I've got to admit that when I heard that Colin Powell was planning on endorsing a candidate for president yesterday, I was unimpressed. I figured that whichever candidate he chose would be on the receiving end of a lukewarm endorsement that would be easy to dismiss and would fade from the news rapidly. I didn't expect to see such a painfully honest assessment of the problems with the way the Republicans are campaigning, but I was even more surprised and impressed by Powell's simple, clear, and eloquent dismissal of the "he's a Muslim" argument:
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.
Thank you, General Powell. We needed to hear that. It's more effective when it comes from someone on your side of the political spectrum.
But it sure would be nice if the folks on our side of the aisle would say it more often.