October 19, 2008

The Howl of Powell; Does It Matter?

Hatched by Dafydd

In a move somewhat unexpected, though broadly hinted at for several days, Colin Powell, the first secretary of state of President George W. Bush, endorsed Barack H. Obama today -- while also praising John S. McCain:

Colin Powell, a Republican who was President Bush's first secretary of state, endorsed Democrat Barack Obama for president Sunday and criticized the tone of Republican John McCain's campaign.

The former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said either candidate, both of them senators, is qualified to be commander in chief. But he said Obama is better suited to handle the nation's economic problems as well as help improve its standing in the world.

"It isn't easy for me to disappoint Sen. McCain in the way that I have this morning, and I regret that," Powell, interviewed on NBC's "Meet the Press," said of his longtime friend, the Arizona senator.

But, he added: "I think we need a transformational figure. I think we need a president who is a generational change and that's why I'm supporting Barack Obama, not out of any lack of respect or admiration for Sen. John McCain."

Some might think race trumped politics, but I disagree: Powell has always been a Lincoln Chafee Republican, and McCain is just too far to the right for his taste. (Actually, in the quotation above, Powell seems to be saying he endorses Obama because Obama is younger than McCain!)

In fact, virtually the entire Republican Party is too far to Powell's right, and I would not be surprised to see him reregister as a Democrat after the election, no matter who wins:

Powell said he remains a Republican, even though he sees the party moving too far to the right. Powell supports abortion rights and affirmative action, and said McCain and Palin, both opponents of abortion, could put two more conservative justices on the Supreme Court.

"I would have difficulty with two more conservative appointments to the Supreme Court, but that's what we'd be looking at in a McCain administration," Powell said.

On the other hand, Powell doesn't seem all that enthused by Obama, either:

Powell said he does not plan to campaign for Obama.

I'm sure Barack Obama has long known that he had Powell's endorsement; this is clearly the "October surprise" that the One has been planning for months, waiting for the killer moment to make the announcement.

Team Obama must believe this will be the game changer, finally putting the election away for them. The scenario goes as follows:

  1. Those undecideds and even some of the weak McCain supporters have been just dying for a reason to vote for Obama; they really want to give his plan of raising taxes and tariffs during a world recession a chance!
  2. The only thing holding them back has been their nervousness about whether Obama has the national-security credentials to keep us as safe from attack as George W. Bush has.
  3. So now that one of Bush's top national-security cabinet officers has given Obama the thumbs up, they can relax and vote for the One they have been waiting for. Thank God he turns out to be strong on national security after all!

I don't buy this premise for several reasons:

  • I don't believe anybody actually thinks Obama is as strong on national security as McCain, not even those who say so in polls: Rather, those who want Obama are willing to ignore national security. Anybody for whom national security matters is already in the McCain camp. Alas, Darryl Worley aside, most voters have indeed forgotten that we are under attack by the Iran/al-Qaeda axis, and they really don't care about (yawn) "national security."
  • Those who are still truly undecided are worried about Obama's economic policies, not whether he'll keep us safe from terrorist attack -- or from Russia, China, and North Korea. The "undecideds" at this point are those who are nervous about their taxes being raised, whether they'll keep their jobs, and whether their 401Ks will survive; in short, whether Obama can handle the looming economic downturn.
  • Colin Powell does nothing to allay these fears, though he sure tries in his endorsement. The problem is that he has no credentials in this area.

Does anyone? I don't think there is any financial figure who is both universally respected and associated with the Republican economic policy whose surprise endorsement of Obama could throw this election to the Democrat.

(No, Paul Volcker doesn't count: (a) Few remember him, and (b) those who do remember that he was first appointed Chairman of the Federal Reserve by Jimmy Carter, not Ronald Reagan -- and that he didn't do very well; his policies led to 20%+ interest rates that destroyed small businesses across the nation and even crippled large ones, directly leading to a significant recession in 1982-83.)

