Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Limbaugh Nearly Correct

Rush Limbaugh has made it quite clear he traffics in race and in privilege (not in that order). And after Colin Powell told CBS' Face the Nation on Sunday that he hadn't decided if he would vote to re-elect President Obama, on Monday Rush Limbaugh commented (video below)

With General Powell saying that he's not quite sure that he would vote for Obama, that's gotta set off some warning bells in the Democrat Party, because as I say, if the titular head of the Republican Party is starting to have doubts about your candidate, you know that you are in trouble. Snerdley, you know I'm right here. In the end, Powell will vote for Obama. There's no doubt. The titular head of the Republican Party, the ideal model Republican will vote for Obama. Melanin is thicker than water, folks. That's what will happen.

There is no defending "melanin is thicker than water, folks." Lacking the requisite decency, honesty, or integrity- at least one applies- Limbaugh referred to "melanin," an inherited and racial characteristic, rather than contending simply that Powell would support Obama because both are black, which would have been less odious and easily dismissed. Melanin? The facial complexion of Barack Obama, the product of a racially mixed union, probably is closer to that of John McCain than to that of Colin Powell, the son of Jamaican-Americans.

As Werner Wolf would havc said, let's go to the videotape- or, in this case, the spoken word. In October, 2008 Politico noted that General Powell had declared on NBC"s Meet The Press the previous day his support of the election of Senator Obama, saying he was

"troubled" by the direction of the Republican Party, and said he began to doubt McCain when he chose Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate.

"Not just small towns have values," he said, responding to one of Palin's signature lines.

"She's a very distinguished woman, and she's to be admired," he said. "But at the same, 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 Sen. McCain made."

Few Americans base their vote in a presidential election on the vice-presidential selection, even if they rationalize it by maintaining that it is indicative of the candidate's judgement. With the vice-presidency largely a ceremonial post, the choice is suggestive largely of the presidential nominee's judgement as to whom would best facilitate his/her election. In retrospect, give Powell credit for identifying, by indirection, what now appears to be the best reason (along with Supreme Court appointments, also cited by Powell on NBC) to have Barack Obama rather than John McCain in the Oval Office. More comforting it is to have Joe Biden, rather than Sarah Palin, a heartbeat from the presidency.

But neither Palin nor the high court was the focus of the endorsement of Powell, who explained

I can't deny that it will be a historic event when an African-American becomes president. And should that happen, all Americans should be proud — not just African-American, but all Americans — that we have reached this point in our national history where such a thing could happen. It would also not only electrify the country, but electrify the world.

Powell continued

because of his ability to inspire, because of the inclusive nature of his campaign, because he is reaching out all across America, because of who he is and his rhetorical abilities — and you have to take that into account — as well as his substance — he has both style and substance, he has met the standard of being a successful president, being an exceptional president.

The General did not detail that "substance" which the first-term Senator possessed and was lacking in the 22-year veteran of the United States Senate, Armed Services Committee member, and highly distinguished veteran of the United States Navy. Obama's ideological stance (and presidential temperament) was superior, but it's tough to believe that the four-star general, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State was more impressed by the "substance" of Barack Obama than that of John McCain.

The dominant factor was the "style" of the man who aimed to be the first black president of the country served by Powell in several positions. "Style" was the dominant factor, race a major element of that style, if not the dominant factor itself. It was the style of the man who aimed to be the first black president of the United States, though the "electrifying" nature of that election has been consummated, making re- election historically insignificant. With the "electrifying nature" of that election having been consummated, re-election is historically insignificant and Limbaugh's confidence that "melanin" will prompt Powell to endorse Obama again will be tested if the GOP nominates Mitt Romney. Previously, however, Limbaugh (rashly) declared Romney's candidacy bound to fail and culture, race, and melanin aside, if Michele Bachmann or Mitt Romney gets the party's nod, Rush's prediction will be borne out. Powell, not without fault, is at least serious and sober and not one one especially enamored of quirky personalities.

Alternatively, Colin Powell may have publicly endorsed Barack Obama for president in 2008, and may do so in 2012, because of commitment to ideological principle. However, that would presuppose that, at some point in his post-military government service, Colin Powell had exhibited dedication to some principle. Find that, and you may find also those weapons of mass destruction Secretary of State Powell vowed that Sadaam Hussein possessed.

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