This is why I always liked you, General

>> Sunday, October 19, 2008

From "Powell endorses Obama for president" at

[Former Secretary of State, National Security Advisor and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin] Powell also said he was "troubled" by Republican personal attacks on Obama, especially false intimations that Obama was Muslim and Republicans' recent focus on Obama’s alleged connections to William Ayers, the founder of the radical ’60 Weather Underground.

Stressing that Obama was a lifelong Christian, Powell denounced Republican tactics that he said were insulting not only to to Obama but also to Muslims.

"The really right answer is what if he is?" Powell said, praising the contributions of millions of Muslim citizens to American society. [emphasis added]

Thank you, General. Why this hasn't been the number one response by every right-thinking, sound-minded American of every party and none, Obama loyalist or McCain supporter, regardless of creed or color, goes to show how much more this melting pot of ours still needs to be stirred and set to simmer before our actions come within more than spitting distance of the ideals we've set ourselves.

Among the many crimes of the present administration that are beyond prosecution is this: that they took this good, honorable and intelligent man and wasted and abused him. Here's to the hope General Powell gets a third act in American politics.

EDIT 2008-10-19:It seems Janiece has even more reason to add him to her celebrity boyfriend list--the MSNBC article doesn't even have the best lines on the subject in the quote I used above, which I didn't realize until I saw Glenn Greenwald's blog this afternoon.

Here's General Powell's full statement about the "Obama is a Muslim" meme:

I'm also troubled by, not what Senator McCain says, but what members of the party say. And it 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 seven-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 terrorists." This is not the way we should be doing it in America.

I feel strongly about this particular point because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was a photo essay about troops who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery, and she had her head on the headstone of her son's grave. And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone. And it gave his awards--Purple Heart, Bronze Star--showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, date of death. He was 20 years old. And then, at the very top of the headstone, it didn't have a Christian cross, it didn't have the Star of David, it had crescent and a star of the Islamic faith. And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, and he was an American. He was born in New Jersey. He was 14 years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he can go serve his country, and he gave his life. Now, we have got to stop polarizing ourself in this way. And John McCain is as nondiscriminatory as anyone I know. But I'm troubled about the fact that, within the party, we have these kinds of expressions.

Thank you, General. Thank you.

The full transcript of the Powell interview is here


Janiece Murphy Sunday, October 19, 2008 at 3:31:00 PM EDT  

Colin Powell is so on my celebrity boyfriend list now.

Anonymous,  Sunday, October 19, 2008 at 7:29:00 PM EDT  

Dear Liberal Friends,

May you not forget that Mr. Powell also endorsed George W. Bush TWICE!

Are you suddenly of the belief that he is NOW a good judge of character?

Just Curious.

This endorsement is as significant to me as what my neighbor's shoe size is.

Eric Sunday, October 19, 2008 at 8:17:00 PM EDT  

And your point, anonymous, is...?

I mean, I know what my point is: my point is that General Powell said what people should have said for months now: that even if Barack Obama was a Muslim, so the hell what? Senator McCain's response to a heckler who said Senator Obama was words to the effect of, "No, he's a good, decent family man," as if the opposite of Muslim is "family man."

Sure, Powell was wrong about Bush. Big. Freaking. Whoop. Has nothing to do with the topic at hand, thanks.

Although... hold on... maybe I missed your point:

Maybe you're a bigot, who's agreeing with the McCain supporters who have an issue with Muslims, and you're saying Powell's comments that in favor of Cpl. Kareem Khan show a lack of judgment, in which case, screw you, buddy.

Or maybe you're a McCain opponent, taking issue with Powell's comment, "John McCain is as nondiscriminatory as anyone I know." In which case, not that there are many McCain supporters around here, but I think this was the wrong post to comment on, since we're not exactly bashing McCain in this one (more his campaign).

But my guess is that you thought this was squee over Powell endorsing Obama, which is something I think is nice, but frankly less cool than Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel doing a joint event for Obama last week. But if that's what you thought, that this was glee over the endorsement, maybe you should re-read the quotes and my own comments, because, um, you missed it. Totally.

leanright,  Sunday, October 19, 2008 at 10:10:00 PM EDT  

I can't say I completely disagree with "anonymous". (I know, you're surprised).

I think in good faith, though, McCain stated that Obama was a good, family man, simply to defuse the crowd. You could look at is in that manner if you wish, but off the cuff, I think McCain actually has a lot of respect for Obama, and vice-versa. There has been plenty of mudslinging on both sides, and I do believe Powell missed the opportunity to mention that.

Sure, it would be nice to have his endorsement, but really, so what. As I've stated in the past, my issues with Obama are on policy. To assume one will only vote McCain because they are racist is in and of itself, a form of racism. (Not you, Eric, you are a fairly level-headed liberal chap, and if I ever find myself in the N.C. I'd love to take out for a beer, or two).

Eric Sunday, October 19, 2008 at 11:28:00 PM EDT  


The. Endorsement. Was. Not. The. Point. Of. The. Entry.

Sure, I'm tickled that General Powell, a Republican I largely respect, endorsed the candidate I voted for Thursday--but I wouldn't write a blog entry about that.

This was calling attention to a troubling issue that's been recurring at McCain and Palin campaign stops, which is that Obama is being called a Muslim as if it is a bad thing to be called a Muslim.

It's no worse than being a Christian. If Obama was a Muslim, what difference would it make? That was the point.

I don't think you're a bad guy, Leanright, but it doesn't sound like you read the quoted comments any closer than "anonymous" did--and I think all "anonymous" did was skim the title and assume I'd waste everybody's time passing along Powell's endorsement, as if I think nobody who reads this site is capable of skimming headlines on an actual news site. No, what is worthwhile is reproducing the most important portion of Powell's interview: that a public figure and Republican of Powell's stature is taking an ecumenical stance that repudiates a bit of nasty bigotry that's in circulation--not the misinformation, which is incidental to the bigotry, but the bigotry itself, the fact that some people in this country think that electing a Muslim to the White House would result in I Don't Even Know What They Think Would Happen.

Sheesh. I don't mind comments, it would just be nice if maybe some commenters actually responded to the post instead of what they apparently think the post probably would have said based on my politics.

Leanright,  Monday, October 20, 2008 at 12:06:00 AM EDT  

Sometimes it's just fun to get you all worked up :)

Jeri Monday, October 20, 2008 at 1:12:00 AM EDT  

For what Powell has done - his leadership stance on ecumenism - he has rocketed to the top of my list of heroes.

Anne C. Monday, October 20, 2008 at 9:31:00 AM EDT  

I've always respected Powell (yes, even when he supported Bush) and this speaking out about what's right (not Obama, but about Muslims in America) only reinforces that. He was eloquent and diplomatic and on topic the entire time.

Janiece, you're going to have to share him. :)

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