Monday, October 20, 2008

Powell's Vote

I believed, in autumn on 2007, that Barack Obama not only would not get the Democratic nomination, but that John Edwards would be a more serious threat to Hillary Clinton's bid.

I was wrong.

I believed, in the summer of 2007, that John McCain had as much a chance at getting the Repub presidential nomination as did I.

I was wrong.

I believed, late last week as speculation grew that Colin Powell would endorse Barack Obama when the General appeared on Sunday's Meet The Press, that he would announce his support for, but not endorse, the Illinois senator.

I was right.

Asked by host Tom Brokaw, "Are you prepared to make a public declaration of which of these two candidates that you’re prepared to support?" (emphasis mine), the former Secretary of State replied "Yes, but let me lead into it this way," referred to both major party presidential nominees as "distinguished Americans who are patriotic, who are dedicated to the welfare of our country..... either one of them, I think, would be a good president," and launched an eloquent, lengthy explanation of his preference. Then this exchange:

MR. BROKAW: Will you be campaigning for him as well?
GEN. POWELL: I don’t plan to. Two weeks left, let them go at each other in the finest tradition. But I will be voting for him.

Powell will be voting for Obama. So will I, and most of the people reading this post.

Extraordinarily distinguished military career; Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Director of the National Security Council. Secretary of State. Justifiably or not, arguably the most respected statesman in the United States of America. A supporter for President of Barack Obama, a guy whose patriotism and commitment to this country have been questioned by demagogic Republicans. And he does not expect to campaign for Obama?

Powell's reticence to make public appearances, ads, or pre-recorded messages (any of which Obama would be very happy with) may change, and should, given Joe Biden's gaffe at a Seattle fund-raiser Sunday. But if with his enormous prestige and stature, Colin Powell now retreats to the sidelines, his statement of support is not accurately read as something less than an endorsement.

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