Colin Powell made a rousing, eloquent, and touching endorsement of Barack Obama today on Meet the Press.
It remains to be seen how much of an impact this will have.
I suspect that a lot of people will dismiss this endorsement, saying that the only reason Powell endorsed Obama is because both are black.
Others will say that Powell is getting back at the Republican Party in general, and the neo-conservatives who pushed the Iraq War in particular, for duping Powell into selling the “Iraq has WMD” story to the United Nations. That story turned out to be pure fiction, and Powell’s reputation took a huge blow as a result.
I think the Powell endorsement will resonate less with Americans than his actual endorsement comments-at least, for those who get a chance to hear his comments from Meet the Press.
His comments were moving, especially his condemnation of the anti-Muslim bigotry that is gripping this nation, and is especially putting a choke-hold on the blood-supply-to-the-brain of many McCain supporters.
In the end, the endorsement does something that is huge: it enables the Obama campaign to win a news cycle, when there are just 17 days until the election. As these days of lost opportunities for McCain to gain ground add up, it will become very difficult, and eventually impossible, for him to gain parity with Obama in the polls and in the voting booth.
From Colin Powell:
Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer is no. That’s not America. Is there something wrong with a seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing he or she could be president? Yet I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion that (Obama) is a Muslim and might have an association with terrorists. This is not the way we should be doing it in America.
I feel particularly strong about this because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was a photo essay about troops who were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay, was of a mother at Arlington Cemetery and she had her head on the headstone of her son’s grave. And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone, and it gave his awards – Purple Heart, Bronze Star – showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, date of death, he was 20 years old. And then at the very top of the head stone, it didn’t have a Christian cross. It didn’t have a Star of David. It has a crescent and star of the Islamic faith.
And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan. And he was an American. He was born in New Jersey. He was fourteen years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he could serve his country and he gave his life.