Gadget by The Blog Doctor.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Powell and Obama

Last Sunday Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama for US President.

He set our a series of reasons for favouring Obama, and I can't see how any honest person, who isn't ideologically motivated could disagree with the points Powell makes.

* uncertain about how to react to economic crisis, without a complete grasp of economic problems
* Palin not ready to be President which is job of VP - raising doubts about McCain's judgement
* approach to campaign narrower and narrower
* emphasising issues that are not central to American problems - eg Bill Ayres

* Steadiness, intellectual curiosity, depth of knowledge, intellectual vigour
* Biden a VP that could be President on day one, indicating Obama's good judgement
* broader and more inclusive approach crossing ethnic, racial and generational lines

This endorsement wasn't a great surprise as many press reports over the last few weeks have indicated that it was likely.

The interview can be viewed in the video below:

The most important (and surprising) part of the interview starts at the 4 minute 28 second mark, when Powell starts discussing the Republicans claims that Obama is a Muslim. Powell's response is powerful and telling:

The correct answer is that he is a Christian, he has 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 is no, that is not America. Is there something wrong with some seven year old Muslim American kid believing he could be President. Yet I have heard senior members of my own party drop this suggestion, ... "he is a Muslim and might be associated with terrorists". This is not the way we should be doing it in America.

Powell then described the photo below from NewYorker online magazine.

It is a powerful image and in the interview Powell describes how he was moved by this photograph of the headstone of a Muslim American who was killed in Iraq.

Sadly, Obama has not been able to tell this truth, and it required a Republican to call the McCain / Republican campaign on their deceitful tactics.

Obama has very carefully avoided Islamic people, probably because of the dishonest use that the McCain campaign would make of such a move. I hope that Obama's election will be as transformational as Powell states, and that he will be able to start the healing process that is desperately required in the US - and around the world.

It is also a great pity that no Australian political leader has been able to tackle head on the dislike of Muslims in the way that Powell did last Sunday.

It is hardly surprising that right-wing commentators have suggested that the endorsement by Powell was because Obama is also African-American. The American right-wing seem to be quite shameless.

This is only my second post on the US election. My lack of posting on this event does not reflect any lack of interest in this great contest. I have been watching developments in the election for the last year. The choice the Americans make is not only important for them, but for us as well, which is amply demonstrated by the Bush presidency.

My previous post on the election (called Yes We Can ) was last February, after McCain had secured the Republican nomination but while Obama and Clinton were still slugging it out during the Democratic primaries. In that post I indicated my support for Obama and made some predictions:
* "Obama will make minced meat of that old goat come November"
* the "Republicans will unleash their attack dogs" but that the attacks on Obama would be unsuccessful.

It is hardly surprising that the second prediction came true, after all that is the approach that the modern Republicans always fall back on. One shocking example is the false rumor that the Bush team put around during the 2000 Primaries that McCain had fathered a black love child.

Back in February I could not have expected that my first prediction would come true in such a stunning way. Obama will win on the 4th of November and possibly by a huge margin. If current polls are any guide Obama could win with more that 100 Electoral College Votes (EVs) to spare - it could be as high as 375 EVs. As well the Democrats will have control of both Houses of Congress.

The two months between Election Day and Inauguration Day are always interesting, but this time it will be fascinating to watch developments as a discredited, incompetent and lame duck Republican administration faces off with a charismatic Democrat during a time of financial crisis.

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