George Will, Rush Limbaugh, Pat Buchanan, are bigots. Deep down inside, or bubbling unbid to the open in the face of having nothing else in their bag of tricks, they believe that America means conservativism and conservatism stands for the preservation of an Ameirca perpetually dominated by wealthy white males.
Attacking the messenger is predictable fodder this close to an election, but when the messenger is someone as distinguished and respected as Colin Powell, especially in Republican circles, there's not a who heckuvalot of ammunition available, not when he says something like this, what Juan Cole calls his "finest moment."
I'm also troubled by, not what Senator McCain says, but what members of the party say. And it is permitted to be said such things as, "Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim." Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim, he's a Christian. He's always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer's no, that's not America. Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president? Yet, I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion, "He's a Muslim and he might be associated terrorists." This is not the way we should be doing it in America.People, it's common knowledge that the GOP is a sanctuary for racists. Argue if you must, but it is merely a side-effect of political correctness that we never discuss in polite company just why they don't attract minorities or better educated constituencies, and are left with bed-wetting nutbags.
I feel strongly about this particular point because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was a photo essay about troops who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery, and she had her head on the headstone of her son's grave. And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone. And it gave his awards--Purple Heart, Bronze Star--showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, date of death. He was 20 years old. And then, at the very top of the headstone, it didn't have a Christian cross, it didn't have the Star of David, it had crescent and a star of the Islamic faith. And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, and he was an American. He was born in New Jersey. He was 14 years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he can go serve his country, and he gave his life. Now, we have got to stop polarizing ourself in this way. And John McCain is as nondiscriminatory as anyone I know. But I'm troubled about the fact that, within the party, we have these kinds of expressions.'
Birds of a feather . . .
But please understand, I by no means believe that all Republicans are racists. That's absurd. But as Powell said, racisim is tolerated within the ranks of the GOP. "It is permitted to be said . . ." That racism is allowed, even exploited by the Republican Party -- and it is, has been for a long time -- diminishes the contributions and accomplishments of General Powell and people like Condoleeza Rice and even Alberto Gonzales, folks who ostensibly rose to their positions on merit and neither despite or because of their minority status. At least that's what we were led to believe by the guy who hired them (even if he didn't fool anyone). That's the way it should have been, anyway, and I'm pretty sure Powell earned his stripes even if the others got a White House parking space for being Loyal Bushies.
Reacting to Powell's endorsement as simply the token black guy in the Bush Administration going with his own kind is beyond insulting in light of the scathing indictment against McCain's performance Powell offered. Those who still gather under the GOP banner must recognize they have a huge problem on their hands. When they lose Powell they've got their work cut out for them.
Kevin Madden, a GOP veteran who was the press secretary for Mitt Romney's presidential bid, said that "Colin Powell was a proxy for our party's ability to persuade Democrats and independents to join a center-right coalition of ideas built around economic conservatism and a strong national defense. The endorsement is emblematic of the challenges we face as a party when it comes to winning back these voters."The problem with the Wills, Buchanans and Limbaughs of the world is that they refuse to listen to what Powell said.
"This Powell endorsement is the nail in the coffin," said one Republican official, speaking anonymously to offer candid thoughts about the party's nominee. "Not just because of him, but the indictment he laid out of the McCain campaign."Personally, I don't believe the GOP is salvageable. Contemporaneously with the fall of Reaganomics as a legitimate governing theory, so too has the Reagan coalition been irreparably fractured.
They will reform, of that I've no doubt. And they probably will lurch further to the right before they again learn to compromise (or a plausible portrayal of reasonability) and find the center again. But the party that will emerge (or the one that takes it's place) will not be something easily recognizable for those of us steeped in the tradition of opposing Nixon, Reagan and the Bushes. What's frightening is that it might be transformed into something someone like me doesn't instinctively reject out of hand. But that might be a good thing.
But they'd have to get rid of the bigot wing of the party for me to be fooled.
As long as people like Limbaugh and his apostles Hannity, O'Reilly and the Michaels Reagan and Savage pollute the airwaves, answerable to no one and accountable only to their bankers, until such personifications of hate and the perpetuation of divisivness and bigotry they represent are publically rebuked by a political right who otherwise relies on their propaganda, we really won't see the end of this stuff.