Powell’s Impact

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I admit I was among those who were initially a bit skeptical about Colin Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama. How much, I wondered, did it have to do with the damage done to Powell’s own reputation caused by his service as George W. Bush’s secretary of state? And why, I wondered, did Powell wait until 16 days before the election, with Obama already up in the polls and looking like a winner?

But then I watched Powell and listened to what he said. HIs indictment of his own party’s political tactics was more than powerful; it was convincingly sincere. His timing, it turned out, make perfect political sense. And, as Maureen Dowd wrote this morning, Powell’s finest moment was when he told Tom Brokaw that what really bothered him about the sinister rumors labeling Obama a secert Muslim wasn’t that they were a lie; it was the suggestion that there was something un-American about being a Muslim.

Of course, conservatives never really trusted Powell. And now their suspicions have proved valid. And it’s not just because he endorsed a Democrat for president. Worse still, he reads the New Yorker.