Mike Kueber's Blog

January 18, 2013

Colin Powell on racist Republicans

Filed under: People,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 4:09 am

Colin Powell angered a lot of Republicans this weekend on Meet the Press when he accused the party of harboring a bunch of racists.  Because I missed viewing the show, and didn’t want to criticize Powell on the basis of out-of-context clips, I decided to read a transcript.  It says the following:

  • I think the Republican Party right now is having an identity problem. And I’m still a Republican. … In recent years, there’s been a significant shift to the right, and we have seen what that shift has produced: two losing presidential campaigns. I think what the Republican Party needs to do now is take a very hard look at itself and understand that the country has changed. The country is changing demographically. And if the Republican Party does not change along with that demographic, they’re going to be in trouble.”  This comment seems to reflect the party’s need to better accommodate the growing Hispanic population, and it is consistent with what most in the party have already concluded.
  • You can’t go around saying we don’t want to have a solid immigration policy, we’re going to dismiss the 47 percent, we are going to make it hard for these minorities to vote, as they did in the last election.  What did that produce? The court struck most of that down, and most importantly, it caused people to turn out and stand in line, because these Republicans were trying to keep us from voting.”  This comment repeats Powell’s Hispanic/immigration criticism and throws in Romney’s 47% comment, which was repudiated by most in the party, including Romney himself.  But Powell goes on to characterize the Republican Party’s voter-ID initiatives as an effort to disenfranchise minorities.  That’s equivalent to calling a cutback on food stamps or welfare as a racist attack on minorities.  You expect that sort of name-calling by opportunist Democrats, but not by a self-proclaimed Republican.
  • There’s also a dark vein of intolerance in some parts of the party. What I do mean by that? What I mean by that is they still sort of look down on minorities. How can I evidence that? When I see a former governor say that the president is ‘shucking and jiving,’ that’s a racial-era slave term. When I see another former governor — after the president’s first debate, where he didn’t do very well — saying that the president was lazy. … And then there’s a third word that goes along with it: birther, the whole birther movement. Why do senior Republican leaders tolerate this kind of discussion within the party?”  The first three sentences of this paragraph are used in all of the conservative-show clips, and the “evidence” sentences are usually not presented.  How solid is the evidence?  Although the “shucking and jiving” criticism (by Sarah Palin) might have some weight as offensive, the weight is greatly diminished by the fact that New York governor Cuomo used the same phrase to describe candidate Obama during his primary run against Hillary Clinton in 2008.  Does Powell think there is a “dark vein of intolerance” within the Democratic Party, too?  (How about Biden’s comment about a “clean looking” Obama?)  And if calling a person lazy is offensive if the person happens to be black, then we will have to stop calling people dumb if they happen to be blonde.  And finally, responsible people in the Republican Party had nothing to do with the Birther movement.

Like Ronald Reagan, I believe the Republican Party should be a big tent and shouldn’t impose loyalty oaths on its followers.  That’s why I hate the whole RINO thing or any form of excommunication.  If Colin Powell, despite his misgivings, continues to claim Republican status, that’s fine with me. 

But together with Chris Christie, he reminds me of the old adage – with friends like him, who needs enemies.


1 Comment »

  1. If racism is defined by the victim and the world has 7 billion people that means we have up to 7 billion definitions… So we can use racism as an attack anytime it suits our purpose.

    Comment by Q — January 19, 2013 @ 2:33 pm | Reply

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