Before you complain and ask “who is he to be commenting on the political endorsement by a prominent American statesman and military leader,” I might remind you that I am “One Citizen Speaking” and this is my blog.
Here is a portion of the transcript of General Colin Powell’s appearance on Meet the Press with host and moderator, Tom Brokaw.
Powell has apparently succumbed to Washingtonitis …
As much as I respect Colin Powell’s opinions and his right to endorse Barack Obama, there seems to be a disconnect between the what General Powell is recommending and the reality of the situation.
“GEN. POWELL: I would start with talking to the American people and talking to the world, and conveying a new image of American leadership, a new image of America's role in the world.”
“The problems will always be there, and there's going to be a crisis come along in the 21st or 22nd of January that we don't even know about right now. And so I think what the president has to do is to start using the power of the Oval Office and the power of his personality to convince the American people and to convince the world that America is solid, America is going to move forward, and we're going to fix our economic problems, we're going to meet our overseas obligations. But restoring a sense of purpose, a sense of confidence in the American people and, in the international community, in America.”
The problem facing America today is not simply a matter of style: the ability to project an air of confidence and claim that change is in the air. Any well-trained actor can deliver this performance using people like Hollywood’s premier political screenwriter Aaron Sorkin to craft the words.
The fundamental problems for the new Administration are both numerous and profound.
- Is legislation the answer to every problem and what role does time and timing play in resolving some of these financial, social and military events?
- If legislation is the answer, is a deeply-divided or hyper-partisan Congress up to the challenge of creating politically-neutral solutions that address the problem without adding pork and special political privileges to the legislation? While the President may be the leader of our nation, we have seen Congress act independently, willfully and hostilely towards that leadership. Even if the President and Congress are of the same party, there is always the external influence of the special interests and other considerations which can shape legislation before it arrives on the President’s desk.
- Considering that the selection of a number of Presidential advisors will be made on a political basis or apparently based on long-past government or private sector service, what is to say that these people will render the right advice at the right time. Especially considering the influence of the lethargic bureaucracy. Consider the example of Henry Kissinger and Madelyn Albright who have extensive foreign policy credentials, they have been wrong more than they have been right and their opinions could result in great damage to our nation.
- Nobody disagrees that Barack Obama is telegenic and makes a good appearance, but have you noticed his almost flat affect when delivering TelePrompTer speeches. Here is a man who may deliver the words but remains unconvincing. John McCain, on the other hand, may deliver the words in a clumsy manner – but you know he believes in what he is saying.
Whoops – attacking a prominent democrat issue …
“MR. BROKAW: What's not on the screen right now that concerns you that should be more prominent in the minds of the American people and the people running for president?”
“GEN. POWELL: I think the American people and the gentlemen running for president will have to, early on, focus on education more than we have seen in the campaign so far. America has a terrible educational problem in the sense that we have too many youngsters not finishing school. A third of our kids don't finish high school, 50 percent of minorities don't finish high school. We've got to work on this, and my, my wife and I are leading a campaign with this purpose.”
Forget Powell’s self-interested agenda in education and consider for a moment six of the root causes of ineffective education today.
- Other than the threat of withholding federal funds, all education is a local matter that is handled at both the state and local levels. The impact of federal dollars has not resulted in an improvement in education as the spending of this money has been highly politicized and fraught will special interest graft. Corruption and inappropriate influence abounds at the local level. Consider the Los Angeles Unified School District with their half-billion dollar High School Campus or the $230+ million modern art high school built to satisfy the ego of a billionaire developer who loves modern art and is trying to develop the neighborhood in which the school is located.
- There is no unified curriculum or testing protocol because of political and special interest concerns. Testing for teacher competency is a key issue that has been resisted by the unions for years. Testing for school children is also a disaster as teachers then “teach to the test” and do not encourage or reward any significant measure of independent thought. These are the people who “dumb down the class” in order to raise test scores. The fact that a major school system like the Los Angeles Unified School District is satisfied with allowing students to graduate from the 12th grade with a 9th-grade level competency in math and English is part of the problem.
