Monday, October 20, 2008

Identity politics at it's lowest. Shame on you Colin Powell.

I want to explain to you in no uncertain terms why Colin Powell is endorsing Barack Obama. I know that many of you who are incapable of understanding anything beyond the politically correct surface will label me a racist after this post. That's okay.

There is only one reason why Ronald Reagan's National Security Adviser, George H. Bush's Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and George W. Bush's Secretary of State would abandon his party, ideals and everything he supposedly stands for in order to endorse someone whose ideas for this country are basically socialist.

Colin Powell is a black man. Barack Obama is a black man.

That's it. Nothing else. And if you are telling yourself something other than that, you are deluding yourself.

This is identity politics, folks, and it is low. Shame on you, Mr. Powell. Think President Reagan would agree with your endorsement, Mr. Powell? You could have still been proud of Mr. Obama for getting as far as he's gotten without selling out. You are cheapening the meaning of your endorsement and sucking all the credibility out of your career. And by going with identity politics instead of voting for the best person for the job, you are being racist. Yes.

I'm disgusted. This is just as idiotic as women voting for Hillary Clinton or Sarah Palin because they want to see a woman in the White House, except it's worse because of Mr. Powell's betrayal of the people who have helped him get to where he is, not to mention his abandonment of his ideals. Because of race.

Race means nothing, folks. NOTHING. It's a skin color, for crying out loud.

Do you have ANY IDEA WHAT IS AT STAKE HERE PEOPLE? You don't vote for the most popular kid at school to be Leader of the Free World. You are selling off your future because it feels good to vote for a black man, even when that man is utterly wrong for leading this country. Shame.


Anonymous said...

And there is only one reason why the former Democratic nominee for VP would abandon his party, ideals and everything he supposedly stands for in order to endorse someone whose ideas for this country are basically non-existent.

Joe Lieberman is a white man. Barack Obama is a black man.

WebGirl said...

Not comparing apples to apples. The Dems abandoned Lieberman in his primary race against Ned Lamont (after serving THREE TERMS in that seat). Lamont won the endorsement of party leaders like Hillary Clinton, while they threw Lieberman under the bus, mostly because he disagreed with them on the Iraq war. Lieberman went on to win the general election anyway (running as an independent). Understandably, he is pissed off at his party. And while he remains a Democrat, he is still a staunch supporter of the war. Wouldn't make any sense for him to endorse any one but McCain.

You know, Anonymous, that it's not the same thing and you're just trying to make a point. But it's a point that is not well taken. Republican leadership never screwed Powell over the way Democratic leadership screwed Lieberman over. And Lieberman's ideals are much closer to the Republican candidate that the Democratic one. Republican leadership made Powell's career and look to him as a leader and role model.

At least, they did.

anon1 said...

Maybe just maybe Powell is so embarassed by the party that he was a part of for so long. Maybe

Lubab No More said...

Do you suppose Gen. Powell's thought out, intelligent attack of the McCain campaign was simply an ingenious cover? Or do you honestly believe that someone who worked for Clinton (and was registered as an Independent) could never support a Democrat for any reason other than race because he worked in a Republican administration?

WebGirl said...

Powell said Obama would be an "exceptional" leader citing the "inclusive nature of his campaign". "I think he is a transformational figure, he is a new generation coming onto the world stage, onto the American stage, and for that reason I'll be voting for Senator Barack Obama," Powell said.

What is so intelligent and thought out about this? It's more of the same claptrap about Obama. When did he ever work for Clinton? When was Powell ever registered as an Independent? As far as I know, Presidents Reagan, Bush I and Bush II made his political career and gave him some of the highest appointments in the land. And it's not so problematic to me that Powell is endorsing a Democrat. What is problematic to me is that Powell is endorsing the most left-leaning, liberal, borderline socialist man in the Senate, contrary to what we all thought were his long-standing ideals, and that he is doing it for one reason only: race. To me that is just as bigoted as if someone would not support Obama because he was black. Powell has turned his back on the people that gave him his career and made him a political hero and role model. Think Ronald Reagan would give Obama the time of day?

Shame on Powell. Shame on his identity politics. And ironically, this is the very sort of thing that promotes racism. Powell has completely lost my respect (and he had a lot of it) for his sellout, and at this point he disgusts me.

