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Colin Powell: birthers killing the Republican party

Photo from Wikimedia CommonsGeneral Powell served his country as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and later as United States Secretary of State under George W. Bush. Powell, a moderate Republican, spoke to ABC News and said that the extremists, including the birthers, are destroying the Republican Party. This is a sentiment expressed by a few other brave Republican moderates, including Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) who said that the Republicans should tell the birthers that they are “crazy.”

Powell calls birtherism “nonsense” and an example of an “idiot presentation” that is to blame for the Party’s low approval rating.

Republicans have to stop buying into things that demonize the president. I mean, why aren’t Republican leaders shouting out about all this birther nonsense and all these other things? They should speak out. This is the kind of intolerance that I’ve been talking about where these idiot presentations continue to be made and you don’t see the senior leadership of the party say, ‘No, that’s wrong.’ In fact, sometimes by not speaking out, they’re encouraging it. And the base keeps buying the stuff.

And it’s killing the base of the party. I mean, 26 percent favorability rating for the party right now. It ought to be telling them something. So, instead of attacking me or whoever speaks like I do, look in the mirror and realize, ‘How are we going to win the next election?

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41 Responses to Colin Powell: birthers killing the Republican party

  1. avatar
    Reality Check January 22, 2013 at 8:35 am #

    They won’t listen to Powell. They just think he is standing up for Obama because he is …..um… you know…. black. The Republicans would rather win by vote suppression and rigging the Congressional districts and the electoral vote than admit people do not agree with them.

  2. avatar
    ZixiOfIx January 22, 2013 at 9:04 am #

    Birthers, and those who pander to them will never follow Mr. Powell’s advice. Not in a million years. They will continue to blame everyone and everything, and will never look in that mirror

    Republicans and birthers accuse Mr. Powell of being racist, of pandering, and worse. Much worse. This is just one more case of the Republican Party throwing away the military vote, the African American vote, and the moderate vote.

    The fact that this kind of rhetoric sickens active duty and retired military who rightly see Mr. Powell as one of their own, is lost on the birthers. They are unable to keep their nastiness to themselves, and they are unwilling to actually support active duty military and retired military in meaningful ways.

    It isn’t a coincidence that military members donated to and voted for President Obama over both Mitt Romney and John McCain.

    It isn’t a coincidence that in spite of trying to cozy up to the military, both Mitt Romney and John McCain lost the military vote to President Obama.

    Everything above applies equally to African Americans, moderates, and women, too.

    The current GOP seems t be somehow banking on getting elected without voters.

  3. avatar
    REVOLUTION OR ? January 22, 2013 at 9:15 am #

    [This comment by REVOLUTION OR ?, AKA Antelope, Deception LOSES, JAIL HIM lis pendens and WOT! has been deleted because it deals with gun control, which is not a relevant topic for this site. Doc.]

  4. avatar
    Thinker January 22, 2013 at 9:22 am #

    What is particularly satisfying about Powell’s comments about birferism is that birfers have sought his support for their cause. Remember when Dean Haskins offered to donate $15K to charity if Powell would listen to the birfers’ “evidence”? Several months later, the birfer superpac people upped the ante to $25K through an ad published in the Washington Times. #fail.

  5. avatar
    Dave January 22, 2013 at 9:27 am #

    I wouldn’t say the birthers were exactly seeking Powell’s support. Haskins plan was pretty transparently to produce a video he could represent as Powell being unable to refute birther “evidence.”

  6. avatar
    Pastor Charmley January 22, 2013 at 9:50 am #

    I should point out that from my rather detached transatlantic perspective, demonizing the President has been going on since at least the days of George Bush. I am a long-term water of the 9/11 Conspiracy theorists as well as the Birthers, and I can tell you that there were Truthers who were quite convinced that Bush would cancel the 2008 elections and declare martial law. Any group of people who believe that the President was responsible for the events of September 11th 2001 are certainly guilty of demonizing him. In fact I am sure that one reason that Sandy Hook conspiracy theories are springing up is a desire to attribute to Obama something akin to a false-flag terrorist attack.

