For a guy out of office and not going to seek any, people are paying an awful lot of attention to Colin Powell.
And they shouldn't.
Hey, if Colin wants to stay a Republican that's fine. The bottom line is he never was a very partisan Republican and I don't think we should lose any sleep if he disagrees with much of what the party is doing. (as an aside, lets also not scream in horror everytime some Republican says he's not a Rush fan. Makes us look rather thin skinned)
Powell is one of those folks who although they emerge from humble beginnings are now firmly entrenched in the D.C. establishment. He has never sought elective office not campaigned much for others. and indeed suggested in 2000 he would have been willing to serve in a Gore administration. Nope, he's the inside guy to staff the less partisan levers of the federal government. An establishment guy.
And from 1980 to 2008 that was usually a place where a Republican was pretty welcome, since we either held the White House or Congress for 26 of the 28 years. And now it isn't.
Powell may use the rationalization that the party drifted to the right, though clearly it was more vocally conservative on many issues prior to George W. Bush's definition of the party. And using Sarah Palin as an excuse won't wash. Evidently the equally derided Dan Quayle was insufficient reason for Powell to search for the exits back then.
I also reject the charge by Limbaugh that Powell was solely motivated by racial kinship in his Obama endorsement. Had Obama been unacceptable to the Beltway bramin, he'd have been unable to gain Powell's support.
Nope, this was all about Dr. Gallup. Powell is a symptom of much of what defines a moderate--they are dyed-in-the -wool frontrunners. Had McCain been leading Obama into the homestretch I have no doubt the General would have been side-by-side with Mac singing his praises.
The argument being made now by the Beltway establishment is that we need to cater to the interests of folks like Powell to gain back our path to elective success. I'm not for RINO bashing as a path to power, but let's be real. This proposal is simply backasswards.
Moderates won;t come back to the ranks of the Republican party because we beg them. They will come back because we look like we are going to win some elections and we make the otther guys look extreme or incompetent. The DC press has cause and effect reversed.
Indeed consider this. If Powell was convinced that the GOP couldn't mount a comeback he wouldn't leave the door open to come back in. A general always thinks strategically.
Colin Powell endorsed and worked for Reagan, Bush 41 and Bush 43, all of whom were to the right of John McCain.. It wasn;t the policies that drove him off in 2008, it was the popularity. Powell's influence would have sunk with the ship had he endorsed McCain.
I think the Republicans should be a "big tent" party. My point is the first thing to do is to build the tent, not worry so much about the folks who will always stand around the periphery waiting to be cajoled inside.