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The Powell Endorsement & The Courts:

Colin Powell endorsed Senator Barack Obama today on Meet the Press. I missed the interview, but I found it notable that Powell said: "I would have difficulty with two more conservative appointments to the Supreme Court, but that's what we'd be looking at in a McCain administration." This was among the few concrete policy-related reasons Powell gave for his decision, which is particularly interesting given Powell's disagreement with Obama on many foreign policy issues.

Donny:
Your last sentence doesn't make any sense. Can you unpack it a bit? Why is his mention of the Supreme Court particularly interesting given disagreements over foreign policy?
10.19.2008 10:29pm
Asher (mail):
I found it odd, since judicial nominations clearly weren't a problem for Powell in 2000. In fact, I think most people would expect McCain's nominees to be a hair more moderate than Bush's.
10.19.2008 10:31pm
Donny:
You don't see why having a Republican replace Stevens and Ginsburg is different from having a Republican replace Rehnquist and O'Connor?
10.19.2008 10:34pm
Nathan_M (mail):
Colin Powell is pro-choice, so I don't see why this particular concern of his is so surprising.

That said, I thought his endorsement was very thoughtful, and it is unfair to imply that the court was his only substantive concern.
10.19.2008 10:35pm
TE Lawrence (mail) (www):
One could argue that the Supreme Court has been favorable to Colin Powell's view of foreign policy over the past few years, given its decisions in Boumediene, Hamdan and the other terrorism cases. It's been the one branch of government with the spine to oppose the immoral, myopic and unlawful detention and interrogation regime set up by the Bush Administration.

However, clearly there's more at stake here than detention policy. Powell cares about social issues too -- including but not limited to abortion and affirmative action. In the event of that Stevens or Ginsberg steps down, Powell probably thinks it would be awful to replace them with Scalia III and Scalia IV (Scalia Jr being Alito).

Powell's right.
10.19.2008 10:36pm
Asher (mail):
You don't see why having a Republican replace Stevens and Ginsburg is different from having a Republican replace Rehnquist and O'Connor?

I see the difference, but that assumes that people knew in 2000 that Rehnquist and O'Connor were the ones Bush was going to be replacing. Stevens (b. 1920) is, or rather was, older than either.
10.19.2008 10:50pm
wt (www):
Ok, but did Powell vote for Bush in 2000 and/or 2004? It definitely wasn't clear that Stevens and Ginsburg (and even Souter) would survive all 8 years of Bush's terms.

To that extent, Powell very much risked placing Roe v. Wade in danger by supporting Bush, if he did so. All it would have taken was an O'Connor retirement (which did happen) combined with a Stevens or Ginsburg departure (which did not).
10.19.2008 10:55pm
Donny:
Actually, Rehnquist and O'Connor were seen as the most likely departures. See, e.g., Charles Lane &Amy Goldstein, At High Court, a Retirement Watch; Rehnquist, O'Connor Top List of Possibilities as Speculation on Replacement Grows, Wash. Post, A04, June 17, 2001.

Rehnquist had a history of health problems that were no secret. And it was known that O'Connor wanted to leave.
10.19.2008 10:57pm
LPC (mail):
He also claimed that McCain's campaign shows that the GOP has moved too far to the right, even though McCain is probably the most liberal GOP nominee since Ford, and Powell stayed a Republican throughout.

I don't think Powell is doing Obama any favors. Based on both media reports and people I've actually spoken to, a lot of working class whites seem to be concerned that "Obama will favor 'the blacks'." Having a prominent black Republican who has never before endorsed a Democrat endorse a black Democrat plays into this fear.

I'm not impugning Powell's motives; I'm just questioning how this will play among swing voters already uneasy because of Obama's race. Limbaugh understands this, and made a statement wondering how many white liberals Powell has endorsed.
10.19.2008 10:58pm
venkat:
LPC, I think you're missing Powell's point. Powell is center-right and I think his position reduces to this: he would rather take a 50% gamble on Obama being a center-left president than a 30% gamble on a center-right presidency (based on the likelihood of McCain's death). Palin and the recent Ayers attacks have pushed him in this direction. That's about it. Not much more to it. And all the conservative defectors came to their conclusions using similar logic.
10.19.2008 11:05pm
Asher (mail):

Rehnquist had a history of health problems that were no secret. And it was known that O'Connor wanted to leave.


And Stevens was 80. And that article is dated after the election. I mean, maybe Powell was worried about conservative judges in 2000 too, but was even more interested in his job opportunities. That seems like a more reasonable explanation to me.
10.19.2008 11:06pm
Laura S.:
Wait a minute. Wasn't Powell listening when McCain was asked about litmus tests for judges? Or how McCain barely managed to get the republican party to support him because everyone believes he'd appoint fairly liberal judges.
10.19.2008 11:15pm
Asher (mail):
Wasn't Powell listening when McCain was asked about litmus tests for judges?

