Welcome to the new version of European Tribune. It's just a new layout, so everything should work as before - please report bugs here.

The Powell Endorsement

by Frank Schnittger Sun Oct 19th, 2008 at 06:16:32 PM EST



Has there been a finer endorsement of Obama by anyone - never mind by a Republican?


And again outside the studio.


Obama's campaign has been showing signs of wobbling.  The blow-out we saw a week ago has temporarily blown-out.  This well-timed endorsement, combined with the record $150Million Obama raised in September should help to steady the ship.

Obama's lead in the national polls which peaked at an average of 8-9% has fallen back to 5-6%, although this decline has yet to manifest itself in the crucial state-by-state polls which will determine the actual composition of the electoral college.  The evidence is that this decline started before the debate, but I haven't seen a convincing explanation of why this should be.  

Obama won the last debate, the McCain campaign has persisted in its divisive negative tactics, and even their invocation of "Joe the Plumber" has backfired spectacularly.  (Joe, it turns out isn't called Joe, isn't a qualified plumber, is delinquent in his taxes, didn't have plans to take over his boss' business, and would have to pay less under Obama's tax plan if he did).

The new McCain campaign tactic is to paint Obama as "Socialist" for his "I would like to spread the wealth" comment to Joe the Plumber.  As Powell argued, is rebalancing taxes really such an un-American idea? However as ManfromMiddletown has pointed out, Obama may be having difficulty connecting to white working class manual or blue collar workers who formed an essential part of the Reagan coalition.  This isn't just about racism, but genuine cultural differences between blue collar and white collar America.

I characterised this as follows in the comments to ManfromMiddletown's diary: "The Democrats want to make working class blue collar workers middle class (white collar) like themselves.  The Republicans know they need servants and plumbers and mechanics to fix the car, and so they pretend to laud them because they don't want them to become like themselves, they want them to stay being servants, plumbers and mechanics.

The Dems have got to become the party of choice - yes we value you as servants, plumbers etc., if that is what you want to be - but we will also support you if you want to become something else.  But it is your choice - not our ideology, values or snobbery which determines whether you should try to be something else.

But there is also something else happening.  "The West" has given up on being competitive for manufactured goods in a globalised economy because it cannot compete with Chinese wage rates. Thus, out of economic necessity, there has been a flight (upmarket, or up the economic food chain in the value-laden jargon) from blue collar to white collar jobs - with blue collar workers seen as dead-enders who will never compete with the Chinese.

However, now, Globalisation has moved into a new phase with even white collar clerical, accountancy, administration and many other jobs being outsourced to India etc. - so that, finally, globalisation has become a middle class issue as well - which can lead to a new blue/white collar alliance.

With capital now fleeing the USA for more profitable havens there is the basis for a broadly based, nationalist alliance against global capital.  However it has a lot of cultural/ethnic/class barriers to overcome before it can be a reality on the ground.  Perhaps that is part of the dynamic which is driving Obama forward - a determination to overcome racial, class and cultural divisions which is preventing Americans from uniting in the face of an unprecedented challenge from Global capitalism - which has used the "free market" refrain to exit the USA for more profitable pastures abroad.

Global Capital, if this argument is correct, badly needs McCain to succeed in his "divide and conquer" tactics - re-echoed by Palin praising small town America as the true patriotic and  real America in contrast to more anti-American urban areas. Michelle Bachmann has sought to make this division explicit:



Help me out here guys.  Is the McCain campaign really proposing to go back to the McCarthy era?  Is one half of America really going to try to brand the other half as anti-American?  If this is the direction the McCain campaign proposes to take I could see the blow-out re-igniting and becoming an Obama victory of almost Reaganite proportions.

But to get back to the Powell endorsement, Pat Buchanan has just accused Powell of endorsing Obama because he is black. Has anyone accused Lieberman of endorsing McCain because he is white? Racism only works one way, apparently.

Display:
Funny...

In clip #1, Powell says, "Obama is not a Muslim, but the right answer is to say, what if he were? Is that a problem?"