Lubab No More said...

> What is so intelligent and thought out about this? It's more of the same claptrap about Obama.

I hope you are not intentionally misreading my words. I said Powell gave a "thought out, intelligent attack of the McCain campaign." In his endorsement Powell spends more time talking about McCain and his approach to the campaign than he does about Obama.

> When did he ever work for Clinton? When was Powell ever registered as an Independent?

Powell was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Clinton during Clinton's first term. (link) (Clinton chose to keep him on after Bush I). Through his time in the military Powell was registered as an independent. (link) Both of these facts are also backed up in this Washington Post article on the endorsement.

I don't understand why you think that race MUST be the only factor for why Powell would endorse Obama. I don't know if you watched the endorsement yet but Powell specifically addresses your allegation regarding race. Here is a link to the video: Colin Powell endorses Obama : Meet The Press

If you said Powell is just endorsing Obama so he can get a spot in his administration then I might hear you. It would make more sense too. Powell essentially didn't speak up until the polls gave Obama about a double digit lead. If this was just about race then why didn't Powell endorse Barack back when it might have made a difference?

The race angle just doesn't add up.

Also, there are many, many, many conservatives who are supporting Obama. Francis Fukuyama, adviser to President Reagan, Scott McClellan, Former Press Secretary to Bush, Christopher Buckley, National Review columnist, Andrew Sullivan, editor of the Atlantic Monthly to name a few. The list goes on if you are interested (Link)

There are many intelligent people who support Barack Obama for reasons other than race. I really do not understand why you assume Powell could ONLY be supporting Obama because they both share dark skin.

WebGirl said...


I would never intentionally misread anyone's comment.

Looking back now and re-reading what Powell said about McCain, I find it neither well thought-out nor intelligent, but just a regurgitation of what the Obama campaign has been saying about McCain. Nothing new or interesting there. He's just parroting Obama propaganda. I was also shocked that he claimed that some prominent members of the Republican party claimed Obama was a Muslim. Who, specifically, has said that? Has John McCain said that? Has anyone from Republican leadership said that? More Obama propaganda. Now mind you, Powell is a very intelligent man, so his delivery is very sound and intelligent, but I challenge virtually everything he says. Obama's campaign is inclusive? How? Give me an example. Obama is reaching across the aisle? How? Give me an example. Obama understands the economic crisis better than McCain does? How? Give me an example. I could go on for pages.

I would be surprised if Obama gave Powell a job in his administration, since Powell's acting foreign policies have nothing in common with what Obama has been saying about foreign relations. Which of course makes me wonder once again what these two men have in common and why Powell endorsed Obama.

I looked through the list of Republicans and former Republicans (I would hesitate to call any of these people Conservatives except for Chris Buckley) who endorsed Obama, and none shocked me as much as Powell did. Again, Powell's betrayal is not so much one of party but of ideals and of record. I know I'm not verbalizing this clearly enough.

As far as his timing, his endorsement could not come at a more crucial time. In this close race, there are (unbelieveably) still quite a few fence-sitters, and this endorsement will certainly hurt McCain. I believe that his timing was strategic. There were rumors that Powell was going to speak at the DNC in endorsement of Obama, and I just could not believe that, and frankly was relieved when he didn't. Now I understand why he held out.

I didn't realize that Powell stayed on for 10 months into the Clinton presidency. Same thing about being an independent. My apologies. Frankly, the fact that he was registered as an independent during his time in the military doesn't tell me that much. If he was registered as a Dem, it would tell me more.

Anyway, I'm done with Powell. He's completely lost my respect. Not that he's losing any sleep over that.

Look, I would never say that the only reason that a black man would vote for Obama is because he's a black man. That would make me a racist. Powell is not just an ordinary black voter. This is a man whose ideals and political career has been rooted in the Republican party and whose record is much closer to that of John McCain than that of Barack Obama.

Anonymous said...

Too bad a few more Jews in Florida didn't vote for Gore/Lieberman in 2000 just because Lieberman is a Jew. Or for whatever reason.

WebGirl said...

