The Spectacle Blog

Colin Trouble

By on 10.21.08 | 2:49PM

Prompted by a friend to address the Colin Powell "problem," I read James Poulos's insights on Powell-ism:

Nothing in Powell's endorsement rationale, which is textbook Powell from beginning to end, has to do with either his or Obama's race, or with any crazy hopes that Powell might harbor. His praise for Obama's style and substance was firm, even, and in keeping with the skills Obama has already plainly demonstrated. Indeed, Powell waited for his endorsement until the substance of his own praise for Obama had become almost completely uncontroversial.

But then, his praise for Obama was entirely superficial. Powell certainly is Eisenhower, someone who feels no particular allegiance politically speaking. Though that, in itself, is a testament to the man's character. He's certainly become a "party unto himself," but if so, why speak at so many GOP conventions? Powell's neutrality is overrated. He enjoyed his time in the sun as a Republican darling, but was unhappy when things didn't go his way. He has every right to express that unhappiness, but don't attribute to the man a transcendence over politics.

I do agree with one point Poulos makes:

But by the same token, Powell's praise of Obama is only partially an attack on conservatism, and even then is a largely misguided one.

Indeed, Powell's caricature of modern conservatism either makes him a dunce or simply desperate to disassociate himself from the Republican party. As defined, even the right isn't too happy with how "right" the party has become.

By the way, missed in the hubbub about his endorsement is his skillful defense of the Iraq War. What doesn't measure up, though, is that if Powell was so certain, based on his sources, that the Iraq War was the right thing to do, why does Obama still get points for good judgment in opposing the same war?

This is part of a larger argument, obviously, that really can't ever be won. Namely thus: Just because weapons of mass destruction weren't found doesn't legitimize the anti-war left's position. They would have been against the war whether or not Iraq was a threat. I was sold on the war on the basis of weapons of mass destruction (not fighting tyranny). I remain sold on it because of the problems posed by withdrawing early.

In that light, I'm curious about how Powell addresses the endgame. So Obama was apparently judicious to not believe Powell's presentation to the UN. What about Obama's withdrawal plans/rhetoric is judicious?

Send to Kindle

Like this Article

Print this Article

Print Article