In clip #2: he says, "Saying obama is Socialist is an unfortunate characterisation".


A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 20th, 2008 at 07:37:01 AM EST
One wonders just how many US Americans understand the gradations of socialism as practiced in Europe. Or are Socialism and Communism irrevocably synonymous?

Three candidates for municipal elections in my area (voting next Sunday) are plain vanilla Communist! They won't get many votes, but with nearly 270 candidates, they don't need many.

Suomen Kommunistinen Puolue - Finlands Kommunistiska Parti r.p.
133    Porspakka, Jori, autoilija, ammatinharjoittaja   
134    Kopiloff, Igor, erikoisasiantuntija   
135    Routalinna, Petri, automekaanikko

They are grouped with the Workers Party, which is itself fielding one candidate.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Oct 20th, 2008 at 07:56:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's remarkable that Powell can say "taxes are needed for the common good" and in the same breath say it's unfortunate to characterise that as "socialist".

There is the common good, and then there's socialism.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 20th, 2008 at 08:08:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It demonstrates 2 things:

  1.  The abject stupidity of the average American.  Let's remember, we have a high school C average bell curve in this country.  If you go to grad school and then re-enter into a "normal" job market, the comparison is striking.

  2. The excellent marketing job the ultra-wealthy have done for their "product".  Americans will "buy" ANYTHING marketed properly.


The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Mon Oct 20th, 2008 at 08:20:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
THE Twank:
 The abject stupidity of the average American.

I doubt that norms of political discourse prove or disprove anything.

Rien n'est gratuit en ce bas monde. Tout s'expie, le bien comme le mal, se paie tot ou tard. Le bien c'est beaucoup plus cher, forcement. Celine
by UnEstranAvecVueSurMer (holopherne ahem gmail) on Mon Oct 20th, 2008 at 03:38:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... on religious, ethnic, racial, or any such grounds.

That's prejudice based on political ideology.

And the idea that someone should ignore whether a candidate for political office holds a political ideology that they are utterly opposed to, when deciding who they would and would not support, seems to me to be monumentally silly.

Seriously, if you think that Colin Powell believes that anyone is qualified for the Presidency who supports state ownership of any strategic means of production that the private sector would rather own, but is refraining from defending socialism because of its unpopularity, you are imbibing something more serious than mary jane.

And if the term socialism is not taken to mean anything that is explicitly socialist, but is just brand name attached to a mixed economy social democratic position because its a useful brand name for marketing in Europe ... well, if its just a marketing slogan, why bother with it in markets where it does not have the same positive connotation?

The idea that a center-right moderate Democrat like Senator Obama is socialist is, as Colin Powell rightly points out, laughable. And whether or not the tag will always disqualify a politician from election as President in the US, certainly from a "moderate Republican" position like Colin Powell's, it always should.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Oct 21st, 2008 at 12:25:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Precisely. But clearly not understood at all by the Type A people that are in power, thanks to an education system (filter) that only allows such pathogenic personalities to climb up to dominance as, essentially, parasites on the social body.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Oct 20th, 2008 at 08:39:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
'Socialism' = 'Being forced to hand over money you've earned.'

For some reason, that's seen as a bad thing - even by people who don't have a problem paying membership dues to clubs and societies, and paying subscriptions for magazines.

Apparently government is extra double plus bad, especially when it takes money and spends it on poor people.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Oct 20th, 2008 at 02:35:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Many non-socialist political philosophies still have a concept of "the common good"

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Oct 20th, 2008 at 02:53:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Common good - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The common good is a term that can refer to several different concepts. In the popular meaning, the common good describes a specific "good" that is shared and beneficial for all (or most) members of a given community. This is also how the common good is broadly defined in philosophy, ethics, and political science.


Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Oct 20th, 2008 at 02:56:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But obviously if something is common, how can it be good?
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Oct 20th, 2008 at 03:22:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In a market system, it is scarcity which is good - as it increases the price. In a cooperative system, what is common is good, as it increases communality. In a philosophical system what is common is bad - as in "common knowledge" or "prevailing wisdom" as in promotes uncritical acceptance or incuriousity.  In a political system, what is common is rare - as in "common sense".

