A Reasonable Man In an Increasingly Unreasonable Party

Want to make a Republican mad?  Tell them there’s a strong strain of racial intolerance in their party.

Want to make a Republican even madder.  Let the person telling them be another Republican and one with unimpeachable credentials.   Someone like Colin Powell.

While the pundits in Washington gripe about the lack of racial diversity in Obama’s new Cabinet (so far) they have forgotten the Republicans have a far greater problem with racial diversity. They don’t want any according to Powell.

“There’s also a dark vein of intolerance in some parts of the party,” Powell said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “What do I mean by that?  What I mean by that is they still sort of look down on minorities.”

Without naming them, Powell went after the swinish John Sununu, the Mitt Romney supporter for describing President Obama as “lazy” and America’s favorite ditz, Sarah Palin for referring to the president’s explanations about the embassy attack in Libya as “shuck and jive.'”    It probably hadn’t slipped Powell’s mind how Sununu had dismissed his second endorsement of Obama as being racially based and didn’t mince words about the casual way the Republicans have infused race-baiting of the president in their criticisms of the president.

There is also a dark vein of intolerance in some parts of the party. What do I mean by that? I mean by that is they still sort of look down on minorities. How can I evidence that? When I see a former governor say that the President is “shuckin’ and jivin’,” that’s a racial-era slave term. When I see another former governor after the president’s first debate where he didn’t do very well say that the president was lazy. He didn’t say he was slow. He was tired. He didn’t do well. He said he was lazy. Now, it may not mean anything to most Americans, but to those of us who are African Americans, the second word is shiftless and then there’s a third word that goes along with that. The birther, the whole birther movement. Why do senior Republican leaders tolerate this kind of discussion within the party?

The pushback to Powell was swift and predictably, attacked the former Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff personally instead of addressing the issue.

“Powell’s behavior is petulant. Attacking Republicans makes him a liberal media darling and provides more fuel to Bush-haters. Yet Powell is no saint. He is just a disgruntled ex-employee who dislikes the boss who fired him,” growled Eric Golub in the Washington Times.

“I think the case that he makes is weak, and it is an odd thing for a man who declares himself to be a Republican—and has done so well under Republican presidents—to say,” snorted Brit Hume to Bill O’Reilly who dismissed Powell saying “used to be a Republican and I don’t think he is any longer.”

The yapping of the attack dogs of the conservative media won’t deter Powell from telling hard truths to the more reasonable members of the Republican Party.   The GOP has been on the sick end of two straight losing national elections and as it moves further to the extreme Right, it has left Blacks, Asians and most importantly, Latinos, behind for the Democrats.   Powell has been consistent in explaining why this has happened, but it seems to be falling on deaf ears to his fellow Republicans.

“I think the Republican Party is having an identity problem,” Powell said, “If it’s just going to represent the far right wing of the political spectrum, I think the party is in difficulty.”  The former Bush Cabinet member said he voted for a GOP presidential candidate seven times in a row before voting for President Obama twice. “I’m a moderate, but I’m still a Republican.”  The general is absolutely right about the dire state of the Republican Party but saying that out loud will get you denounced as a RINO (Republican In Name Only) by the factions who specialize in that kind of thing.

They would be better served to shut up and listen to one of the few Republicans left with widespread crossover appeal.   The moderation of Powell’s voice may irritate the likes of O’Reilly, Hume and Golub but what irritates them more is Powell’s criticisms have the sting of harsh truth to them and he remains one of the most admired men in this country.

When Powell speaks, it carries much weight and Americans respond to his words.   That’s what his critics fear the most.  They might have to actually start working on fixing what’s wrong with the Republican brand and would sooner cut off their right nut than give up their Obama Hate-A-Thon.

And they really are mad at Powell for calling them out for it and spoiling their fun.

Sorry, Colin. I promised Joe I’d keep him around for my second term.

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Will White Racism Put a White Man In the White House?

Does Mitt Romney approve of THIS message?

I’ve been asked by my Republican friends to refrain from criticizing all of them and instead single out individuals or simply say “some Republicans, not all Republicans.”

I can do that.  Some Republicans are racist assholes.   One specific Republican who is a fucking racist asshole is John Sununu, the chairman of Mitt Romney’s campaign.   Following Colin Powell’s endorsement of President Obama for a second term, Sununu was interviewed by CNN’s clownish Piers Morgan.

You would expect Team Romney to shrug off the former Bush Administration Secretary of State supporting their rival, but Sununu, a man with a breathlessly nasty temperament couldn’t refrain from showing just how nasty he is.

