Is Powell OK now?
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell endorsing Barack Obama for President shouldn’t come as a huge shock. After all, Powell’s service in the cabinets of two Republican Presidents (Bush 41 and Bush 43) had less to do with the respective administration’s political leanings as much as it did with his acumen in the matters of National Security. As Ed Morrissey astutely points out, Powell could easily have served as Secretary of State in a Clinton administration as much as in a Bush administration.
But the mere fact Powell even associated with the GOP at one time resulted in sheer disdain emanating from many black activists, most notably singer Harry Belafonte. Almost exactly six years ago today, Belafonte had these racially tinged comments about Powell serving in the Bush administration:
"Colin Powell is permitted to come into the house of the master, as long as he will serve the master according to the master's plans," Belafonte said. "And when Colin Powell dares suggest something other than what the master wants to hear, he will be turned back out to pasture. And you don't hear much from those who live in the pasture."
As it turned out, Powell was anything but a robotic servant during his tenure in the Bush cabinet. It was no secret that he and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld had some tense moments regarding the Iraq war. Powell would go on to voluntarily resign his post as Secretary of State upon Bush’s re-election.
And as Powell proved this weekend, he is indeed his own man. So when he says his endorsement of Obama has nothing to do with race, I am inclined to believe him.
The question now is will the major players in the African-American community, who seemingly ostracized Powell for serving in the Bush administration, embrace him now that he has endorsed the first ever black nominee?