You're sort of making my point. While I was very proud that Lieberman, a fellow Ortho Jew, achieved getting as far as he did, I didn't vote for him because his politics (and those of Gore) were much too liberal for me. I feel the same way now. I would never pick a candidate because he was the same _____ (fill in the blank) as me. That's identity politics. I'm still allowed to be thrilled at his achievement, but I will always select the best man or woman for the job, period.

Lubab No More said...

> While I was very proud that Lieberman, a fellow Ortho Jew, achieved getting as far as he did, I didn't vote for him because his politics

Out of curiosity, what if I told you that I chose to vote for Lieberman because he was qualified AND he came from a similar background and therefore I feel that he would understand the issues I care about (and fight harder for them) because he understands my experience in a way that no other candidate can? Is that "identity politics" or is that voting for my self interest?

WebGirl said...

Not sure what you mean by "he came from a similar background." I'm not trying to be difficult, just to understand. Do you mean that you both grew up Orthodox? What would that have to do with his qualifications for Vice Presidency?

To answer your question, if theoretically, you thought Leiberman was the most qualified, sure, of course you should vote for him. But what is your theoretical background and where are you coming from? If you were someone whose career in politics was virtually made by leaders of the Republican party, if your record, policies and ideals were rooted for decades in Republican principles, and if you yourself were considered an icon of the Republican party, I would definitely question why you were voting for a Democrat who just happened to be an Orthodox Jew, same as you. See the difference? It's not enough. It's not enough to vote for someone because he is an Orthodox Jew just because you are, if your entire political career has been pointed elsewhere.

Isophorone said...

It's so funny that Colin Powell was just a character witness for Ted Stevens. Some great judgment going there?

Lubab No More said...

I'm not trying to make the case for Powell. I'm asking about the validity of "identity politics".

Let's say someone is an independent, they think Lieberman is qualified and they like that he "gets" that frum tuition is insane and that it is an issue that he might be able to help with. McCain or Obama might know that this is an issue that matters to frum people but they will never understand it like Joe does. Joe has actually paid for frum high school tuition.

Is it wrong for this Independent to vote for someone with a similar culture/background if they see that empathy as a benefit?

WebGirl said...

I suppose you can't argue with that, since in your example, it seems that the candidate's identity makes him more qualified for the office, at least in the eyes of the voter who shares that aspect of his identity. You can't dismiss with the desirability of anything that makes you more qualified for office. It seems silly not to vote for someone whom you think is the best candidate, for whatever reason.

Here's how Wiki defines it:

Identity politics is political action to advance the interests of members of a group whose members are oppressed by virtue of a shared and marginalized identity (such as race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or neurological wiring).

(Not sure what that neurological wiring thing means.)

Lubab No More said...

I don't know about wiki's definition. I think it could be consistent with what I was saying.

(advance the interests (tax breaks for private school) of members of a group (Orthodox Jews) whose members are oppressed (they pay for and don't use public school[?]))
I don't know if that applies correctly. It's a pretty badly worded (and redundant) wiki definition.

The definition for "identity politics" that I was using was "I'm voting for the Jew/Black/Mormon because I'm Jewish/Black/Mormon."

Where I'm going with this is if you take my example and switch "Jew" with "Black." And then switch "understands about frum tuition" with "understands what it's like to not get a cab/apartment/etc." Then you may understand why someone would vote based on "identity."

Personally, I think that is a legitimate rational for casting a vote.

Is all I'm saying.

WebGirl said...

Ok, that's pretty clear. I understand what you mean now about why a black man would want to vote for a black man, but I'm not sure I agree with it. Actually, I don't agree with it at all. I don't think it's the job of the executive branch of government to solve those problems (what it's like not to get a cab/apartment, etc.). Racial discrimination is already illegal. Changing the feelings of some bigoted individuals who still discriminate is not going to necessarily be addressed by putting a black man into office. (Parenthetically, it will work against you if that's what you're looking for, because everytime a President Obama missteps, the bigots will chalk it up to his being black. That was one of my fears with an Ortho Jewish VP and anti-Semites).

In any case, I get your point, but I still think it's a poor excuse to vote someone into office, especially an office like the Presidency.

And in Powell's case, it was utterly inexcusable.

America is a country of ideas, not identities.