- The far-left liberals have re-written much of history and inserted more social and political issues in the curriculum so as to reduce the emphasis on core fundamentals. Who can forget their wacky experiments in “whole language learning” which replaced phonics and produced a generation of functional illiterates? Who can forget their experiments in math that led to celebrating the wrong answers to bolster a student’s self-esteem issues?
- The school systems refuse to hold parents accountable for their children’s actions and the single most important issue facing educators today is not education, it is maintaining classroom discipline. Especially in the face of growing numbers of gang members and gang associates. Political correctness demands that we overlook the facts that most Hispanic families do not regard education as important as securing a job – especially when compared to other immigrant communities.
- The impact of illegal aliens is destroying our educational infrastructure. Children who barely speak and comprehend English are dumped into classrooms. This totally destroys the opportunity for brighter students to achieve their full potential and results in a dumbing-down of the entire school’s educational standards.
- And let us not ignore the toxic effect that democrat-supported education-related unions has had on the educational process. Once again, the unions have done as much to destroy education as they did to destroy the automotive industry and much of manufacturing in the United States with their greed, corruption, insane work rules and far-left socialistic policies which fail to reward solid achievement in favor of rewarding seniority and union political connections.
“Also, I think, the new president has to realize that the world looks to America for leadership, and so we have to show leadership on some issues that the world is expecting us to, whether it's energy, global warming and the environment. And I think we have to do a lot more with respect to poverty alleviation and helping the needy people of the world. We need to increase the amount of resources we put into our development programs to help the rest of the world. Because when you help the poorest in the world, you start to move them up an economic and social ladder, and they're not going to be moving toward violence or terrorism of the kind that we worry about.”
Again, Powell points to the problems, which the democrats have been unable to resolve without corruption and special interest influences.
- Energy – the left-leaning democrats have gone out of their way to insure that they avoid any mention of nuclear energy which would significantly reduce our foreign oil imports. Mostly based on the old Russian-inspired “no nukes” political campaigns which were designed to curtail nuclear research and weaponry for political purposes.
- Global Warming – much of the scientific basis of global warming is based on computer models with potentially flawed assumptions and input data. There is no proof that the reduction of carbon dioxide will enable global weather change at macro-weather levels although it will drive up the costs of energy and permit billions of dollars to be siphoned off to the special interests promoting less efficient and effective energy programs.
- Poverty alleviation – perhaps we should start by concentrating on our own people. Cleaning up cesspools of poverty in places like South Central Los Angeles, Detroit, Appalachia etc. before trying to purchase (bribe) our way to world peace. Am I the only one to note that the most poverty-stricken areas are those controlled by democrats where much of the public’s money being siphoned off by corruption? One need only look at Obama’s adopted home town of Chicago to see the toxic brew of democrat corruption and political machinery.
- The thought that we can send money abroad to help achieve peace is somewhat naive as long as there are dictators that siphon off the funds for their own personal or political purposes.
- I am fundamentally opposed to the socialistic notion of "spreading the wealth" as it smacks of Marxism and conveys unholy power to those who make the decisions on whose wealth to confiscate and over those to whom the wealth is to be distributed. Thus preserving a self-serving political patronage system which insures that the incumbancy remains in power.
Race, friendship and diplomacy …
If nothing else, this proves that Colin Powell is an even-tempered diplomat.
“GEN. POWELL: I'm an American, first and foremost, and I'm very proud--I said, I've said, I've said to my beloved friend and colleague John McCain, a friend of 25 years, "John, I love you, but I'm not just going to vote for you on the basis of our affection or friendship." And I've said to Barack Obama, "I admire you. I'll give you all the advice I can. But I'm not going to vote for you just because you're black." We, we have to move beyond this.”
“MR. BROKAW: General Powell, actually you gave a campaign contribution to Senator McCain. You have met twice at least with Barack Obama. Are you prepared to make a public declaration of which of these two candidates that you're prepared to support?”
This love of country is more than can be said about Obama's associates like William Ayers, Bernadine Dohrn ... and even Obama's wife who would become our First Lady.
