...

McCrapley said:

Look, associations don’t necessarily matter in politics. What a person does in politics matters.

Obama has locked down his State Senate records. He's locked down his university records. He's spent most of his US Senate term running for Prez.

Where else are we supposed to look for what trips this man's trigger? His associations are all we have, and right now they seem to be largely with hard leftists.

It's not just Ayers alone. It's Obama's composite associations--mainly with hard left or radical figures--that gives some people a picture they don't like.

Think of it this way. McCain being friendly with David Duke (Ayers, Klonsky); going to Rev Hagee's church for 20 years (Wright); working on a board who's goal was to educate children about creationism, giving money to those who showed improvement.

The left's bogie men are not seen as bogie men by the left.

mccrapley said...

Obama doesn't have the ability to "lock down" his state senate records, because release of these records is governed by the Freedom of Information Act. Whether or not a request for information is denied isn't up to him, but I'd like to mentioned that Obama voted to establish an appeals process for denied requests. And actually, if you look at Obama's record, you'd see that he has made a habit of disclosing more than is required, including his bundlers, earmarks, tax returns, and legal clients.

University records--this I don't know much about, so I'll say this: I haven't sifted through the candidate's records, but I do know that Obama was president of the Harvard Law Review, whereas McCain was 5th from the bottom of his class at U.S. Naval Academy.

Obama spent part of his term running for president, but he was a state senator for 8 years prior to entering the U.S. Senate. Prior to that, he worked as an associate attorney at Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland and as a senior lecturer in constitutional law at University of Chicago Law School from 1993 - 2004. From 1983 - 1992 he worked as a community organizer and as the Director of Developing Communities Project. There's a lot of experience to draw from. He has a fairly extensive background, so if you want to look for what trips the man's trigger, there are plenty of places to look, but I think what you'll find is an exceptionally intelligent individual with a pragmatic approach to politics.

You say associations are all we have to go on. I say we've been through one McCarthy Era, and I'm not hungry for seconds, so let's get off the associations bandwagon. The Left and the Right inherently have their extremes, and I tend to find both extremes rather ugly. We find evidence of associations with both extremes on either side. I don't, however, think Hagee and Wright are comparable. Hagee interpreted the holocaust as the will of God for Jews who didn't heed the Zionist call. Wright, on the other hand, was maligned for the content of the now infamous "God Damn America" sermon, but if you and I were to sit down together and go over the speech, we'd probably agree that, really, the most negative thing you can say about the speech is that it uses a few lines of over-the-top rhetoric as part of a longer and legitimate criticism of the actions of our government. The "God damn America" part was not intended to be taken literally. It was a turning of the phrase of the dialed-up, empty "God bless America" rhetoric, which, Wright argued, was a premature pat on the back we were giving ourselves while our government was/is doing some very unChristian things abroad. Basically, I agree, and I want my countrymen and countrywomen to be able to criticize their government without being labeled unpatriotic. We all love our country, and we have a duty to say, at times bluntly and loudly, that we don't like the direction it is taking.

Here's a part from Wright's sermon that does just that: "We can see clearly the confusion in the mind of a few Muslims, and please notice I did not say all Muslims, I said a few Muslims, who see Allah as condoning killing and killing any and all who don't believe what they don't believe. They call it jihad. We can see clearly the confusion in their minds, but we cannot see clearly what it is that we do. We call it crusade when we turn right around and say that our God condones the killing of innocent civilians as a necessary means to an end. WE say that God understands collateral damage. We say that God knows how to forgive friendly fire.

"... we believe that God approves of 6 percent of the people on the face of this earth controlling all of the wealth on the face of this earth while the other 94 percent live in poverty and squalor while we give millions of tax breaks to the white rich.

"This government lied about their belief that all men were created equal. The truth is they believed that all white men were created equal. The truth is they did not even believe that white women were created equal, in creation nor civilization. The government had to pass an amendment to the Constitution to get white women the vote. Then the government had to pass an equal rights amendment to get equal protection under the law for women.... The government lied in its founding documents and the government is still lying today. Governments lie."

The truth is, a lot of these criticisms are founded. Some of them, not so much (the thing about the engineering of HIV is wonky, I agree). Some of these criticisms might be viewed as divisive, but the reality is that our communities are often divided along the lines of race, and I expect it's time we start talking about it.

I take Obama's word that he didn't hear this particular speech, but it wouldn't matter to me if he did. He's intelligent enough to separate the wheat from the chaff, and I'll take Obama at his word when he says the divisive rhetoric doesn't overlap neatly with his personal philosophy. You have to remember that Barack's mother is white and so is the family that reared him, and you can tell from Obama's speech on race that he has an interesting perspective on some of the language in Wright's speeches.

The thing is, when we get into a conversation about damning associations, look where it takes us: I mentioned the Alaska Independence Party's relationship to Palin and McCain's relationship with Liddy, and you didn't respond. You mentioned Ayers again, and I frankly don't feel like responding to that anymore than I already have. We're spinning our wheels, so let's drop the pretense around associations and stick to the issues.

"The left's bogie men are not seen as bogie men by the left."

David Duke ran for president as a Dem and a Rep, by the way.

I respond to boogie men on a situation by situation basis, thank you. :)

Anonymous said...

Lou dobbs should run for president because for some reason he thinks he knows everything. Why is it that lou has to express his personal opinions. Bernard Shaw said it best,''The media should stay out of giving there personal opinions." Really Lou you should put your name in the box.

A.C. McCloud said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
A.C. McCloud said...


University records--this I don't know much about, so I'll say this: I haven't sifted through the candidate's records, but I do know that Obama was president of the Harvard Law Review, whereas McCain was 5th from the bottom of his class at U.S. Naval Academy.

LOL, you don't know much (or care much) about his academic records yet seem to know all the details about the rest of his background. And my goodness, McCain's ranking at Annapolis is significant but Obama's grades at either of his three colleges aren't? It's the Ayers factor, I guess.

According to today's LA Times hit piece on Palin's academic history John McCain "won over his classmates" while at the Academy. That's significant. We've heard nothing like that about Obama.

Not surprisingly the Times noted that nobody remembered Gov Palin in her 4 universities, yet didn't bother to remind their gentle readers that nobody seems to remember Obama when he was at Columbia. either. SSDD.

But it's all good, McCrapley. Go ahead and scribble a few more novellas in here if you like because it doesn't matter--Obama is going to win and you're going to get your taste of revenge. Do enjoy it.

4:58 PM