Not to be a one-man thread, but

a) everybody says that (including Bush in 2000)

b) McCain also said this:

SCHIEFFER: But even if it was someone -- even someone who had a history of being for abortion rights, you would consider them?

MCCAIN: I would consider anyone in their qualifications. I do not believe that someone who has supported Roe v. Wade that would be part of those qualifications.

Ambiguous statement, thanks to Johnny Mac's shaky command of the English language, but it sounds to me like he's saying that anyone who's vocally supported Roe, in his view, is underqualified at best, not qualified at all at worst.
10.19.2008 11:23pm
Brian G (mail) (www):
Nice work by Mr. Powell to wait to see how the wind is blowing before he speaks up. A true politician in every sense of the word, Mr. Powell is, no matter his public image.
10.19.2008 11:23pm
Old33 (mail):
I recall that in 2003, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell ventured into the University of Michigan cases that were before the Court. Sec. Powell disagreed with the position taken by the Administration...he favored upholding the University's affirmative action policies.

From CBS News, January 20, 2003:
Secretary of State Colin Powell said Sunday he disagrees with President Bush's position on an affirmative action case before the Supreme Court, as the White House called for more money for historically black colleges.

Powell, one of two black members of Mr. Bush's Cabinet, said he supports methods the University of Michigan uses to bolster minority enrollments in its undergraduate and law school programs. The policies offer points to minority applicants and set goals for minority admissions.

"Whereas I have expressed my support for the policies used by the University of Michigan, the president, in looking at it, came to the conclusion that it was constitutionally flawed based on the legal advice he received," Powell said on CBS News' "Face the Nation."


Sec. Powell cannot have liked how one of those cases turned out. Nor the direction that the Court has gone since 2003 in Meredith v. Jefferson County Bd. of Education and Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1.

To my memory, that's the only time Colin Powell has spoken out about a Supreme Court case.
10.19.2008 11:27pm
Roger Schlafly (www):
Powell's endorsement mostly concerned matters that were outside his areas of expertise. He did not sound any more convincing than any other pundit.
10.19.2008 11:36pm
J. Aldridge:
Since whites are headed to be minorities very soon I agree with Powell. /s
10.19.2008 11:38pm
therut (mail):
Powell in pro-abortion and anti-2nd amendment... He is probably afraid the 2nd amendment will be enforced and not gutted.
10.19.2008 11:56pm
ArtEclectic (mail):
I have the same feeling as Powell. Whether you like it or not, it is imperative that the court remain divided between liberal and conservative justices - the division helps restrain the excesses of either side. Our entire system of government is set up to balance power so that it cannot run unchecked from any branch.
10.20.2008 12:06am
Lev:

Ok, but did Powell vote for Bush in 2000 and/or 2004?


He did agree, well before the 2000 election, to be Bush's Sec of State, and, when he announced he would be leaving his secretary of stateship in 2004 said he would be available/like to stay on pending selection and confirmation of his replacement.


MR. BROKAW: And you are fully aware that there will be some--how many, no one can say for sure--but there will be some who will say this is an African-American, distinguished American, supporting another African-American because of race.

GEN. POWELL: If I had only had that in mind, I could have done this six, eight, 10 months ago.


Powell has always been a political operator. How likely is it he would endorse the white guy agains The First Black Presidential Candidate, retain his reputation?

Why would he have not made the endorsement 6, 8 10 months ago? Because he knows his endorsement carries weight because he is Colin Powell, Nonpartisan; Obama did not need his endorsement back then and he did not need to get on the train before it left the station; as a politician, he sees this is the last minute before the train leaves the station where months ago it was not; as a general, he knows the maximum benefit of a big gun in the electoral campaign is now, now months ago; and, as a politician, he knows people will notice it now and it would be headlines, where if he had done it then it would now be forgotten.
10.20.2008 12:15am
Lev:

Whether you like it or not, it is imperative that the court remain divided between liberal and conservative justices - the division helps restrain the excesses of either side.


I would say it is imperative that the court be purged of political liberals and political conservatives who make stuff up as they go along based on their personal policy preferences.

The current confirmation process is set up exactly to put on the Court political liberals and political conservatives who make stuff up as they go along based on their personal policy preferences.
10.20.2008 12:19am
geokstr:
Just yesterday on a thread concerning the supposed "racist" campaign McCain is running, I said that I would happily vote for Powell for president. However, after seeing him on the tube today, I lost all respect for him.

He said it is ridiculous to say that Obama has information about terrorists.