    As I see it, these are all symptoms of a declining ability to engage in political debate on actual substantive policy issues. It does not only affect America, but it is very much in evidence there. Rather than argue that the other fellow is wrong, and here is why, it is much simpler to argue that he is evil because of some unsubstantiated charge made against him. Another attraction of the conspiracy theories is that they bypass the rather messy business of elections, so that rather than having to put a case to the nation, one can argue that the man in power should be removed. This is also why absurd charges of election fraud are being slung around. In short, we are in general turning into nations of bad losers.

  7. avatar
    Dave January 22, 2013 at 9:55 am #

    I think the birthers are more like the poster child for what’s ailing the GOP. The crux of the problem is right-wing media, Fox News, Limbaugh and the other talkers, Drudge and the other wingnuts websites, who are making money by telling crazies what they want to hear. It’s a valid business model. But by encouraging people who think stupid and crazy things, they’ve created a bad situation for GOP politicians. If they agree with the crazies, they drive away the non-crazy vote. But if they disagree, the crazies observe that the only person telling them things they don’t want to hear is the politician, and they get rid of him.

    I don’t think this is going to get resolved until the GOP gets some politicians who have the backbone to take on right-wing media.

  8. avatar
    Scientist January 22, 2013 at 10:10 am #

    As Dave noted, it isn’t just the birthers. No one should be deluded into thinking that even a full, frank and unambiguous condemnation of the birthers will suffice. Especially not now, after they no longer matter. I don’t think Gen Powell is saying this, though Sen Graham might be. Nor is it simply nuts vs sane. It is that the positions taken by the Republican party, even ones that are not “loony”, are out of touch with where the public is today.

    Run down the list-raising taxes on the rich:75-80% side with the President; abortion- 70% in a poll out today want Roe v Wade to remain in place (though some of those would accept some restrictions, like on late-term abortions); foreign policy-70% would oppose further interventions in the Middle-East (i.e., Iran); even same-sex marriage is a majority position these days. Nor are the trends running in the GOP’s favor; rather they are running against them. A party can take a minority position on a few issues where the public is closely divided, if they explain themselves well, but when your platform would be disapproved by at least 70% of the voters, you are in big trouble, and simply changing the tome or the spokesperson will not cure what ails you.

  9. avatar
    donna January 22, 2013 at 10:13 am #

    Dave: I don’t think this is going to get resolved until the GOP gets some politicians who have the backbone to take on right-wing media.

    OR until the old geezers in those districts DIE

    obama’s inauguration speech was NOT for OLD PEOPLE – especially NOT for fat, old, white guys

    this speech was for malia, who will vote in 2016

    it was for the 62% of americans who are between 16-62 today

    it was NOT for the 13% who are over 65 today

    it was a vision for HIS kids with the views of today’s demographics for the majority of this country

    his re-election was AFFIRMED in november by americans going forward

    and republicans were “STUNNED” in november because they are CLUELESS

  10. avatar
    Jim January 22, 2013 at 10:16 am #

    Dave:

    I don’t think this is going to get resolved until the GOP gets some politicians who have the backbone to take on right-wing media.

    It’s the pub voters who choose their representatives and it does no good to have a backbone if the other candidate tells them what they want to hear and wins.

  11. avatar
    GLaB January 22, 2013 at 10:51 am #

    I don’t think this is going to get resolved until the GOP gets some politicians who have the backbone to take on right-wing media.

    While I think you’re on the right track, even the right-wing media wouldn’t have the power it has but for the GOP’s real problem – they are a victim of their own success in gerrymandering. So many reps have no fear of challenge from the left – but they also have no support from the left against challenges from the right.

  12. avatar
    CarlOrcas January 22, 2013 at 11:59 am #

    donna:
    Dave: I don’t think this is going to get resolved until the GOP gets some politicians who have the backbone to take on right-wing media.

    OR until the old geezers in those districts DIE

    obama’s inauguration speech was NOT for OLD PEOPLE – especially NOT for fat, old, white guys

    this speech was for malia, who will vote in 2016

    it was for the 62% of americans who are between 16-62 today

    it was NOT for the 13% who are over 65 today

    it was a vision for HIS kids with the views of today’s demographics for the majority of this country

    his re-election was AFFIRMED in november by americans going forward

    and republicans were “STUNNED” in november because they are CLUELESS

    Great post!

  13. avatar
    gorefan January 22, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

    Pastor Charmley: demonizing the President has been going on since at least the days of George Bush

    I believe it really started with President Clinton and the widespread access to the internet.

