Wilkerson on Colin Powell: Maybe He Will, Maybe He Won’t

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Wilkerson sketch.gif
This morning, long term Colin Powell aide and former State Department Chief of Staff Lawrence Wilkerson sent me a note seeming to downgrade the chance that General Powell might endorse Barack Obama (or John McCain).
Wilkerson wrote:

Steve:
By the way, this is how I see tomorrow’s TV appearance.
I see CLP making comments about the financial situation, about the national security and foreign policy issues of the day, and, most importantly, about the need not to return to 1968 (RFK and MLK, Jr. were assassinated, as you’ll recall) and to remain calm and appeal to the better angels of our nature — and not be saying things like “Kill him” or “He’s a terrorist” about the candidates.
But no endorsement. The endorsement part is being played up so the maximum amount of people will watch what he believes is the greater message about tolerance, etc…
lw

If Powell offered such a message to the nation — particularly given his wife Alma’s concern about Powell’s possible assassination had he run for President in 2000 — then that message to the country would be more important in many ways than an endorsement.
Interestingly though, David Corn uses other commentary from Wilkerson to argue that a Powell endorsement at this point in the campaign is reaching a higher degree of probability.
I’m sticking with what I wrote yesterday: Powell “might” endorse someone, but I just don’t know. I hope he does, and if he endorses Obama — then McCain has something else to blame Bill Kristol for.
– Steve Clemons

Comments

14 comments on “Wilkerson on Colin Powell: Maybe He Will, Maybe He Won’t

  1. questions says:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/10/19/colin-powell-endorses-oba_n_135895.html
    Video link to endorsement via huff po. It was actually a nice argument despite all of Powell’s endless failings. And where it will likely help is with marginal Repubs and occasional dems who still want a general’s stamp of approval.

    Reply

  2. Linda says:

    Well, he did endorse Obama and probably will help rather than hurt Obama. But as with most of commenters here, Powell long ago ceased to be a leader IMO because he just follows where he thinks trends are going.

    Reply

  3. Joe Klein's conscience says:

    Don Bacon:
    That’s not what I was talking about. He did plenty of other things that he could have been relieved for. The slapping incident was the last straw, so to speak.

    Reply

  4. L. Graham says:

    Hopefully Colin Powell will be a class act and not endorse either candidate. This way he keeps a neutral position so that neither candidate can capitalize on his influence with the American public.

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  5. pacos_gal says:

    I don’t think Colin Powell will endorse either candidate tomorrow or any time before the election.
    Obviously he will know who he is going to vote for, but I don’t expect that to ever be made public either.
    This allows him to play a role in the government in the future, no matter who is president, if that person and he desires that.
    It would allow him to play a part in any type of bipartisan negotiations, a part at State,or any other situation that he might be needed for in the future.
    This is a smart choice on his part and in keeping with having been in the military, where you serve whom ever is the president no matter what the party and follow direction to the best of your ability, even if you disagree with it.
    Just my thoughts on the Powell endorsement issue.
    We’ll know tomorrow.

    Reply

  6. Joseph Seymour says:

    Wilkerson says Powell’s only hyping a possible endorsement to get higher viewership? Very disappointing and calculating/cloying, if true… I hope he actually takes a stand on the race.

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  7. Don Bacon says:

    Joe Klein’s conscience,
    To the best of my knowledge Chazelle said nothing about the general who slapped two sick soldiers in a hospital and subsequently got relieved of his command by Eisenhower.

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  8. Vigilante says:

    I’m sayin’ that for Obama’s own good, General Powell ought not to endorse the Senator. Powell needs Obama more than the other way around.

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  9. gidgejohn says:

    Well, given his history, no one can say that Colin Powell isn’t a coward.

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  10. Joe Klein's conscience says:

    Don Bacon:
    What did Chazelle say about Patton? While Patton surely risked the lives of his men, he also risked his own career.

    Reply

  11. Ernst vom Rath says:

    I love Americans !
    Here’s a clip of their warming up for the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht celebrations coming 9-10 November.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHrExRHZnm0

    Reply

  12. Robert C says:

    A CLP endorsement of BO at this point will be spun, by the Repubs, as opportunistic….ie, he is graveling for a spot in the BO administration. If he endorses BO now, I will always feel he could have shown more courage by endorsing him 6 months ago.

    Reply

  13. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Wonderful, being lectured on tolerance by a man who has the blood of a million on his hands.
    Can’t he just go back to cleaning toilets in the White House, and leave the moral musings to those that actually have some?

    Reply

  14. Don Bacon says:

    On this matter I’ll go with Bernard Chazelle: “It is often said that a good general is someone who would rather risk his men’s lives than his own career. That’s why Colin Powell is such an excellent general. You don’t get 4 stars out of ordinary cowardice. You get 4 stars by pulling stunts like waiting for a presidential candidate to be 7 points ahead in the polls 3 weeks before the election and then declaring your support.
    “But there’s still a certain brashness in Powell’s behavior that might explain why he is not a 5-star general. If he were truly 5-star material, he would have waited until Nov 5 to give the winner a retroactive endorsement. Why speak too soon? As Powell found out after his UN speech, loose lips sink ships.”

    Reply

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