Huh?

No one ever accused Obama of that. His relationship with Ayers is a question about his judgment, and when combined with all the other radicals and Marxists Obama has admitted to surrounding himself with all his life, raises a concern about his philosophy and worldview.

Powell is either uninformed, or misinformed.
10.20.2008 12:27am
RPT (mail):
"Schafly:

Powell's endorsement mostly concerned matters that were outside his areas of expertise. He did not sound any more convincing than any other pundit."

What in your view is his area of expertise? Military matters? Affairs of state? The use of racial code words in the McCain campaign? It took until now to get to the "blacks on welfare" cue?
10.20.2008 12:46am
Pashley (mail):
People should not be surprised that someone with an extended government work history would not feel comfortable with the socially conservative party. Those are issues and concerns not on their radar. BTW, that applies doubly to McCain.
10.20.2008 12:53am
LM (mail):
LPC:

I'm not impugning Powell's motives; I'm just questioning how this will play among swing voters already uneasy because of Obama's race. Limbaugh understands this, and made a statement wondering how many white liberals Powell has endorsed.

Maybe I'm missing something, but if you're not impugning Powell's motives, why repeat Limbaugh's "wondering," which seems intended to do precisely that?
10.20.2008 12:54am
Old33 (mail):
He said it is ridiculous to say that Obama has information about terrorists.

Huh?

No one ever accused Obama of that.

I'm afraid you misheard Colin Powell.

Here's his quote regarding Obama and Ayers:
And I've also been disappointed, frankly, by some of the approaches that Senator McCain has taken recently, or his campaign ads, on issues that are not really central to the problems that the American people are worried about. This Bill Ayers situation that's been going on for weeks became something of a central point of the campaign. But Mr. McCain says that he's a washed-out terrorist. Well, then, why do we keep talking about him? And why do we have these robocalls going on around the country trying to suggest that, because of this very, very limited relationship that Senator Obama has had with Mr. Ayers, somehow, Mr. Obama is tainted. What they're trying to connect him to is some kind of terrorist feelings. And I think that's inappropriate.

What Powell described is absolutely correct. The McCain campaign has not been, as you said, simply raising questions about Obama's judgment. These robocalls, the TV ads, and the entire team of hangers-on (from Palin to Hannity) have been making the case that Obama was connected to Ayers' terrorist activities.
10.20.2008 12:54am
BlackX (mail):

MCCAIN: I would consider anyone in their qualifications. I do not believe that someone who has supported Roe v. Wade that would be part of those qualifications.


Wondered how long--after the earlier debate comments--that someone would start using that out of context.
10.20.2008 12:55am
Roger Schlafly (www):
What in your view is his area of expertise? Military matters? Affairs of state? The use of racial code words in the McCain campaign?
Yes. Yes. No.
10.20.2008 1:07am
pedro (mail):
I thought Powell's endorsement was thoughtful and compelling. Like Powell, I have a favorable view of Senator McCain, a not so favorable view of his pick for running mate, and a very unfavorable view of the turn the McCain-Palin campaign has recently taken. And like Powell, in spite of substantive disagreements I may have with Senator Obama, I find him to be an inspiring figure and a strong Presidential candidate. Finally, like Powell, I do not wish to see a Republican picking the next Justices to join the Supreme Court. I do not want my kids to grow up in a country in which a handful of extremely socially conservative Republican appointees get to "interpret" the Constitution in a way that, quite frankly, inhibits moral progress.
10.20.2008 1:10am
pedro (mail):
It is funny how someone can claim to be willing to vote for Powell for President of the US one day, and loses *all* respect for Powell the next day. It's all or nothing out there during silly season in politics.
10.20.2008 1:15am
Constantin:
"It is funny how someone can claim to be willing to vote for Powell for President of the US one day, and loses *all* respect for Powell the next day. It's all or nothing out there during silly season in politics."

Agreed. It's also funny that Colin Powell can be a war criminal who lied to lead thousands to their slaughter for oil one day, and a paragon of wisdom whose endorsement should clinch the election the next.
10.20.2008 1:31am
Prosecutorial Indiscretion:
I have the same feeling as Powell. Whether you like it or not, it is imperative that the court remain divided between liberal and conservative justices - the division helps restrain the excesses of either side. Our entire system of government is set up to balance power so that it cannot run unchecked from any branch

Wouldn't that principle lend support to McCain's candidacy?
10.20.2008 1:59am
Dan M.:
I don't respect any so-called conservative who deludes himself by endorsing Obama. I can understand Conservatives who distance themselves from McCain, and I definitely understand those who've distanced themselves from Bush, but you simply have no conservative credentials if you endorse Barack Obama. Colin Powell is pretty clearly an ultimate RINO, which is pretty bad considering that half the party could be considered RINOs after this bailout business.