  14. avatar
    CarlOrcas January 22, 2013 at 12:53 pm #

    gorefan: I believe it really started with President Clinton and the widespread access to the internet.

    Demonizing Presidents has a long history in the U.S. going back to the very first one.

    If you want to see some really nasty stuff look around the internet for political cartoons dealing with Lincoln.

  15. avatar
    DP January 22, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

    One thing I’m curious about is the impact of the Internet on all this now that it is ubiquitous. There have always been losers and idiots and buffoons whose heads are full of stupid, self destructive ideas. In fact, even decent folk can have such ideas but are normally jolted or shamed out of them by realizing their unacceptability in polite company. But the Internet has now created a reinforcement mechanism for fools and bigots and the grifters who prey on them. You can reach out into the electronic ether and find others like yourself and imagine they are, to use Nixon’s phrase, some “silent majority.” That can sustain, or even strengthen, the delusions in your head. For example, people can watch a video by Rudy what’s his name (Lone Star 1776) and somehow it never occurs to them that he is just a muddle headed person with racial issues (to be polite)

    Fox is simply another reinforcement mechanism. They marinate regular viewers in the idea that Obama is some god awful alien socialist instead of the run-of-the-mill democrat he is (or even a moderate Republican if you go back far enough). That reinforces the idea that something sinister must have occurred to elect Obama.

    It’s these reinforcement mechanisms that have made conservatism so completely unrecognizable to me anymore. I used to vote for Republicans a fair amount of the time in years past. Now that’s not even remotely on the table unless and until this sick fever breaks.

  16. avatar
    Horus January 22, 2013 at 1:21 pm #

    gorefan: I believe it really started with President Clinton and the widespread access to the internet.

    When Clinton was prez most cons didn’t know how to use the Internet, it was beyond their capabilities, then AOL came along and the whole Internet went to shit.

  17. avatar
    sfjeff January 22, 2013 at 3:20 pm #

    By the way- I think Powell represents one more example of the mealy mouth claim Republicans have to support
    ‘Veterans’.

    Any ‘veteran’ who doesn’t toe the far right party line is immediately denounced as anything from a toady to a traitor- the Republicans have a fine history of that from McCain to Powell to Chuck Hegal.

  18. avatar
    Proud Obot January 22, 2013 at 4:39 pm #

    I renew my lament about the quality of trolls we get around here; they used to at least be entertaining. Now they’re merely tedious, tendentious and mendacious.

  19. avatar
    Yoda January 22, 2013 at 4:48 pm #

    CarlOrcas: obama’s inauguration speech was NOT for OLD PEOPLE – especially NOT for fat, old, white guys

    Be careful I am old(ish), fat and white (although I am not sure I qualify as white because I am Jewish)

  20. avatar
    CarlOrcas January 22, 2013 at 5:03 pm #

    Yoda: OLD PEOPLE

    Actually those are donna’s words. I just agreed with the sentiment of her post.

  21. avatar
    Ben P. January 22, 2013 at 6:22 pm #

    Pastor Charmley:
    As I see it, these are all symptoms of a declining ability to engage in political debate on actual substantive policy issues. It does not only affect America, but it is very much in evidence there. Rather than argue that the other fellow is wrong, and here is why, it is much simpler to argue that he is evil because of some unsubstantiated charge made against him. Another attraction of the conspiracy theories is that they bypass the rather messy business of elections, so that rather than having to put a case to the nation, one can argue that the man in power should be removed. This is also why absurd charges of election fraud are being slung around. In short, we are in general turning into nations of bad losers.

    I wrote a long screed about this to some friends years ago. To hit the high notes, I point to a great exchange in Robert Bolt’s awesome play, “A Man for All Seasons”:

    CROMWELL: The King’s a man of conscience and he wants either Sir Thomas More to bless his marriage or Sir Thomas More destroyed.
    RICH: They seem odd alternatives, Secretary.
    CROMWELL: Do they? That’s because you’re not a man of conscience. If the King destroys a man, that’s proof to the King that it must have been a bad man, the kind of man a man of conscience ought to destroy-and of course a bad man’s blessing’s not worth having. So either will do.