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Oct 20th, 2008 at 03:33:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
meta - funny ...

Democratic commentators spending the better part of Bush's second term condemning Powell for delivering to the UN assembly a stone-cold lie.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Oct 20th, 2008 at 10:52:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The resent the endorsement is valuable is precisely because it doesn't come from the Democratic establishment, but from the heart of the Republican one.  It signals the bankruptcy of the core Republican neo-con message - whilst not as yet challenging the free market ideology.  Powell didn't just endorse Obama, he demolished the rationale for a McCain Presidency.

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Oct 20th, 2008 at 11:05:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
sorry - the reason

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Oct 20th, 2008 at 11:06:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Powell didn't just endorse Obama, he demolished the rationale for a McCain Presidency.

Ah, yes, six and one half dozen of the other. Frank, are you prowling around the realization that "we" Americans are all neo-cons now, hmm?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Oct 20th, 2008 at 02:09:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
don't know why you would say that.  Powell is a self-described moderate Republican - McCain can't afford to lose that part of his base. Many neo-coms started as Democrats and there are many strands of the Republican part which aren't "neo-con"

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Oct 20th, 2008 at 02:59:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
McCain can't afford to lose that part of his base.

McCain's "base" was lost in the 2000 election cycle, when he dropped out in the primary, as it was clear that Republicans identified with the "self-described" moderate Bush rather than a "maverick".

Democratic Party electioneering adroitly trades on that conceit by characterizing McCain's "base" in 2008 as the dregs of the Republican Party -- a demographic and ideological "extremists." Why would you now suggest the mutual adoration of moderate Republicans and McCain is jeopardized by Powell's vaguely formal endorsement of Obama? The campaign publicized that he was an advisor last year.

I'd be impressed, if Powell announced a complimentary change in party affiliation. I don't think it necessary however to reassure the electorate that neo-conservative agenda is in capable, if unfamiliar, hands.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Oct 20th, 2008 at 04:30:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What's been happening here is that everyone, Democrats included, are largely working on the assumption that the 'serious' Republicans still own the news cycles, and they're the ones who need to be appeased, cajoled, coddled, discussed, talked about, and deferred to.

If you watch the BBC's election coverage - it even led with the Powell endorsement, as if this was major news in the UK - this is largely true.

It's becoming - slowly - less true in the US, where social democratic narratives are appearing at the fringes and starting to work their way inwards. But it's also had the paradoxical effect of giving right wing extremists more air time under the cover of the 'serious' Republican party, which in turn has been turning off the indies and floaters and moderates because it's hard to get excited about feeling the hate when you're worried you'll be living in a tent within a year.

Obama is going to set the tone for what happens next. Since he's still a cipher in real terms, and has gone on the record as being almost everything to almost everyone, it's anyone's guess what that means in practice.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Oct 21st, 2008 at 08:20:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Cross-dressers  Board Obama Bandwagon | Telegraph | 18 June 2007

Last week, Mr Powell revealed that he has been advising the senator from Illinois on foreign policy - provoking a flurry of speculation about the plans and ambitions of both men.

Mr Powell, 70, who left office in January 2005 under a cloud left by the war in Iraq, has served three Republican presidents, but made clear that he is considering backing a Democrat to succeed his former boss, George W Bush.

He disclosed that he has twice met Sen Obama, at the request of the White House hopeful. "I make myself available to talk about foreign policy matters and military matters with whoever wishes to chat with me," Mr Powell said. "I'm going to support the best person that I can find who will lead this country."

He ruled out any speculation that he may seek the vice-presidency. But asked if he would accept another senior post, he said: "I would not rule it out. I am not at all interested in political life if you mean elected political life. But I always keep my eyes open and my ears open to requests for service."



Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Oct 21st, 2008 at 09:24:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was about to say just that.
This endorsement is certainly useful in its effect on the republican side. But to all those who were against the Iraq war, Colin Powell has long ceased to mean much, be it as a stateman or -- as a person.