Reflecting all of our concerns …
“GEN. POWELL: Yes, but let me lead into it this way. I know both of these individuals very well now. I've known John for 25 years as your setup said. And I've gotten to know Mr. Obama quite well over the past two years. Both of them are distinguished Americans who are patriotic, who are dedicated to the welfare of our country. Either one of them, I think, would be a good president. I have said to Mr. McCain that I admire all he has done. I have some concerns about the direction that the party has taken in recent years. It has moved more to the right than I would like to see it, but that's a choice the party makes. And I've said to Mr. Obama, ‘You have to pass a test of do you have enough experience, and do you bring the judgment to the table that would give us confidence that you would be a good president.’"
McCain weak on economics …
'"In the case of Mr. McCain, I found that he was a little unsure as to deal with the economic problems that we were having and almost every day there was a different approach to the problem. And that concerned me, sensing that he didn't have a complete grasp of the economic problems that we had.”
McCain weak on VP selection …
“And I was also concerned at the selection of Governor Palin. She's a very distinguished woman, and she's to be admired; but at the same time, now that we have had a chance to watch her for some seven weeks, I don't believe she's ready to be president of the United States, which is the job of the vice president. And so that raised some question in my mind as to the judgment that Senator McCain made.”
Compared to Obama …
“On the Obama side, I watched Mr. Obama and I watched him during this seven-week period. And he displayed a steadiness, an intellectual curiosity, a depth of knowledge and an approach to looking at problems like this and picking a vice president that, I think, is ready to be president on day one. And also, in not just jumping in and changing every day, but showing intellectual vigor. I think that he has a, a definitive way of doing business that would serve us well.
“I also believe that on the Republican side over the last seven weeks, the approach of the Republican Party and Mr. McCain has become narrower and narrower. Mr. Obama, at the same time, has given us a more inclusive, broader reach into the needs and aspirations of our people. He's crossing lines--ethnic lines, racial lines, generational lines. He's thinking about all villages have values, all towns have values, not just small towns have values.”
Considering that Obama has done virtually nothing with his tremendous gifts in the past; no important legislation, no major legal decisions and nothing of note in the educational community, it is highly unlikely that he will become a "breakout" star when elevated to this nation's highest office.
Democrat talking points?
“And I've also been disappointed, frankly, by some of the approaches that Senator McCain has taken recently, or his campaign ads, on issues that are not really central to the problems that the American people are worried about. This Bill Ayers situation that's been going on for weeks became something of a central point of the campaign. But Mr. McCain says that he's a washed-out terrorist. Well, then, why do we keep talking about him? And why do we have these robocalls going on around the country trying to suggest that, because of this very, very limited relationship that Senator Obama has had with Mr. Ayers, somehow, Mr. Obama is tainted. What they're trying to connect him to is some kind of terrorist feelings. And I think that's inappropriate.”
Here I must respectfully disagree with General Powell. Both William Ayers and Barack Obama were associates in funding educational initiatives which resulted in the rise of political activism in the schools and the promotion of far-left social agendas over the promotion of mathematics, science and developing more competent teachers. In this sense, Ayers and Obama are complicit in a conspiracy to further the left’s political influence in the minds of innocent children much in alignment with the Marxist political doctrines of changing generational values by inculcating political values in children at an early age.
Powell appears to be unhappy with his party and seeks a counterbalance?
Now, I understand what politics is all about. I know how you can go after one another, and that's good. But I think this goes too far. And I think it has made the McCain campaign look a little narrow. It's not what the American people are looking for. And I look at these kinds of approaches to the campaign and they trouble me. And the party has moved even further to the right, and Governor Palin has indicated a further rightward shift. I would have difficulty with two more conservative appointments to the Supreme Court, but that's what we'd be looking at in a McCain administration.