I have no respect for any "conservative" who endorses Obama this election, especially someone who gives such bullshit reasons. It's like Colin Powell is just a big part of David Axelrod's race-bating astro-turfing campaign. He gets a prominent RINO to endorse Obama, and then when conservatives criticize him, the Obama campaign gets to call us all racists again (sort of like Joe Biden in San Francisco recently saying that a lot of people aren't culturally ready for the first black president).

But, seriously, if you're truly a conservative and you aren't happy with John McCain, endorse Bob Barr or Chuck Baldwin.
10.20.2008 2:01am
mummifiedstalin (mail):
Constantin: Much as I may disagree with the politics from which your comment probably comes from, I've got to say you make a damn good point.
10.20.2008 2:02am
Randy R. (mail):
Dan: "I don't respect any so-called conservative who deludes himself by endorsing Obama. I can understand Conservatives who distance themselves from McCain, and I definitely understand those who've distanced themselves from Bush, but you simply have no conservative credentials if you endorse Barack Obama."

Well, a whole host of traditionally conservative newspapers are now endorsing Obama, like the Chicago Tribune. George Will all but endorsed Obama. Christopher Buckley thinks Obama might make a good president.

Soon, the only conservatives you respect are the ones who use your kitchen.
10.20.2008 2:26am
David Warner:
Powell rose up through the system. So did Obama. Palin didn't.

There's also the small matter that he likely sees eye-to-eye with Obama on many domestic issues and he had a front row seat for how the R's handle foreign policy. Familiarity breeds contempt. I'd be surprised if he didn't support Obama. The race Obama (and Powell) can pass for is just a bonus.
10.20.2008 2:29am
marcystrauss (mail):
The endorsement flowed from so many more considerations than the Supreme Court appointments that I can't believe that was highlighted as a main reason. Powell made many cogent arguments about McCain's temperment and judgment as reflected by the Sarah Palin pick that seemed to me much more important to his decision to endorse Obama.
10.20.2008 2:35am
D.R.M.:
Remember, Powell is a firm and vocal supporter of "affirmative action".

The court as currently constituted is unlikely to reverse Grutter v. Bollinger a mere five years after it was decided; Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, and Breyer just need one of the other five to go along with the principle of stare decis.

On the other hand, if the justices are Thomas, Scalia, Roberts, Alito, Conservative #5, Conservative #6, Kennedy, Souter, and Breyer come a case in 2013 . . . well. Imagine a 7-2 Kennedy opinion which upholds the "critical mass" argument as a nod to stare decis, but accepts the Rehnquist critique that the critical mass number is logically the same for all minority groups, and justifies the modification because "two-fifths of the time left to affirmative action under Grutter has expired, and the scope of actions allowed has correspondingly narrowed."
10.20.2008 2:35am
David Warner:
Dan M.,

"I don't respect any so-called conservative who deludes himself by endorsing Obama. I can understand Conservatives who distance themselves from McCain, and I definitely understand those who've distanced themselves from Bush, but you simply have no conservative credentials if you endorse Barack Obama. Colin Powell is pretty clearly an ultimate RINO, which is pretty bad considering that half the party could be considered RINOs after this bailout business."

The conservative movement that lifted Reagan to power included many liberals who fled the liberal-left New Deal alliance when the left started acting in a blatantly illiberal manner. Clinton welcomed many of us back into the fold, but had to boot us back out again when he resurrected the brain-dead left to save his butt from impeachment.

We're cautiously rejoining Obama, as he seems less illiberal than, say Cheney. That, and he inspires us like FDR, JFK, and Reagan. If Obama turns out to be a Henry Wallace or Jimmy Carter, then we'll likely be back in play, although you can't afford to maintain that attitude if you want us back - demography isn't on that side.
10.20.2008 2:39am
Asher (mail):
I don't respect any so-called conservative who deludes himself by endorsing Obama. I can understand Conservatives who distance themselves from McCain, and I definitely understand those who've distanced themselves from Bush, but you simply have no conservative credentials if you endorse Barack Obama.

I just think that Palin and even McCain would make such incompetent Presidents that I feel compelled to vote for Obama, most liberal member of the Senate or no.
10.20.2008 3:39am
Dan M.:
David, I'm not sure how you are using the term "liberal." Are the Reagan Democrats those that would be considered "liberal?"

