Colin Powell has for a long time struck us as a mushy moderate, David Gergen type, and not much of a deep thinker on most issues, way too concerned about what the “world community” (i.e. pacifist, welfare statist Europe) thinks, and his comments today did nothing to change that assessment. We won’t dwell on his endorsement of Obama, which is really not a surprise at all.
First, a bit of positive – in Powell’s area of expertise, which is military matters, he remains stalwart on the liberation of Iraq, to his credit:
I’m well aware of the role I played. My role has been very, very straightforward. I wanted to avoid a war. The president agreed with me. We tried to do that. We couldn’t get it through the U.N. and when the president made the decision, I supported that decision. And I’ve never blinked from that. I’ve never said I didn’t support a decision to go to war.
And the war looked great until the 9th of April, when the statue fell, everybody thought it was terrific. And it was terrific. The troops had done a great job. But then we failed to understand that the war really was not over, that a new phase of the war was beginning. And we weren’t ready for it and we didn’t respond to it well enough, and things went very, very — very, very south, very bad.
And now it’s starting to turn around through the work of Gen. Petraeus and the troops, through the work of the Iraqi government, through our diplomatic efforts, and I hope now that this war will be brought to an end, at least as far as American involvement is concerned, and the Iraqis are going to have to be responsible for their own security and for their own political future. …
How Powell squares that view with Obama’s opposition to the successful surge, and his desire to pull out regardless of conditions on the ground, Powell didn’t say.
But when you get outside of national security matters, Powell seems to understand things less than, say, Joe the plumber:
Taxes are always a redistribution of money. Most of the taxes that are redistributed go back to those who paid them, in roads and airports and hospitals and schools. And taxes are necessary for the common good. And there is nothing wrong with examining what our tax structure is or who should be paying more, who should be paying less. And for us to say that that makes you a socialist, I think is an unfortunate characterization that isn’t accurate.
Of course taxes are necessary, and of course John McCain has never said nor implied otherwise. But to suggest that “all taxation is redistribution” is just asinine. It should be obvious to anyone, even to Colin Powell, that paying to build a road in no way compares to Obama’s plan to take money away from some Americans to send unearned checks to other Americans (for the purpose of buying their votes).
(It would have been nice to hear a good follow-up question for Powell, to ask him how much “the rich” now pay, in order to gauge his understanding of the issue. Answer: “The rich”, i.e. the top 5% of earners in America, pay 60 percent of all federal income taxes. It would be really nice if someone asked Barack Obama or Joe Biden, or Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid for that matter, that question. But which reporter would want to put their guys on the spot?)
And to focus on people like Mr. Ayers and these trivial issues, for the purpose of suggesting that somehow Mr. Obama would have some kind of terrorist inclinations, I thought that was over the top.
And to sort of throw in this little Muslim connection, you know, “He’s a Muslim and, my goodness, he’s a terrorist” — it was taking root. And we can’t judge our people and we can’t hold our elections on that kind of basis.
But no one in the McCain campaign, certainly not John McCain or Sarah Palin, has said nor implied that Obama is a terrorist or has terrorist inclinations, or that he’s a Muslim. Barack Obama has a long and consistent pattern of allying himself with far left, radical individuals and groups. Of course that’s relevant to the campaign. Of course the DeMSM would be all over it, non-stop, if John McCain had similar associations with any far-right equivalents of Ayers, Wright, Khalidi, etc.
And notice that Powell didn’t show any discomfort with all the “negativity” coming from the Obama campaign and his allies in the press. In what moral universe is it worse to point out Obama’s ties to a parade of radicals, which are true, than to compare John McCain to George Wallace, which is nothing but a despicable slander of the lowest kind? And how in the world does Powell think Obama is going to bring Americans together again by accusing anyone of racism who dares to criticize him?