Colin Powell Fires Back, Misses Target
Colin Powell issued a sharp rebuke Tuesday night to Rush Limbaugh and Dick Cheney for trying to exclude him from the backbiting Republican Party.
Before some 1,500 business leaders in Boston, as well as Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and wife Gisele Bundchen, the retired general and former secretary of state spoke openly of the dispute roiling the Grand Old Party after election setbacks and polls putting its popularity at roughly one of five Americans.
"Rush Limbaugh says, 'Get out of the Republican Party.' Dick Cheney says, 'He's already out.' I may be out of their version of the Republican Party, but there's another version of the Republican Party waiting to emerge once again," Powell told the crowd.
Powell, the former secretary of state, split from the Bush-Cheney administration over the Iraq war after he presented to the United Nations what he had been told was ironclad evidence that Iraq was pursuing weapons of mass destruction. That, of course, turned out not to be true.
Then, just before last November's election, Powell delivered his prized endorsement to President Obama, giving him a major last-month boost.
Powell, who was talked about as a presidential candidate himself over the year, called Obama "a transformational figure" who "brings a fresh set of eyes, a fresh set of ideas" at a time the nation urgently needs them. "He has met the standard of being president," he said.
If I may explain something to Mr. Powell? The Republican base is, at it's heart, conservative in nature and demeanor. The sort of Republican party Mr. Powell is waiting for is the Rockefeller Republican party. The snooty blue bloods that none of us can relate to. They stood for nothing except their own, pitiful selves, and paid next-to-no attention to the people.
The base of the Republican party is not like that. We believe in fiscal responsibility, a strong national defense, abiding by the rule of law, and upholding the Constitution of the United States. The sort of party that Mr. Powell is waiting for is the same one that Arlen Specter, Lindsey Graham, Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, John McCain, and Meghan McCain are trying to make right now. It would be one run by moderates, which is little more than Democrat-Lite right now.
In our humble opinion the problem with the Republican party is that in the late nineties we gave too much of a voice to the moderates within the party. Because of that they now believe they run the show, which they do not. I am sorry to say but we, the people, run the party. And we have said what we want. It is people like the moderates in the party that refuse to see that, and they demand we look at things through their rose-colored glasses.
The base of the Republican party stands on federalism and the rule of law. We do not want bigger government constantly interfering in our lives. The moderates are nothing more than a more friendly version of the Democrats; minus the vitriol, spite, and demagoguery. And while Mr. Powell claims that we should do away with people like Mr. Cheney and Mr. Limbaugh, he fails to understand that the bulk of the party's base thinks much along the same lines as those two men do. So, in essence, he is saying that we conservatives should leave as well.
We have no party to identify with save the Republican party. No third party is viable, nor is any third party strong enough to win a national election. Third parties do not work. My apologies to those who believe differently but the last time a "third party" won a national election was back in 1850. That was Millard Fillmore, who was a Whig. (WE will recall that the Whigs were ridiculed as being nothing more than a reconstituted Federalist party, and was formed by a number of Republicans in opposition to Andrew Jackson and the Democrat party.)
If the Republican party is to survive it is time for us to take the leadership voice from moderates like Mr. Powell, and others I listed above. They do not speak for us. We speak for ourselves, and we want a return to the ideals of true conservatism. We do not want "big-government conservatism." That is an oxymoron because conservatism NEVER stood for bigger government. It stood for the small government that the Founding Fathers created. If Mr. Powell and others wish to embrace their moderate roots, then we suggest they change parties, or be silent. They do not have the pulse of the party, and we believe they do not have the nation's best interests at heart. His idea of the Republican party is one that we have seen before, and not only did it win nothing on the national level but it enabled the Democrats to have virtually unfettered rule in Congress for four-plus decades.
His version of the Republican party is not ours. It is anathema to our views and the views of the base. We suggest Mr. Powell take his endorsement of President Obama, and make the jump to the Democrats. That is what he is, after all. No insult to the man's service to this nation, but he is hardly the spokesman for our party. Pack your bags, Mr. Powell. Your services are no longer needed.