I'm sorry, but I simply don't see what's so inspiring about Obama. He's a hardcore leftist who lies and lies and lies and pretends to be close to the center, pulling shit like traveling around with asshats like Ray Schoenke (Brady shill) and pretending to be a supporter of the 2nd amendment, pretending to support drilling, pretend to support Israel, lying about never weighing in on pending Supreme Court cases, pretending to be a moderate on abortion (he told NARAL that the Freedom of Choice Act would be his first priority as president), lying about his involvement with ACORN (his fightthesmears website keeps getting subtly updated with changes to what his relationship to ACORN is, and ACORN documents detailing their relationship seem to be disappearing from the internet), lying about his relationship with Bill Ayers (I think the Republicans wouldn't be able to go after him if he hadn't said that Bill Ayers is just a guy that lives in his neighborhood, when they worked together on 2 charities and shared an office building for 3 years). Plus he supports the ironically named Employee Free Choice Act which is a huge load of Communist bullshit that even George McGovern is running ads strictly to oppose that bill.

So how is he inspiring? Is it inspiring that he pretends to be above the fray but directs his followers to accuse everyone who disagrees with him of racism? What is inspiring about a dirty Chicago politician who has never won an honest election in his life?

Now, I can understand a Democrat actually agreeing with his policies, or simply displaying party loyalty, or hating John McCain or whatever it is. But to call yourself a conservative and cross party lines to support that is just unconscionable. It's just a bandwagon thing for some of these people.
10.20.2008 3:46am
Ainola (mail):
He said it is ridiculous to say that Obama has information about terrorists.

Like the commenter who posted the transcript from "Meet the Press," I was confused by the above remark.

But I've just seen a clip of Powell at what appeared to be an informal press conference after the endorsement, perhaps outside the television studio.

What Powell said was that McCain's attacks concerning Ayers were meant to imply that Obama had "terrorist inclinations."

You can see the video at YouTube (with the relevant bit starting about 59 seconds in):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nh_c5bbvmqc
10.20.2008 5:52am
Public_Defender (mail):

Scalia Jr being Alito


I wish. Alito is a reliably pro-government vote in cases about enforcing constitutional guarantees in criminal trials. By contrast, Scalia has been a leader on enforcing the right to confrontation and to a jury trial.

I'd rather have a Stevens Jr. than a Scalia Jr., but, alas, Alito is no Scalia clone.

Back to the subject of the post. Powell is the kind of swing Republican that McCain needs to win. Democrats need the "Reagan Democrats." Maybe we'll start calling "Obamacon's" "Obama Republicans."
10.20.2008 6:14am
Angus:

Now, I can understand a Democrat actually agreeing with his policies, or simply displaying party loyalty, or hating John McCain or whatever it is. But to call yourself a conservative and cross party lines to support that is just unconscionable. It's just a bandwagon thing for some of these people.
Some people vote the person, not the party. And Obama, despite his flaws, is more worthy a person than either McCain or Palin. You might disagree with that, but it's arrogant to write off those who agree.
10.20.2008 6:15am
David Warner:
Asher,

"I just think that Palin and even McCain would make such incompetent Presidents that I feel compelled to vote for Obama, most liberal member of the Senate or no."

As if.

Dan M.,

"David, I'm not sure how you are using the term 'liberal.' Are the Reagan Democrats those that would be considered 'liberal?'"

Most of them, in their own way. We're a nation founded on liberal principles. When the left runs down this nation, it runs down those principles too. So whether your primary concern was this nation or those principles, Reagan spoke to you.

"But to call yourself a conservative and cross party lines to support that is just unconscionable."

I don't call myself a conservative, but I have, and will vote for conservatives who will promote and defend liberal values more capably than the alternative.

"I'm sorry, but I simply don't see what's so inspiring about Obama."

The President is both head of government and head of state. See the second article I linked to above for some insight into how people perceive his governing style. I suspect he'll be far less insular than Cheney allowed Bush to be, allowing him to draw on a far wider array of talent. I will likely disagree with the direction some of that talent wants to take our country. That's life in a democracy.

But inspiration comes from the Head of State role. See the first article for a slightly critical take on where Obama's talents may lie there. Obama is able to articulate the liberal values that mean so much to me, and to connect them to the values of those who don't share my perspective. He also shows the capacity to convey respect toward people and positions with which he may ultimately disagree. I believe it is respect, above all, that our current body politic most lacks. McCain also demonstrates this capacity, albeit with less grace.

Finally, Obama is the first post-Boomer candidate. The Boomer Generation, poster boy Bill Ayers, seems determined to go to its grave fighting the ghosts of the Greatest Generation whose expectations it could never live up to and thus were determined to denigrate. A lot of us under 40 are just tired of that shit and ready to support Obama or Palin well before their time.
10.20.2008 6:25am
just me (mail):
I don't respect any so-called conservative who deludes himself by endorsing Obama.

I agree with this portion of the post.

