First, as stated by my inestimable colleague Mr. Hayse, I introduce myself as Cangrejero. I’m honored to be here, and very happy to work with Toby, a man I would consider a dear friend despite never coming within 2900 miles of his presence. If you would like to know more about me, you can check 500 or so posts of my rambling over at The Midpoint. Feel free to drop by.
I would like to start by talking about Colin Powell. I doubt I’m alone in having remembered a time when I thought of General Powell fondly. Sure, he was always a Republican, but something seemed… different about him. He had an air of honesty and accountability about him which made him stand out in an administration which lacked both. As a young college student, I (regretfully) admit to being a bit swept up by the possibility of his running for the 1996 Presidential nomination, a stance which I attribute to sheer ignorance and jadedness with the political landscape of the time. Nevertheless, he would later seem a glimmer of hope after the disastrous election of George W. Bush in 2000. Yes, we had elected a fuckup, but at least Mr. Powell would keep him from destroying the planet, or so I thought.
I was in graduate school when Mr. Powell stood before the world and told us there was “no doubt in [his] mind that Saddam Hussein has biological weapons and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more,” this amid reports that he thought the whole idea was “bullshit.”
I remember his word, even among us on the left, was strong enough affirmation for many that this war had to go on. 5+ years later, and we all know that his assertion, as well as his word, weren’t worth the paper upon which they were printed. Powell was spared much of the criticism levied upon the other architects of the war, but hindsight has shown he likely deserves much much more. By the time of his November 15, 2004 resignation (2 weeks after he could have helped save us from the disastrous 2nd term of W), all doubts would be dissipated.
The emergent pattern points to the story of a man who put his career before doing what’s right every single time. More a whistle-swallower than a whistle-blower. So here we stand today, with the announcement of his support for Sen. Obama in the upcoming presidential election.
I wish I was writing this on the eve of the DNC instead of the election. Imagine what Powell’s support could have meant for the rough early months of the campaign! For while we see him as the opportunist he is, it is certainly possible that he could have swayed right-leaning independants early on. Making the announcement when he did, however, implies that he saw the direction the wind was blowing, and aligned himself with it as he has always done, likely in an attempt to curry favor with an incoming Obama administration which has openly stated its desire to work across party lines.
So while he receives praise from pundits and politicians alike for his “courage,” I say “Thanks but no thanks” to yet another rat jumping from the sinking ship which is 2008’s GOP.
Update: Right on time.