We'll know shortly which scenario rules. I'm sure the adverts were in the can long before Powell made his announcement. Within 24 hours, everyone and his monkey's paw will know that the great Colin Powell has endorsed Barack Obama.

If Obama now leaps up to double-digit leads in all the tracking polls, then I think the Obama Scenario will have been proven right after all: A foreign-policy affirmation was just what the undecideds were breathlessly waiting to see before turning en masse to Obama.

But if the bump is only a point or two, then I believe it will quickly subside, likely to a smaller lead than Obama has right now. The October surprise will turn out to be the Fall fizzle.

I truly believe this election is all about economics, not foreign policy or even national security. Whatever misgivings are keeping Obama from putting McCain away are not going to be swayed by the endorsement of a politically ambivalent, Bush-hating, Clinton-appointed former general. If that were Obama's big problem, it would have been solved long ago by the much more enthusiastic endorsement of Eric Shinseki.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, October 19, 2008, at the time of 1:35 PM

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Transcript of the endorsement on Meet The Press: I know both of these individuals very well now. I’ve known John for 25 years, as your setup said. And I’ve gotten to know Mr. Obama quite well over the past two years. Both of them are disti... [Read More]

Tracked on October 19, 2008 9:15 PM

Comments

The following hissed in response by: Baggi

This is most certainly not an October surprise.

The October surprise will come at the end of October and it will be something bad about McCain, like he cheated on his wife or something along those lines. Or it might be something bad about Sarah Palin, like she cheated on her husband.

An endorsement from a person who has faded far from the public eye is not an endorsement of anything. It might help him among black folk but really, how many more black americans can vote for Obama?

The above hissed in response by: Baggi [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 19, 2008 7:08 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

Baggi:

The October surprise will come at the end of October and it will be something bad about McCain, like he cheated on his wife or something along those lines. Or it might be something bad about Sarah Palin, like she cheated on her husband.

Or perhaps Sarah Palin cheated on Cindy McCain, while Todd Palin cheated on his driver's license eye test.

Dafydd

The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 19, 2008 10:32 PM

The following hissed in response by: Baggi

It won't be something silly like that Dafydd.

Remember the George W. Bush used cocaine thing that came out on a Monday before the election?

That's the sort of thing to look for here, except it obviously won't be cocaine because that would hurt Obama more, since he really has used Cocaine (Or at least, I think he admitted to that).

So, it's going to be something untrue but with a hint of truth to it. Just enough to talk about for a few days prior to the election.

The above hissed in response by: Baggi [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 20, 2008 9:24 AM

The following hissed in response by: David M

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 10/20/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

The above hissed in response by: David M [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 20, 2008 11:56 AM

The following hissed in response by: Zelsdorf2

Does anyone think Powell would have endorced a white male candidate with Obama's resume? Evidently the former four star general does not care Obama's mentor, Will Ayers tried to kill American soldiers and civilians at Fort Dix. Ayers/Obama 08

The above hissed in response by: Zelsdorf2 [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 20, 2008 1:19 PM

The following hissed in response by: Xpressions

No it doesn't matter. This does nothing but add to the fact that the elitist illuminati will flip flop as they choose. Too bad you shouldn't flip flop when the state of our country is in trouble.

The above hissed in response by: Xpressions [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 20, 2008 7:44 PM

The following hissed in response by: Da Coyote

I never worked for a General that I did not respect.

I never worked for Powell.

The above hissed in response by: Da Coyote [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 20, 2008 9:27 PM