Here I am extremely troubled by what Colin Powell is saying. The last thing I want to see is a Supreme Court that makes up their own rules in response to social issues. The founding fathers developed a system which has worked well and continues to work when it is followed. To allow the subversion of the Constitution by political ideology is insane. There is a reason that the democrat party is often referred to as the “party of lawyers” and that every decision must be parsed and reparsed (“it depends on what the word ‘is’ is”) These are the people who have used our own laws against us to further their political agenda. Winning in the courts that which would not stand the public’s scrutiny in a legislative process. In many cases we have seen the Court actually usurp the constitutional mandate of Congress to make laws. Consider, for a moment, the perversion of the 14th Amendment to allow anyone born in the United States or its territories to automatically become citizens. This has led to the demographic bombing of America with illegal aliens who now threaten to take over the political process of the American Southwest.
Bottom line issue …
I'm also troubled by, not what Senator McCain says, but what members of the party say. And it is permitted to be said such things as, "Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim." Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim, he's a Christian. He's always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer's no, that's not America. Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president? Yet, I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion, ‘He's a Muslim and he might be associated terrorists.’ This is not the way we should be doing it in America.
Why are we pussyfooting around the issue of a religion which is inflexible, intolerant and mandates the death or conversion of any person who does not believe in that religion? I can respect Colin Powell’s political correctness and his Constitutional views on freedom of religion, but at some point the Supreme Court may have to rule if this right is to be extended to a religion which seeks the destruction of all others and openly advocates the death of non-believers. Apologists claim that the majority of Muslims are peaceful and want to promote peace – yet there does not seem to be one Muslim country free from radical strife and an ongoing struggle to promote the religion over all state policies. Sorry folks, I am calling them as I see them. Either the religion changes or we face a never-ending battle which will extend conflict for the next millennia.
“I feel strongly about this particular point because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was a photo essay about troops who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in 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 headstone, it didn't have a Christian cross, it didn't have the Star of David, it had crescent and a 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 14 years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he can go serve his country, and he gave his life. Now, we have got to stop polarizing ourself in this way. And John McCain is as nondiscriminatory as anyone I know. But I'm troubled about the fact that, within the party, we have these kinds of expressions.”
We are not generalizing about individuals who practice their religion and, in turn, are good citizens. If the religion were composed of people like Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, we would not be having this conversation. But the world is unduly being influenced by Saudi-driven Wahhabism and Pakistani radicalism. Influenced by radical religious leaders who want to expunge Israel off the face of this Earth. (As a side note: Colin Powell speaks fluent Yiddish and is a great supporter of Israel.)
Which is the President we need now?
“So, when I look at all of this and I think back to my Army career, we've got two individuals, either one of them could be a good president. But which is the president that we need now?”
“Which is the individual that serves the needs of the nation for the next period of time? And I come to the conclusion that because of his ability to inspire, because of the inclusive nature of his campaign, because he is reaching out all across America, because of who he is and his rhetorical abilities--and we have to take that into account--as well as his substance--he has both style and substance--he has met the standard of being a successful president, being an exceptional president. I think he is a transformational figure. He is a new generation coming into the world--onto the world stage, onto the American stage, and for that reason I'll be voting for Senator Barack Obama.”
If I could ask General Powell any question …
Considering, for a moment, that General Powell is correct in his assessment of Barack Obama (and it is not a point that I am willing to concede at this point in time), the question that I would ask Colin Powell is: did you go beyond the consideration of this individual’s personal abilities and consider the nature of the political party and hyper-partisan leadership of people like Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, John Murtha and others who will become the major influence on our nation – and who can actually do more damage to our nation with their mushy-headed leftists policies than the President of the United States?
At this point in time, it seems that General Powell is looking at the General and not considering the composition, capabilities and willingness of the troops to follow their leaders through the gates of hell. In fact, this is not the military and allegiance to one’s party, candidate or country is not taken as a “matter of fact” certainty.
Why Colin Powell should have been the Presidential nominee of either party …
“MR. BROKAW: Will you be campaigning for him as well?”
“GEN. POWELL: I don't plan to. Two weeks left, let them go at each other in the finest tradition. But I will be voting for him.”
“MR. BROKAW: I can already anticipate some of the reaction to this. Let's begin with the charge that John McCain has continued to make against Barack Obama. You sit there, as a man who served in Vietnam, you commanded a battalion of 101st, you were chairman of the Joint Chiefs, you were a national security adviser and secretary of state. There is nothing in Barack Obama's history that nearly paralyze any--parallels any of the experiences that you've had. And while he has performed impressively in the context of the campaign, there's a vast difference between sitting in the Oval Office and making tough decisions and doing well in a campaign.”
