Oct 19, 2008

On Colin Powell, Barack Obama, and Endorsements

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama for president on this morning, calling the Illinois senator a “transformational figure” whose campaign is one of inclusion and representative of "a new generation coming onto the world stage."

Powell's endorsement certainly does not hurt Obama, and should bring him a few undecideds and centrist Republicans. Powell is one of the few Bush Cabinet members who still retains a significant amount of credibility (Gates - and to a lesser extent, the post-warhawk Rice - I also include in this short list). While it would be an overstatement to suggest that millions of voters will change sides, I think that Powell's comments will sway a meaningful number of independents, perhaps even several hundred to a thousand in some key electoral districts.

This endorsement also might signal a trend among moderate Republicans to position themselves for an Obama victory, or it might just be Colin being Colin. We'll have to wait and see what Powell's true motivations are: understanding this political enigma has been a source of much punditry the last 15 years, and Powell defies simple analysis.

But for the latest news cycle, the Powell endorsement is sure to keep the pundits and bloggers busy, and this campaign moment will completely defuse any stumping Senator John McCain and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin accomplish today. Moreover, as an important figure in national security and international diplomacy the past two decades, Colin Powell carries a great deal of authority even years after leaving the Bush cabinet. McCain will be hard pressed to top this endorsement, and the current strategy of repeating the epithets "terrorist" and "socialist" will not work to undo this PR coup that Obama just scored.


microdot said...

The strategic timing of this couldn't have been bettter whether it was on purpose or just chance...
now, let the smearing of Powell by the conservative air pollution begin!

Shaun said...

You're right microdot, now the focus of the election will be Colin Powell. I am ready for the candidates to get back to talking about the issues. Like . . .how are they going to fix the economy.

I signed this petition to the 44th President. . .


. . .the message is really clear -- make the economy your first priority.

microdot said...

shaun, I don't think we need a petition, reality is driving this election at a ever dizzying pace.
The main business of the next administration is already on the table...the economy, tout de suite!

I think the Obama organization is proving to the world that they can stay abreast of this reality, including staying well above the hate thrown at them hourly.
I think we are seeing a model of new way of governing.2 being taken out for a test drive.