Sunday, May 24, 2009

Powell Says He's Still Republican

The voice of reason:

Powell has nearly convinced me that Obama should've waited to ask for Gitmo closure money, especially since the democrats were going to vote against it. But I still wonder if it isn't part of some grander plan. Obama has a way of thinking bigger than anyone else. I wish Powell would show up to voice his opinion more often. He makes so much more sense than the rest of the republicans out there.

Powell on Limbaugh:
SCHIEFFER: What about Rush Limbaugh? A lot of people who are Republicans say, hey, people are taking him too seriously. He is just an entertainer. But he’s been on your case for quite a while. When you announced you were voting for Barack Obama , he said the only reason he’s doing that is because Barack Obama is black. Was he calling you a racist?

POWELL: I don’t know what he was doing by that, and I don’t want to exchange insults with him. But I thought it was unfortunate. I laid out a very specific set of reasons as to why I was voting for Barack Obama . Mr. Limbaugh saw fit to dismiss all those reasons and put it into a racial context, that the only reason I did it is I was black and I had never voted for a Democrat before.

Well, yes, I have. I voted for John Kennedy. I voted for Lyndon Johnson. I even voted for Jimmy Carter. And I’ve always tried to vote for the best man. But he put it in that racial context, and I thought that that was very unfortunate.

What about the 69 million people who voted for Barack Obama ? Did they all do it on the basis of race? Why doesn’t he sort of comment on those?

But Mr. Limbaugh is entitled to his opinion. And I don’t say he shouldn’t have a opinion. The nature of our country is we ought to debate these things. But he shouldn’t have a veto over what someone thinks. And he’s an entertainer. He is a radio figure, and he is a significant one. But he’s more than that. When the chairman of the RNC, Michael Steele, issues the mildest of criticism concerning Mr. Limbaugh, and then 24 hours later the chairman of the RNC has to lay prostrate on the floor apologizing for it, and when two congressmen offer the mildest criticism of Mr. Limbaugh, they too within 24 hours have such pressure brought to bear on them that they have to change their view and apologize for criticizing him -- well, if he’s out there, he should be subject to criticism, just as I am subject to criticism.

Let’s debate the future of the party. And let’s let all segments of the party come in.

You know, my model for the Republican Party is a great man we just lost, a man by the name of Jack Kemp. Jack was as conservative as anybody. We all know Jack. And Jack also was a man who believed in inclusiveness, reaching out to minorities, reaching out to the poor, sharing the wealth. Which became a bad term last fall, but sharing the wealth of the country not only with the rich, but with those who are least advantaged in our society. It’s that kind of Jack Kemp Republicanism that I like, and I would like to see the party move more in that kind of a direction.
Powell on closing Guantanamo:
SCHIEFFER: Let’s talk a little bit about Guantanamo. The vice president came out very hard against the Obama administration and his policies. He said it would be a mistake to close Guantanamo. Others have said it would actually pose a danger to this country if these people are brought back. Do you think Guantanamo should be closed, General?

POWELL: Yes. I felt Guantanamo should be closed for the past six years, and I lobbied and presented reasons to President Bush.

And Mr. Cheney is not only disagreeing with President Obama’s policy. He’s disagreeing with President Bush’s policy. President Bush stated repeatedly to international audiences and to the country that he wanted to close Guantanamo. The problem he had was he couldn’t get all the pieces together.

Secretary Rice, Secretary of State Rice and Secretary of Defense Gates had come forward with plans, but the plans ran into difficulties with Department of Justice and others.

So it is a complex problem, and President Bush wasn’t able to close Guantanamo on his watch. And President Obama came in saying he would close Guantanamo, and he has run into some of those same sorts of problems. So I think we need to kind of take the heat out of this issue.

I think President Obama didn’t handle it very well by going up to the Congress and asking for $80 million without a plan. And by, frankly, giving enough time to opponents of it to marshal their forces as to why we shouldn’t do this.

But Guantanamo has caused us a great deal of trouble throughout the world. And Mr. Cheney the other day said, well, we’re doing it to satisfy European intellectuals or something like that.