I think there is a difference between endorsing a candidate, and saying you can't vote for the republican candidate and will be voting for Obama. Endorsing means you fully believe in the candidacy of Obama in my mind at least, which is different from saying "I can't vote for McCain and I just hope Obama is the centrist he is making himself into."

But I am not seeing any conservatism in Obama, which is where the disconnect for me at least is when it comes to endorsing him. Saying you are voting for him, because you don't think McCain is good for the country or whatever makes sense given that there are essentially two viable choices. I do know some people who aren't voting for either candidate.

But I do wonder why somebody who says they are a conservative, and then endorse Obama-because I don't see the conservatism.

As for Powell-I don't think I have ever really bought into his conservatism. He has always struck me more as the RINO/DINO type that comfortably sits right in the middle without really fitting into either party. I thought when he left his position as Secretary of State he was pretty much done with the GOP and Bush for that matter. A part of me sometimes thinks he may actually regret taking the Secretary of State position.
10.20.2008 7:57am
MQuinn:
Dan M said:

I don't respect any so-called conservative who deludes himself by endorsing Obama. I can understand Conservatives who distance themselves from McCain, and I definitely understand those who've distanced themselves from Bush, but you simply have no conservative credentials if you endorse Barack Obama. Colin Powell is pretty clearly an ultimate RINO . . . . [I]f you're truly a conservative and you aren't happy with John McCain, endorse Bob Barr or Chuck Baldwin.

This is an unfortunate, extremely partisan belief. Why do we always have to vote for the party, as opposed to the candidate? One can only reach your conclusion by casting one's vote based on the few wedge issues that divide Obama and McCain. However, there are a whole sphere of presidential qualities that matter to voters--rightfully so--that transcend issues and party-lines.

Perhaps Powell believes that it is important that our next President is steady and presidential as opposed to seemingly-dumb (Bush) or cantankerous (McCain). Perhaps Powell is concerned about McCain's temperament to lead during these dangerous times of terror and war. Perhaps Powell believes that the government operates best when it benefits from differing opinions, which would not be accomplished by 12 consecutive years of conservative executive policy. Perhaps Powell desires a more modest foreign policy than McCain promises. Perhaps Powell, with his immense foreign policy experience, believes that Obama will play better with other countries than will McCain. I can go on and on.

In other words, Dan M, I am not sure why you have the authority to mandate how conservatives vote, and I further think that the reasons behind your mandate are faulty. When you cast your vote, I suggest that you should not ask "which candidate mirrors my beliefs." Instead, you should ask "which candidate will be a better President." Arguably, you are asking the former and Powell is asking the latter.
10.20.2008 8:58am
festivus (mail):
Prof. Adler, why did you highlight only Powell's comment about the Court? It's been widely reported - even if you didn't have time to watch the video before posting - that Powell also observed Palin is not ready to be President. Which, he also observed, is the main job of the VP. Is that not a substantive concern? I wonder if you would be interested in actually *watching* the segment, and coming back here with a thoughtful critique, instead of this "Oh I heard about this endorsement and S.Ct. appointments were the only substantive reason given."

Why take the time to compose this post, Prof. Adler, if you won't take the 7:08 to watch the video, available here?

Regardless, the post was posted and received this treatment:

I'm not impugning Powell's motives; I'm just questioning how this will play among swing voters already uneasy because of Obama's race. Limbaugh understands this, and made a statement wondering how many white liberals Powell has endorsed.


How about this. How many other members of the center/right (or further right) have endorsed Obama? Plenty. Go interrogate Christopher Buckley about *his* motives.
10.20.2008 9:18am
Angus:

RINO/DINO
These are two terms I absolutely hate. Why does someone have to be conservative to be a Republican, and have to be liberal to be a Democrat? Moderates get pushed out of both parties since they'll be derided as an "INO". Frankly, that's the reason I left the Republican party in the 1990s--I got tired of the Republicans I admired (Robert Michel, Arlen Specter, Olympia Snowe, etc.) being called RINOs.
10.20.2008 9:21am
Alexia:
I think it's hysterical that anybody thinks McCain would actually appoint conservative judges. I think he's far more likely to appoint a Souder, like G.H.W. Bush did.
10.20.2008 9:36am
Dan M.:
MQuinn, what the hell are you talking about? My statement that a conservative shouldn't vote for a liberal is an unfortunate, extremely partisan belief? My recommendation that conservatives support a 3rd Party before they support Obama is an unfortunate, extremely partisan belief? Wow, I guess that really shows my undying devotion to the Republican Party.