The main weak point of the Obama campaign is, IMO, the accusation of socialism. The senator does have the most leftist vote in the Senate, supports full pro-choice rights and so on. It's delicate to play the pragmatic leader in these conditions. Unless Obama moderates his leftwing inclinations, he risks losing the elections on moral issues - or dividing America even more into "progressists" and "bigots".

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Mon Oct 20th, 2008 at 09:37:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The success story of US elite marketing has been to brand the "free market" as quintessentially American - as if it were enshrined in the constitution, and thus anything which smacks of state interference in that market as not only "socialistic" but un-American as well.

There really isn't any gradation here - socialism is merely the slippery slope to Communism, which is the quintessential evil empire polar opposite to "freedom" as defined by the market place.

The primary unit of analysis is the individual and his/her encapsulation as a commodity in the marketplace - not "society", class, ethnicity, community, or any collective noun.  For people not to relate to each other as commodities in the marketplace is itself subversive and unAmerican - as in socialised medicine which is dispensed on the basis of need rather than the ability to pay.

"Joe the Plumber" has internalised this completely - as expressed in his hatred for any kind of social welfare or unemployment benefit - whether it be for the old, the sick or the handicapped or anyone else.  These are the responsibility of their families, Church, or other voluntary organisation as objects of charity - failed market entities - not as people in their own right with rights in their own right.

The state in this ideology is by definition totalitarian, taxes are little better than theft, gun ownership the protection against crime (not some socialised law enforcement), and anything which encroaches on the almost absolute sovereignty of the individual - a form of creeping socialism.

The Democrats and progressives will continue to be on the defensive for so long as this ideology can continue to brand itself as essentially American in contradistinction to the evil communist dictatorships elsewhere.  That is what this election is ultimately about - a fight for which narrative can achieve dominance for the next few years.

Vote McCain for war without gain

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Oct 20th, 2008 at 11:02:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
if it means that America will rapidly go down in flames; long overdue.  Foam finger "we're number one" America needs a good thrashing.

My concern would be for the rest of the planet.

Can't believe I'm sober and typing this, and NO, it's not just troll shit.

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Mon Oct 20th, 2008 at 08:30:01 AM EST
I think tg=he GOP has got little left but the McCarthyism that was always the inevitable result of the culture wars. If you must insist on drawing lines about patriotism and supporting the troops and who loves America more, then sooner or later you're gonna end up calling anybody who doesn't support your political view "un-American", and it's not a big leap to go to anti-American.

After all, when they said John Kerry was french, that was what they meant. Now, four years later, they're saying it as well.

As Buckley and others have said, the GOP is the stupid party. It may be a while before they stop being stupid.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Oct 20th, 2008 at 08:44:44 AM EST
Run by stupid people or the party FOR the stupid?

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Mon Oct 20th, 2008 at 09:00:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Pollster.com probably has the best summarised graphical and tabular presentations of sophisticated statistical trends based on all polls (rather than the simplistic arithmetic averages of cherry picked polls for cherry picked periods as on Real Clear Politics).


As can be seen from the above, there is a distinct pro-McCain trend at the national level over the past week, but this has yet to impact on Obama's 200 EV lead in the electoral college.  Indeed only Ohio, (Joe the Plumber's home state) of the toss-up states is looking any way dodgy for Obama at the moment, based on current trends.

I'm not arguing for complacency - but neither is there a need to panic.  Indeed, if any side is panicking at the moment, it looks like McCain.

Vote McCain for war without gain

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Oct 20th, 2008 at 01:05:24 PM EST
'Obama's Campaign Has Been Showing Signs of Wobbling'

Don't know where you got that impression but Obama's campaign prior to the Powell endorsement has been doing fantastic with only signs of even more waves of voters coming aboard the 'Obama Express'. Many prominent conservatives prior to Powell's endorsement were coming out in favor of Obama and his poll numbers have been over the 50% mark for the past 10 days prior to Powell.

