Monday, October 20, 2008

The Powell Endorsement: A Personal Loss

I confess to having been an ardent supporter of President Bush, President George HW Bush. I am actually pretty much a moderate Republican, by which I mean that I abhor extremes on both sides. I did not vote for W because I loved him but because I could not stomach the alternative and he came closest to my views.

I am a Cuban American, which parlays into a belief that "that government governs best which governs least." It also means I believe strongly in traditional values and in the ability of the individual to rise above his circumstances. In sum, I am a natural Republican.

It is in this context that I have always admired Colin Powell. As a Republican and a Hispanic, brought up in the bad old days of rampant discrimination, I saw Mr. Powell not only through the lens of his achievement, but also with the hope that his open party affiliation would serve to break the stranglehold of the patronizing culture of victimhood fostered by the Liberal Left, that he would serve to show that you can do it. "Entitlements" because you cannot take care of yourself tell you you can't. Powell gave the lie to that assertion. He also stood for my views, a bulwark against the extreme right wing of the party.

So what does he do yesterday? Against every value one would assume he had, he endorses Obama, one of the most liberal of Senators, a man who not only opposed the war Powell helped get us into, but who would have pulled us out in defeat. And his rationale? In addition to the usual Liberal contortions regarding Palin's lack of experience for number two while disregarding completely Obama's lack of experience for numero uno, he objects to the tenor of the campaign, the Ayers story. Memo: if the media had done its job, McCain would not have been put in the position of having to educate us about the educator. These associations would have been brought up during the primaries and McCain would probably be running against Hillary Clinton right now. When there is no record to judge, when the associations are so unsavory to most Americans, what can be more important than the character of the man? Perhaps it is all irrelevant, but that is a decision for the American people and not the American Media to make.

Most hurt by yesterday's actions was my measure of the man: "You dance with them that brung you." That he would be deliriously happy to see an African American within striking distance of the presidency is understandable. I would be. It is an emotion, however, he should have experienced in the privacy of the voting booth. I am no fan of Rush Limbaugh, but he struck a chord with me. Powell owes much to the Republican party, no matter how contentious the relationship, and he should have acted accordingly. This last minute endorsement begs the question as to whether he ever believed in the political philosophy he espoused previously or whether it was just expediency. Frankly, my only hope this election is that his candidate has similarly used the left.

This endorsement is more about the Secretary than it is the candidate. I suspect he feels he was misled into the UN appearance that damaged his credibility. I think he would have been served by waiting for the judgment of history than trying to rehabilitate his image with the cultural elite. I am terribly saddened.

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