I'll go one step further. I don't respect any anti-gun candidate, particularly any anti-gun Republican (Bloomberg, Giuliani, Helmke, Powell) or any Republican who endorses an anti-gun candidate. And I don't respect any candidate who hides behind AHSA and pretends to be pro-gun. I don't respect a lot of politicians, nor do I respect many of the people who are important enough to publicly endorse politicians.
10.20.2008 10:39am
Snaphappy:
D.R.M.:

Chief Justice Roberts would more likely write that opinion. He's the master of overruling without saying so.
10.20.2008 11:31am
Melancton Smith:

Well, a whole host of traditionally conservative newspapers are now endorsing Obama, like the Chicago Tribune. George Will all but endorsed Obama. Christopher Buckley thinks Obama might make a good president.


The Trib only appears to be conservative due to the extreme leftism of the Sun Times and Chicago political leanings.

They have a couple decent columnists; Kass and Chapman. But it is not called the 'Libune' for nothing.
10.20.2008 11:37am
Oren:
I wish. Alito is a reliably pro-government vote in cases about enforcing constitutional guarantees in criminal trials. By contrast, Scalia has been a leader on enforcing the right to confrontation and to a jury trial.

All the downsides of having a cramped conception of liberty and none of the benefits. Alito is a mirror for the worst elements in Scalia's repertoire.
10.20.2008 11:40am
Angus:

The Trib only appears to be conservative due to the extreme leftism of the Sun Times and Chicago political leanings.
That, and not having endorsed a Democrat for President in the last 148 years.
10.20.2008 11:42am
Oren:
The Trib only appears to be conservative due to the extreme leftism of the Sun Times and Chicago political leanings.
And Obama only appears left due to the extreme rightism of the 2000-era GOP.
10.20.2008 11:47am
Elliot123 (mail):
"This Bill Ayers situation that's been going on for weeks became something of a central point of the campaign. But Mr. McCain says that he's a washed-out terrorist."

So what? Is it reasonable to think an association with a washed out racial bigot would be swept under the rug? If a washed out racial bigot said he lynched blacks and wished he had lynched more blacks, would the bigot's current washed out status mean a candidate's association with him doesn't matter?

It seems the justce department is very interested in those washed out racial bigots who killed blacks thirty years ago. I'm glad they are interested. I hope Powell is, too.
10.20.2008 11:54am
wfjag:
"He will have a role as one of my advisers."

"Whether he wants to take a formal role, whether that's a good fit for him, is something we'd have to discuss."

-- Barack Obama, interview aired NBC's "Today Show", Monday, Oct. 20, 2008.

Any further questions on why Powell endorsed Obama (the man leading in all the polls)?
10.20.2008 12:24pm
Angus:

Any further questions on why Powell endorsed Obama (the man leading in all the polls)?
Given that McCain and Powell have emphasized that they are friends, I have more than a feeling that Powell could and would have had the same access in a McCain administration.
10.20.2008 12:41pm
Oren:

It seems the justce department is very interested in those washed out racial bigots who killed blacks thirty years ago. I'm glad they are interested.

I'm not. It's a waste of time on symbolic crap.
10.20.2008 1:36pm
Hoosier:
What confuses me is that Powell's endorsement would be considered much of a help. Hasn't he been viewed as "damaged goods" since the Iraq War, and especially his UN testimony?

I lost considerable respect for him from then on. He didn't seem to support the war, yet he advocated for it. In that sense, he's been less forthright than Rumsfeld.
10.20.2008 3:37pm
David Warner:
Dan M.,

"I don't respect any anti-gun candidate, particularly any anti-gun Republican (Bloomberg, Giuliani, Helmke, Powell) or any Republican who endorses an anti-gun candidate."

What's the long game for 2nd Amendment advocates? Given the history of the last 50 years, might it not be a good strategy to aim for the 2nd Amendment to be embraced as the civil right that it is? What's standing in the way of that?

I don't actually think that Obama is the one who will personally break down that barrier, but his election would likely clear away much of the political/emotional baggage that stands in the way of African-Americans embracing that right and advocating for its enforcement. They need it more than anyone and gun control laws have a very racist heritage.
10.20.2008 4:07pm
MarkField (mail):

What confuses me is that Powell's endorsement would be considered much of a help. Hasn't he been viewed as "damaged goods" since the Iraq War, and especially his UN testimony?

I lost considerable respect for him from then on. He didn't seem to support the war, yet he advocated for it. In that sense, he's been less forthright than Rumsfeld.


Agreed.
10.20.2008 4:29pm
PC:
Hasn't he been viewed as "damaged goods" since the Iraq War, and especially his UN testimony?