“GEN. POWELL: And he knows that. And I have watched him over the last two years as he has educated himself, as he has become very familiar with these issues. He speaks authoritatively. He speaks with great insight into the challenges we're facing of a military and political and economic nature. And he is surrounding himself, I'm confident, with people who'll be able to give him the expertise that he, at the moment, does not have. And so I have watched an individual who has intellectual vigor and who dives deeply into issues and approaches issues with a very, very steady hand. And so I'm confident that he will be ready to take on these challenges on January 21st.”
But that does not make a great president! With briefing papers, anyone can familiarize themselves with the issues. With a telegenic appearance and oratorical skills, one can portray great conviction and confidence. But that does not mean that a person like Martin Sheen, who convincingly played the President on the West Wing television program, should be the President of the United States.
I cannot see Barack Obama’s core values. To me, he appears to be an empty suit, a “go along to get along” opportunist who has been placed in his present position by a matter of fate: that so many people believed that Hillary Clinton was the polarizing second coming of the Marxist devil and would return Bill Clinton to politics, that Obama secured a significant edge by being the non-Clinton. Unfortunately, John McCain cannot easily portray himself as the non-Bush.
Powell’s point on advisors is critical. Do we want the same people that produced a Jimmy Carter and a Bill Clinton to continue to wreak havoc on our nation? These are the people who believe in mild-mannered socialism while doing everything in their power, both legal and illegal, to stifle discussion and dissent. You can see their toxic influence in today’s school system where left-leaning policies put student’s at risk of bad grades should they disagree with the hyper-partisan teacher spouting the party line. A despicable poseur like Ward Churchill is accepted, but a single remark which is judged not to be politically correct can ruin a career. Witness the dismissal of Larry Summers from Harvard when he dared to suggest that there was a difference between men and women when it came to the subject of science.
The African-American angle …
“MR. BROKAW: And you are fully aware that there will be some--how many, no one can say for sure--but there will be some who will say this is an African-American, distinguished American, supporting another African-American because of race.”
“GEN. POWELL: If I had only had that in mind, I could have done this six, eight, 10 months ago. I really have been going back and forth between somebody I have the highest respect and regard for, John McCain, and somebody I was getting to know, Barack Obama. And it was only in the last couple of months that I settled on this. And I can't deny that it will be a historic event for an African-American to become president. And should that happen, all Americans should be proud--not just African-Americans, but all Americans--that we have reached this point in our national history where such a thing could happen. It will also not only electrify our country, I think it'll electrify the world.”
Unfortunately, Colin Powell did not seize on this opportunity to demand that the people in the United States stop placing a hyphen before the word American and point out that there is no such thing as a hyphenated-American, we are all American citizens under the Constitution of the United States. And if there is such a thing as a hyphenated-American, let them reconsider their position and return to the nation of their origin. It is one thing to celebrate your origin or culture, it is quite another thing to have a split allegiance to another foreign sovereign power.
About the war …
We are about to solve both the Iraq and Afghanistan situations. While it will be short of a decisive victory and will be somewhat like a negotiated truce, the Iraqis will resume control over their country. The Afghans will invite the non-Pakistani Taliban back into the political process in return for a relative peace. Our attention will turn to the malevolent influences in Pakistan and it looks like Israel will solve the Iranian problem sometime after the election and before the inauguration. All of which makes Barack Obama’s opinions moot until he assumes office. Then it will be up to the democrats to botch the job and force our return to war.
“MR. BROKAW: You have some differences with Barack Obama. He has said that once he takes office, he wants to begin removing American troops from Iraq. Here's what you had to say about that: ‘I have found in my many years of service, to set arbitrary dates that don't coincide with the situation on the ground or what actually is happening tends not to be a useful strategy. ... Arbitrary deadlines that are snatched out of the air and are based on some lunar calculation is not the way to run a military or a strategic operation of this type.’ That was on February 10th of this year on CNN. Now that you have Barack Obama's ear in a new fashion, will you say to him, ‘Drop your idea of setting a deadline of some kind to pull the troops out of Iraq’?”