    The bottom line is that when you take your politics from a combination of private convenience and prejudices and public morality, you make the choice to demonize the other guy for a very simple reason: Especially in the Christian faith, pride is sinful. To say “I am more good than you,” is prideful, hence it’s wrong. Therefore, you can’t say “My opponent is a good man, but I am more good than him and my ideas are better.” That’s pride and a sin.

    You can, however, say “My opponent is a bad man, and I am a good man,” because that’s not pride. That’s piety. And piety is good. Therefore, as a pious man, you are in fact a good man, and the reverse, that your opponent is a bad man, is axiomatically true by your subjective logic. QED.

    The other guy gets demonized in short, because a long line of ancient monks to Puritans decided it was sinful to debate intellectually whose ideas were better … just easier to say the other guy’s a sinner and you’re not, therefore you win.

  22. avatar
    Shame on Liberals Shame January 22, 2013 at 6:31 pm #

    Ahhh, Colin Poweless the racist who like Dr. Ignorance MUST defend the lawbreaking fraud Barry Saetoro because him be negro, you know?

    Negroes are untouchable because Colin looks down on them like Dr. Ignorance. They MUST get away with things like this because they are people who we look down on, they say in their pinhead minds.

    Thus showing the true, uhhh, colors of such people. Everybody that thinks like that abuse the negroes, from Lincoln to Dr. Igorance and every liberal in between.

    Release Sarah Palin and Ann Coulter…. please. Sook Colin and Dr. Ignorance, sook ‘em!

  23. avatar
    Northland10 January 22, 2013 at 7:25 pm #

    Shame on Liberals Shame: Negroes are untouchable because Colin looks down on them like Dr. Ignorance.

    Are you caught in some temporal loop that keeps you in the wrong century?

  24. avatar
    Keith January 22, 2013 at 7:29 pm #

    Yoda: Be careful I am old(ish), fat and white (although I am not sure I qualify as white because I amJewish)

    Shouldn’t your handle be ‘Jabba’ then?

  25. avatar
    Yoda January 22, 2013 at 7:31 pm #

    Keith: Shouldn’t your handle be ‘Jabba’ then?

    He is not white

  26. avatar
    Craig January 22, 2013 at 7:32 pm #

    I love the fact that Mr Powell called it an “idiot presentation”, multiple times. Basically telling the Birfers that he doesn’t give a damn how they rationalise or dismiss what he’s said, they’re still idiots.

    And Keith… not sure I’m seeing the Australian connection there. Mind you, I’m in Australia, so possibly it’s just not seeing the obvious because I’m overly familiar with it?

  27. avatar
    Keith January 22, 2013 at 7:38 pm #

    Yoda: He is not white

    Neither is Yoda

  28. avatar
    Keith January 22, 2013 at 7:40 pm #

    Craig: And Keith… not sure I’m seeing the Australian connection there. Mind you, I’m in Australia, so possibly it’s just not seeing the obvious because I’m overly familiar with it?

    I’m in Australia too. Melbourne.

    I’m not sure what you are referring to. I’ll happily expand on what ever I said if I can figure out what it is.

  29. avatar
    Keith January 22, 2013 at 7:47 pm #

    Craig: And Keith… not sure I’m seeing the Australian connection there. Mind you, I’m in Australia, so possibly it’s just not seeing the obvious because I’m overly familiar with it?

    Craig: By the way, Mr. Shame, your handle might actually work in Australia. Because the Liberal Party (notice the capital ‘L’ just like in your handle) is the backward, conservative, bigoted, xenophobic, party of ‘no’, in Australia.

    Oh, is this what you are referring to? You don’t see the connection? How long have you been in Oz. Perhaps you are pulling my leg?

    The person’s handle is “Shame on Liberals Shame”. ‘Liberals’ with a capital ‘L’ is a proper noun and happens to be the name of the main opposition party in Australia. They are the conservative party, and have all the shameful attributes I described and more. His handle would work perfectly in Australia on an Australian political blog/forum.

  30. avatar
    Dr Kenneth Noisewater January 22, 2013 at 8:09 pm #

    Shame on Liberals Shame:
    To all who replied to my post about Colin Poweless.My apologies.I did not want to shame you with the truth about racism and the man.It was not my intention, but yours.

    But you know, you people are fatherless.

