Monday, October 20, 2008

A vote for Colin Powell

Something occurred to me as I watched Colin Powell on Sunday weigh in on the presidential race.

Powell explained how he agonized over his decision, caught between his long-time loyalty to an old friend, Sen. John McCain, and his newfound respect for Sen. Barack Obama.

Powell announced he was backing the Democrat from Illinois, and in the process offered a scathing condemnation of the Republican Party and the tactics that have been employed against Obama.

But I could not escape one overriding thought: Why wasn’t this guy running for president?

We have fears that McCain does not have the temperament to sit in the Oval Office. He is known to react rashly, and often with more than a trace of anger. Does the name Sarah Palin come to mind?

On the other hand there are lingering fears about Obama’s lack of experience, whether there is enough substance behind the glowing oratory.

In a perfect world, we would seek some combination of the two. Someone like Colin Powell.

A general who led troops into battle in Iraq. A former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. And former secretary of state under George W. Bush.

Yes, he also was the person dispatched to the U.N. to seal the deal on the argument for military intervention in Iraq, a claim we now know was based on fault intelligence.

It does not diminish Powell’s luster.

I’d vote for him in a heartbeat.

2 Comments:

Anonymous johramj said...

Funny you should mention it. I was just about to send you this letter for publication.
Voice of an Independent.

I was mildly surprised by Colin Powell’s endorsement of Sen. Obama but it hasn’t diminished my opinion of him. He clearly believes that Sen. Obama is best qualified to lead our country in these troubled times. What he was too modest to say is that he would have been an even better choice to serve as president but he wasn’t asked. I realize that he has often said that he had no presidential aspirations, but, in my view, this would have made him the ideal candidate. Anyone who would actively seek to take on the awesome responsibilities of the oval office is either supremely arrogant or crazy, neither of which qualities is desirable in a president. The republicans made a strategic blunder in not persuading him to become the party’s candidate. None of the republican candidates could have matched his experience, his record of public service, or his considerable knowledge in military and foreign affairs. He was respected in the international community. Some would fault him for his role in the Iraqi war but he had the gumption to oppose the war strategy of the Bush administration and I believe the war would have ended favorably years ago had the President listened to him rather than Rumsfeld and Chaney. And the democrats would not have had the “four more years of Bush” tactic that they have pinned on Sen. McCain. Perhaps most importantly, the racial issue would have been blunted and the African-American vote would likely have been more balanced.

Of course the Republican Party leaders seem to have a knack for shooting themselves in the foot. They did all in their power to weaken the Presidency of Bill Clinton, despite the fact that he was the most successful “republican” president since Ronald Reagan. After all, he successfully pushed for NAFTA. He achieved welfare reform. He ran budget surpluses and maintained a strong economy. I would readily admit that I did not care for his personal ethics but I don’t think one can question his performance as President.

But that was then and this is now. While I am skeptical that President Obama can implement his economic plans without doing serious damage to the economy, I think he is a pragmatist who will reshape his policies to fit the changing conditions of our economic and political order. I believe in the adage that “the Office makes the Man.” I hope the “loyal opposition” will be just that and act in the best interest of our country, unlike the way the democrats treated Bush almost from his first day in office. Of course, that has been the pattern for most of our political history, with the exception of times of war, at least until the current conflict.

One wise professor, a very liberal republican, that I encountered many years ago, told his class that democracy was founded on the acceptance of a simple tenet: consent to lose.” Statesmen have followed that notion throughout our history. Politicians mouth it in their “bipartisan” speeches but seldom practice it. Let’s hope the republicans will accept the will of the majority and do their utmost to make an Obama presidency work.
By the same token, let the democrats, who convincingly told us we couldn’t afford four more years of Bush, not give us “four more years of blaming Bush.”

October 23, 2008 at 2:33 PM 
Blogger johram said...

Voice of an Independent.

I was mildly surprised by Colin Powell’s endorsement of Sen. Obama but it hasn’t diminished my opinion of him. He clearly believes that Sen. Obama is best qualified to lead our country in these troubled times. What he was too modest to say is that he would have been an even better choice to serve as president but he wasn’t asked. I realize that he has often said that he had no presidential aspirations, but, in my view, this would have made him the ideal candidate. Anyone who would actively seek to take on the awesome responsibilities of the oval office is either supremely arrogant or crazy, neither of which qualities is desirable in a president. The republicans made a strategic blunder in not persuading him to become the party’s candidate. None of the republican candidates could have matched his experience, his record of public service, or his considerable knowledge in military and foreign affairs. He was respected in the international community. Some would fault him for his role in the Iraqi war but he had the gumption to oppose the war strategy of the Bush administration and I believe the war would have ended favorably years ago had the President listened to him rather than Rumsfeld and Chaney. And the democrats would not have had the “four more years of Bush” tactic that they have pinned on Sen. McCain. Perhaps most importantly, the racial issue would have been blunted and the African-American vote would likely have been more balanced.

Of course the Republican Party leaders seem to have a knack for shooting themselves in the foot. They did all in their power to weaken the Presidency of Bill Clinton, despite the fact that he was the most successful “republican” president since Ronald Reagan. After all, he successfully pushed for NAFTA. He achieved welfare reform. He ran budget surpluses and maintained a strong economy. I would readily admit that I did not care for his personal ethics but I don’t think one can question his performance as President.

But that was then and this is now. While I am skeptical that President Obama can implement his economic plans without doing serious damage to the economy, I think he is a pragmatist who will reshape his policies to fit the changing conditions of our economic and political order. I believe in the adage that “the Office makes the Man.” I hope the “loyal opposition” will be just that and act in the best interest of our country, unlike the way the democrats treated Bush almost from his first day in office. Of course, that has been the pattern for most of our political history, with the exception of times of war, at least until the current conflict.

One wise professor, a very liberal republican, that I encountered many years ago, told his class that democracy was founded on the acceptance of a simple tenet: consent to lose.” Statesmen have followed that notion throughout our history. Politicians mouth it in their “bipartisan” speeches but seldom practice it. Let’s hope the republicans will accept the will of the majority and do their utmost to make an Obama presidency work.
By the same token, let the democrats, who convincingly told us we couldn’t afford four more years of Bush, not give us “four more years of blaming Bush.”

October 23, 2008 at 2:36 PM 

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