“GEN. POWELL: First of all, I think that's a great line, and thanks for pulling it up. And I believe that. But as I watch what's happening right now, the United States is negotiating the--an agreement with the Iraqi government that will call for most major combat operations to cease by next June and for American forces to start withdrawing to their bases. And that agreement will also provide for all American troops to be gone by 2011, but conditioned on the situation as it exists at that time. So there already is a timeline that's being developed between the Iraqis and the United States government.”
“So I think whoever becomes the president, whether it's John McCain or whether it's Barack Obama, we're going to see a continued drawdown. And when, you know, which day so many troops come out or what units come out, that'll be determined by the commanders and the new president.”
“ But I think we are on a glide path to reducing our presence in Iraq over the next couple of years. Increasingly, this problem's going to be solved by the Iraqis. They're going to make the political decisions, their security forces are going to take over, and they're going to have to create an environment of reconciliation where all the people can come together and make Iraq a much, much better place.”
Bill Ayers: Contacts of a questionable nature …
Either Tom Brokaw is continuing to attempt to defuse the Ayers issue, unaware of the true extent and nature of the collaborative effort between Ayers and Obama or is, outright, misleading the public.
“MR. BROKAW: Let me go back to something that you raised just a moment ago, and that's William Ayers, a former member of the Weathermen who's now active in school issues in Illinois. He had some past association with Barack Obama. Wouldn't it have been more helpful for William Ayers to, on his own, to have renounced his own past? Here was a man who was a part of the most radical group that existed in America at a time when you were serving in Vietnam, targeting the Pentagon, the Capitol. He wrote a book about it that came out on 2001, on September 11th that said, ‘We didn't bomb enough.’"
“GEN. POWELL: It's despicable, and I have no truck for William Ayers. I think what he did was despicable, and to continue to talk about it in 2001 is also despicable. But to suggest that because Mr. Barack Obama had some contacts of a very casual nature--they sat on a educational board--over time is somehow connected to his thinking or his actions, I think, is a, a terrible stretch. It's demagoguery.”
This is not true. Ayers played a pivotal role in introducing Barack Obama to politics, making sure that Obama was well-connected and well-financed. All of which precludes the notion that there was an incidental or casual relationship between the two men.
If you wish to read General Powell’s answers to questions about his behavior in the Iraq war, you may want to visit the site listed in the Reference Links below.
What can YOU do?
While I respect Colin Powell’s abilities and accomplishments, I believe that he would have made a better President than both John McCain and Barack Obama. I still have two Colin Powell for President pins in my desk drawer and an autographed copy of his book.
I sincerely believe that Barack Obama represents the triumph of style over substance and that his present appearance is more due to Hollywood smoke-and-mirrors and the public’s hopes that he really can bring about change. Also, that his success is more a coincidence of circumstance and the failure of the Bush Administration to fully engage will the people… not to mention their high-handed ways of dealing with the public and the profligacy of their spending.
I do not believe that Barack Obama or the democrat party will be able to restore the United States to world respect or prosperity without impoverishing the American public and curtailing their freedoms.
Therefore, I have already cast my ballot for John McCain. Even though I had serious reservations about both candidates, I am confident that John McCain will defend this Country from all enemies, both foreign and domestic – and not built the government into a self-sustaining intolerant bureaucracy which rewards its friends and punishes its enemies as so often has been done by both parties in the past.
Either way, it is your civic responsibility to vote and urge your fellow citizens to vote. If you sit this one out, I do not want to hear your complaints. We are at a historical crossroads and our vote does count.
Do not vote for any candidate or current politician who is willing to subvert the safety, security, sovereignty and economic strength of the United States or limit an individual's right of self-defense for their personal philosophy, power, prestige or profits.
Quote of the day: “I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.” -- Robert McCloskey It seems this is the basis for today’s government!
A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…
The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius
Tom Brokaw/Colin Powell Interview|Meet the Press