Powell may help in the Southern States with their many military bases but Obama was winning the election regardless of Powell.

In my opinion Powell was either ignorant,giving him every benefit of the doubt, or belongs in the same dock in The Hague with Bush, Blair etc. in supporting a war through lies and false information which has killed, imjured or exiled 4,000,000 people in Iraq. So please dont extoll the virtues of Colin Powell even if he was well spoken on his Meet the Press announcement. Another person who has been out for himself throughout his career and sold his soul to the Repubs and neocons for personal advancement.

by An American in London on Mon Oct 20th, 2008 at 04:44:41 PM EST
An American in London:
'Obama's Campaign Has Been Showing Signs of Wobbling'

I was referring to the 3% drop from a peak of c. 9% to 6% in Obama's lead in the National polls.

Powell is a discredited figure (to put it mildly) amongst progressives/liberals - but they don't need to be convinced to favour Obama over McCain in any case.  The very fact that Powell is still held in such regard in moderate and conservative GOP circles is what makes it do damaging/demoralising to the McCain Campaign.

They have tried to write his endorsement off as just racial solidarity - forgetting that Powell also endorsed their erstwhile darling Bush. Powell isn't in the business of ingratiating himslelf with progressives - he could care less what they think - but he will cop a lot of flack from erstwhile allies on the Republican right - in fact they will reserve the peculiar venom directed at apostates for him.

Vote McCain for war without gain

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Oct 20th, 2008 at 05:08:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, though actually Powell is expressing the private view of many of the Repug elite.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Mon Oct 20th, 2008 at 06:21:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but to go public is an act of betrayal - like contradicting a superior officer.  You are supposed to keep your concerns to yourself.

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Oct 20th, 2008 at 07:05:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, he is trying to rehabilitate his seriously tattered career.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Mon Oct 20th, 2008 at 07:11:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I doubt he still has career ambitions, although he may want to rehabilitate his reputation somewhat.  However I read his "concerns" as genuine.  It's never too late to look for redemption.

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Oct 20th, 2008 at 07:25:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, i meant reputation, not career.  I do believe he's been humbled by what's written about him and particularly his UN dog and pony.  I'll bet he's had some enlightening conversations with Wilkerson as well.

While he has blood on his hands for Iraq, i do believe he's capable of making strides in a more human direction.  This might be one of them, but what do i know?

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Tue Oct 21st, 2008 at 05:53:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He has 'expressed regret' for his UN presentation.

I'm more inclined to see this as opportunism, and a wish for another bite of the cherry.

But if it kicks the crutches out from under the McCain non-campaign, that's not a bad bonus.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Oct 21st, 2008 at 08:24:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Democracy Now.

What a fucking asshole!  Worthless piece of shit!  I don't give a rat's ass about a bump it gives Obama.

Suck my dick and kiss my ass, you fucking bastard!

And I'm holding back what I would REALLY like to type concerning that cock-sucking bastard!

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Tue Oct 21st, 2008 at 08:51:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Um, that's gone over the line for me and I'm pretty relaxed about obscenity. Tone it down. Or more to the point, refrain from implied homophobia.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Oct 21st, 2008 at 09:18:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hi Twank - did you get my e-mail?
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 21st, 2008 at 09:20:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bernanke Endorses Obama - WSJ.com

Ben Bernanke apparently wants four more years as Federal Reserve Chairman. At least that's a reasonable conclusion after Mr. Bernanke all but submitted his job application to Barack Obama yesterday by endorsing the Democratic version of fiscal "stimulus."

>While the Fed chief said any stimulus should be "well targeted," even a general endorsement amounts to a political green light. Mr. Bernanke certainly knows that Mr. Obama and Democrats on Capitol Hill are talking about some $300 billion in new "stimulus" spending, while President Bush and Republicans are resisting. And by saying any help should "limit longer-term effects" on the federal deficit, he had to know he was reinforcing Democratic opposition to permanent tax cuts.



Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Oct 21st, 2008 at 02:40:21 PM EST


Display:
Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]