The Spectacle Blog

More Colin-Awe-Scopy

By on 10.22.08 | 4:52PM

In case readers missed it, I wanted to point out an oldie but a goodie -- John Corry's profile of Colin Powell from 1996. Here are a few snippets that are particularly poignant:

Sam Donaldson said a Powell presidency would be "good for the country." Media enthusiasm knew no bounds, and exactly where Powell stood on any issue was irrelevant. He transcended race and partisan politics, and personified the American dream. Meanwhile, he was off on his fabled book tour, while he kept his "options open."

...

Powell may be loyal to past presidents, but he has qualms about being a Republican, and in truth many Republicans continue to have qualms about him. They do not express them openly, though, because they have that most Republican of all fears: God forbid someone should think they are racist.

...

Try as he might, it was hard for Powell to think of himself as a Republican. "It is a racist society," he said after the O.J. Simpson verdict. "All you have to do is listen to Mark Fuhrman."

...

"We'd never have to worry about Powell being a candidate. He's not a risk taker. He's not an entrepreneur. It's not in his character. He'll talk about running, but never do it."

...

A man who knows him well, and therefore declines to be identified, says Powell wants to be president, but that he thinks he would lose his "moral credibility" if he were to admit it. Presumably, then, Powell would never hold office unless he were drafted, or else swept away by popular demand. There is no chance of that happening now, of course, but it does explain some of Powell's recent behavior. He seems to have found politics beneath him, and consequently he has squandered the glow from a year ago, and made himself look foolish. He said he would not campaign for Dole; then he said he would. He said he did not plan to speak at the Republican convention; then he said he did. He criticized party positions on abortion, gun control, welfare reform, and affirmative action. He said, mysteriously, "I am practicing my politics privately."

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