    The only thing you’ve done is show how much of a racist asshat you are.

  31. avatar
    Jim January 22, 2013 at 8:17 pm #

    Shame on Liberals Shame:

    But you know, you people are fatherless.

    Yeah, it’s a shame that people who think for themselves can elect a President while people who have nothing but their bigotry and hate can only make insults like a 2nd grader.

  32. avatar
    Northland10 January 22, 2013 at 8:18 pm #

    Shame on Liberals Shame: But you know, you people are fatherless.

    Darn, I wish I would have known that before I spent all that time and money on my parent’s 50th.

  33. avatar
    Craig January 22, 2013 at 8:35 pm #

    Keith,

    I’m in Canberra, I’m aware the Liberals downunder spell with the big L! But I’m wondering if our mate Shame here isn’t some kind of SovCit, with their facination with certain dogwhistle words that must be capitalised and flag fringes or the lack thereof.

  34. avatar
    Majority Will January 22, 2013 at 8:37 pm #

    Ignore the idiot.

  35. avatar
    Birther Weary January 22, 2013 at 9:02 pm #


    Colin Powell: birthers killing the Republican party”

    This is great news. The sooner the better. Then maybe a sane second party can appear on the landscape.

  36. avatar
    CarlOrcas January 22, 2013 at 9:16 pm #

    Craig:
    Keith,

    I’m in Canberra, I’m aware the Liberals downunder spell with the big L!But I’m wondering if our mate Shame here isn’t some kind of SovCit, with their facination with certain dogwhistle words that must be capitalised and flag fringes or the lack thereof.

    In one of the posts from whoever this person is he/she used the word “sook” which comes back as a term for a timid or cowardly person in New Zealand/Australian usage. Never heard it when I was down there but I live a sheltered life.

  37. avatar
    Craig January 22, 2013 at 11:42 pm #

    That use of sook is weird. Definitely a word in use in Oz/New Zealand, but when we were kids we’d call each other sooks if we were being crybabies or having a good winge. Shame’s usage there is… I dunno. Just as off-kilter and divorced from reality as the rest of his rant. But yes, in combination with big L Liberals, I can definitely see what you and Keith have already picked up on, now.

    Wouldn’t surprise me now if this idiot listens to Alan Jones all day long.

  38. avatar
    LANI January 23, 2013 at 4:18 am #

    “Sook”? Perhaps the intention was “souk”? More Muslimy.

  39. avatar
    Keith January 23, 2013 at 5:35 am #

    CarlOrcas: In one of the posts from whoever this person is he/she used the word “sook” which comes back as a term for a timid or cowardly person in New Zealand/Australian usage. Never heard it when I was down there but I live a sheltered life.

    LANI:
    “Sook”? Perhaps the intention was “souk”?More Muslimy.

    I think from the way she/he/it is using it that the word is meant to be ‘sic’ as in “sic the dogs on ‘em” or “sic ‘em Fido!”. It apparently derives from the word ‘seek’.

    SICK/SIC

    Craig: Wouldn’t surprise me now if this idiot listens to Alan Jones all day long.

    Quite. Another bullet point to add to my list of things that makes Melbourne better than Sydney – no Alan Jones polluting the airwaves.

    For those who don’t know Australia, Jones was coach of he Australian National Rugby Union team during some of its greatest accomplishments in the last half century. He is now a Sydney based RWNJ shock jock. Think of a Glen Beck/Rush Limbaugh clone that right wing politicians feel beholden to pay attention to. He lost a lot of brownie points (and all of his advertisers for a period at least) when he said that the Prime Minister’s father, who had just died, would be ashamed of her. He is lower than a cockroach. Fortunately he is not broadcast in Melbourne.

  40. avatar
    Scientist January 23, 2013 at 7:33 am #

    LANI: “Sook”? Perhaps the intention was “souk”? More Muslimy.

    I used to live in Baltimore, and there, the word “sook” refers to the female of the Chesapeake blue crab. The males are called “jimmies”. The sooks are preferred for she-crab soup, whiie the males are preferred for the table.

  41. avatar
    Dave B. January 23, 2013 at 8:23 pm #

    He’d be better off watching Allan Jones with the Marx Brothers.

    Craig: Wouldn’t surprise me now if this idiot listens to Alan Jones all day long.

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