"Eighty percent (80%) of voters have a favorable view of Powell..."
10.20.2008 5:25pm
MQuinn:
Dan M said:

MQuinn, what the hell are you talking about? My statement that a conservative shouldn't vote for a liberal is an unfortunate, extremely partisan belief? My recommendation that conservatives support a 3rd Party before they support Obama is an unfortunate, extremely partisan belief? Wow, I guess that really shows my undying devotion to the Republican Party

Dan M, that is not at all what you suggested. Here is exactly what you said:

you simply have no conservative credentials if you endorse Barack Obama

That is what I referred to as extremely partisan. Basically, you would revoke one's conservative credentials--whatever that means?--if one votes for Obama. It is patently unreasonable to suggest that one can not be a conservative upon a pro-Obama vote, mainly because there are many reasons to vote for a candidate that transcend the differences between the two parties. Your inability to realize this shows that you are hopelessly tethered to wedge-issue politics, which is partisanship.
10.20.2008 5:25pm
ginsocal (mail):
Powell has always been a liberal (RINO, if you will). He also would like a job. Why would he back anyone else?

I also agree with DanM. No conservative (as opposed to "Republican") can support someone who socialist in all but name. If Obama wins, we are in for hard times, amybe even violent ones. No one in their right mind would support that.
10.20.2008 5:26pm
Michael B (mail):
It's interesting that Michael Powell, Colin Powell's son and former FCC chairman, has endorsed McCain/Palin. It's not "interesting" to the MSM/Obama campaign, but that fact too is interesting.
10.20.2008 6:20pm
NowMDJD (mail):

Given that McCain and Powell have emphasized that they are friends, I have more than a feeling that Powell could and would have had the same access in a McCain administration.

If Sen. McCain wins, I don't think he will any more.
10.20.2008 6:52pm
wfjag:

Given that McCain and Powell have emphasized that they are friends, I have more than a feeling that Powell could and would have had the same access in a McCain administration.

Perhaps, Angus. However, Michael Powell (former FCC Chairman and son of Gen. Powell) endorsed Sen. McCain months ago and has been actively campaigning for him around the nation.

So, one way of viewing Gen. Powell's endorsement of Obama and Chairman Michael Powell's endorsement of McCain, is that the family has covered their bets, whoever wins. It's less than 3 weeks to the election and Sen. Obama is leading in all the polls. So, it is hardly surprising that Gen. Powell decided to endorse Sen. Obama, without regard to what Gen. Powell has said about Sen. Obama's foreign policy positions in the past.
10.20.2008 6:54pm
Dan M.:
Alright, MQuinn, I missed that statement and perhaps it was over the line. So I'll revise. Anyone who is pro-abortion, anti-second Amendment, pro affirmative action, etc., and endorses Barack Obama, isn't a conservative. Therefore Colin Powell and others like him, are not conservatives.
10.20.2008 7:40pm
Dan M.:
David Warner,

How is a black president going to suddenly make the 2nd amendment a civil right merely because of the racist origins of gun control? Global human rights groups think that lack of gun control is a human rights violation.

A lot of blacks were happy with the 2nd amendment when they were defending themselves from white people. But now black people are killing each other and therefore the guns are racist. What would a Barack Obama presidency do to make black communities suddenly demand MORE gun shops in their neighborhoods?

Barack Obama wants America to be respected by the rest of the world. How can the rest of the world respect us when we're a bunch of gun-toting rednecks?
10.20.2008 8:37pm
Alan K. Henderson (mail) (www):
The key Obama/Ayers connection is the Chicago Annenberg Challenge: "In the first year, 1995, Obama headed the board, which made fiscal decisions, and Ayers co-chaired the Collaborative, which set education policy." Obama was working to advance Ayers' education agenda in select schools. (CAC also funded education programs originating from outside CAC.)

One of three things is possible:

1. Obama didn't properly vet CAC. He didn't bother to ask the Butch and Sundance question: "Who are these guys?" If I'm politically ambitious and I'm tapped to head some outfit that will implement government policy (we are talking about public schools here), I'm not joining if the guy spearheading its agenda is an unrepentant murderer.

2. Obama was apathetic about Bill Ayers' evil.

3. Obama could not recognize Bill Ayers' evil.

None of those are qualities I want to see in a commander-in-chief.
10.20.2008 9:41pm
Alan K. Henderson (mail) (www):
Oh, I forgot to ask - how popular do you think Colin Powell is at Fort Dix these days? Note that both Powell and Fort Dix are US Army.
10.20.2008 9:44pm
David Warner:
Dan M.,

"How is a black president going to suddenly make the 2nd amendment a civil right merely because of the racist origins of gun control?"

Suddenly? I said long game.

"How can the rest of the world respect us when we're a bunch of gun-toting rednecks?"

By significantly darkening the shade of red.

Once you're the law, "law-abiding citizens" takes on a whole new shade of meaning.
10.21.2008 12:35am