The following hissed in response by: Gaffe Prices

Powell told his friend Sen. John McCain that he would not publicly endorse anyone for president. His son Michael Powell has already endorsed John McCain. I wonder which other "persons of interest" Powell anticipates will be sitting along side him at cabinet meetings? one Wm. Ayers-sec of state perhaps? And the precious Bernadine Dohrn? Secretary of Homeland Security perhaps? Or is being a "secretary" beneath her? To bad Powell did't consider character an issue in this election. Still won't bring Obama up in the polls. Down in Ohio, and Florida Papers there are reporting the voter fraud there, that goes on routinely in Obama home state. If you want to be Democrat all of a sudden, Powell you'd better start cleaning house, and that goes double for Turbaned Durbin. I don't imagine the vote stuffing Acorn did in caucuses sits too well with Sen Clinton, especially considering she wiped the floor with Obama in the states that matter, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan (before DNCs"awarded obama w/delegates there in May), Florida (same as Michigan, delegates "awarded" to the manchild ex post facto in May), Texas (where I voted against The One, and caucuses went on for nights and days, while real live people went back to work next morning) California, and probably New freakin Jersey. Powell could have spoke at Dem convention if he wanted to, and didn't even bargain for a place on the ticket, or was told, in true double think, Thanks but no thanks. Colin who? You work in the beltway, or something. You knew it was Armitage (and others at State, not to mention CIA, FBI) who was the one leaking, and managed to keep it quiet, as Lewis Libby gets brought before the sacrificial media bonfire. I guess infant sacrifice isn't enough, sometimes. I guess you got "inside the beltway" character issues yourself. Obama's a bagman for the Chicago machine, and both of you are gonna get left holding it, when earmarks and spending come to a crashing halt. al Capone and Bugs Moran were so proud. They're not going to be so proud anymore, but at least they gonna get to vota in this election. Why shouldn't dead people get to vote in an election? They did in South Dakota in 2004, for Johnson, when they found more votes for Johnson in one county than there were registered voters. Just like the 138 extra votes they found in Washington State (two months later, in Jan.2007) for that slag that holds the governors office now, but is in real trouble running for re-election there. go Rossi! The Tide is turning against 'the beltway' and voters are angry at Congress. And Pres. Bush is not running against Obama, despite what O's rhetoric says.
And back Sen Clinton, hell hath no fury such as a woman scorned, and you gotta give her credit, at least she got out of that Chicago cesspool Obama, and Emil Jones, and Stroger run protection rackets in. Oh, and I'm sure Stroger will be voting in this election too, pillar of the community that he is.

The above hissed in response by: Gaffe Prices [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 21, 2008 1:24 PM

The following hissed in response by: PatOH

Powell was another skeptic on the surge:


From the IHT:

By Brian Knowlton
Published: 2006-12-17 14:55:48

WASHINGTON: The former secretary of state Colin Powell said Sunday that badly overstretched U.S. forces in Iraq were losing the war there and that a temporary U.S. troop surge probably would not help.

In one of his few commentaries on the war since leaving office, Powell quickly added that the situation could be reversed. He recommended an intense coalition effort to train and support Iraqi security forces and strengthen the government in Baghdad. Powell was deeply skeptical about increasing troop levels, an idea that appears to be gaining ground as President George W. Bush weighs U.S. strategy options.

"There really are no additional troops" to send, Powell said, adding that he agreed with those who say that the U.S. Army is "about broken."

He said he was unsure that new troops could suppress sectarian violence or secure Baghdad.

He urged the United States to do everything possible to prepare Iraqis to take over lead responsibility; the "baton pass," he said, should begin by mid-2007.

The above hissed in response by: PatOH [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 21, 2008 8:35 PM

The following hissed in response by: MNotaro

Is anyone really shocked that Powell is voting for Obama? No matter what anyone says, this vote is about color for so many African Americans...even my black conservative friends are voting for Obama, and I keep reminding them that Obama and his lefty illuminati morals and values are the opposite of them and I am sitting there thinking they are racist for voting for him just because he is black, but if I said that aloud, then I would be the racist right?

The above hissed in response by: MNotaro [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 22, 2008 12:44 PM

The following hissed in response by: Xpressions

This was a move that didn't shock me in the least bit. He crossed his party because of what, not the issues? He's not a liberal illuminati, nor one who practices socialism. Therefore it was for obvious reasons he extended his endorsement to the left.

The above hissed in response by: Xpressions [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 24, 2008 7:07 AM

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