Fresh off doing everything he could to defeat Republican John McCain by endorsing Democrat Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Colin Powell is now directing his fire at Rush Limbaugh. In that interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, Powell says: “Can we continue to listen to Rush Limbaugh? Is this really the kind of party that we want to be when these kinds of spokespersons seem to appeal to our lesser instincts rather than our better instincts?”
Powell helpfully added that “There is nothing wrong with being conservative” (how gracious of him) and cautioned against just trying to appealing to African-Americans, Hispanic, and Asian voters based on “the principles and dogma.”
Where to begin? Perhaps by stating that I wish Colin Powell had once been as critical of Democrats who made false and malicious charges against his former boss, President Bush, as he is critical of Rush and other Republicans. It is odd when a man who votes for Barack Obama and is constantly lecturing Republicans insists he remains a Republican. Perhaps that is so his criticisms will gain greater currency.
Beyond that, I rather doubt Colin Powell’s bid for (non-coercive) censorship will be taken seriously by any of Rush’s listeners — a category that has apparently doesn’t included Mr. Powell, whose comments evince an ignorance of Rush’s program. Let’s just say Limbaugh is a more popular figure in the GOP than Mr. Powell. And in fact Rush has done more (hard) work to advance conservatism than Powell, who is constantly trying to undermine it.
Finally, Powell gives away the game when he downplays the importance of “principles and dogma.” In fact, it is precisely an appeal to principles that makes a political party a force for good in the life of a nation. If we downplay the role of principles, politics gets reduced to a power game and appeals to sentiment and theatrics.
I suspect that there are a few people in the world who, if they spoke critically of Rush, it would trouble him. I suspect Colin Powell isn’t on that list.