MORGAN: “Colin Powell has decided to opt for President Obama again, despite apparently still being a Republican. Is it time he left the party?”

SUNUNU: “Well, I’m not sure how important that is. I do like the fact that Colin Powell’s boss, George Herbert Walker Bush, has endorsed Mitt Romney all along. And frankly, when you take a look at Colin Powell, you have to wonder if that’s an endorsement based on issues, or whether he’s got a slightly different reason for preferring President Obama.”

MORGAN: “What reason would that be?”

SUNUNU: “Well, I think when you have somebody of your own race that you’re proud of being President of the United States, I applaud Colin for standing with him.”

That’s today’s Republican Party.  There’s nothing too reactionary or inflammatory or just flat-out stupid someone with an “R” after their  name can say that goes too far.    Is Sununu backing Romney because he’s of his own race?   For far too long it’s been thrown in the face of Black supporters of Obama that, “You’re voting for him because he’s Black.”   Which is crap.   I’m voting for Obama because he’s not Mitt Romney.

Hey Mitt. Put a muzzle on your dog.

Whites vote for candidates for no reason than they’re White and that’s accepted as standard operating procedure.   Blacks are supposed to apologize and explain why they support someone who looks like them.  Could it be the content of his character, not the color of his skin, makes Obama the best man for the job?

Not to shitheads like Sununu.    Col. Lawrence Wilkerson told liberal talk show host Ed Schultz “My party, unfortunately, is the bastion of those people, not all of them, but most of them, who are still basing their decision on race,” Wilkerson said. “Let me just be candid: My party is full of racists.”

“And the real reason a considerable portion of my party wants President Obama out of the White House  has nothing to do with the content of his character, nothing to do with his competence as commander-in-chief and president, and everything to do with the color of his skin. And that’s despicable.”

President Obama refused to bite Sununu’s race-bait.   In a radio interview Obama said, “I don’t think that there are many people in America who would question Gen. Powell’s credibility, his patriotism, his willingness to tell it straight.  So any suggestion that Gen. Powell would make such a  profound statement in such an important election based on anything other than what he thought would be best for America doesn’t make much sense.”

The Republican Party is not racist.  Republicans are not by nature any more racist than Democrats.   But racists are voting Republicans and when Romney allows his people to race-bait in such an overt way it speaks volumes on how little he cares when his campaign wallows in craven appeals to bigotry.

Not only do anti-Black attitudes still exist, they have been growing and thriving since America elected its first Black president.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Racial attitudes have not improved in the four years since the United States elected its first black president, an Associated Press poll finds, as a slight majority of Americans now express prejudice toward blacks whether they recognize those feelings or not.

Those views could cost President Barack Obama votes as he tries for re-election, the survey found, though the effects are mitigated by some Americans’ more favorable views of blacks.

Powell and his peeps hangin’ out.

Racial prejudice has increased slightly since 2008 whether those feelings were measured using questions that explicitly asked respondents about racist attitudes, or through an experimental test that measured implicit views toward race without asking questions about that topic directly.

In all, 51 percent of Americans now express explicit anti-black attitudes, compared with 48 percent in a similar 2008 survey. When measured by an implicit racial attitudes test, the number of Americans with anti-black sentiments jumped to 56 percent, up from 49 percent during the last presidential election. In both tests, the share of Americans expressing pro-black attitudes fell.

“As much as we’d hope the impact of race would decline over time … it appears the impact of anti-black sentiment on voting is about the same as it was four years ago,” said Jon Krosnick, a Stanford University professor who worked with AP to develop the survey.

Romney will never say he wants anyone to vote for him because he’s White, but he certainly knows he will get a lot of votes because he is.

Race matters and racism matters as well.  What some suspected, many already knew: if Obama will get Black votes because he’s Black, it’s equally true that he won’t get votes from Whites because he’s Black.

This has nothing to do with party affiliation.  There are Democrats who won’t support a Black candidate too.   The sentiment that there needs to be a White man in the White House doesn’t have to be said out loud.   It hangs in the air unsaid, but clear.

If Obama loses, White racism won’t be the reason.   But it will be one of the reasons.

Endorsements Don’t Matter But Some Don’t Matter At All

“I’d like to help you out, Barack, but my wife made me sleep on the couch the last time I did.”

Some weeks nothing much of interest happens on the Internet ( Wasn’t there a debate or something?) and even the most trivial event can take on major importance.   Fresh off an Entertainment Weekly cover where she reminded the world she’s still fine at 46,  Stacey Dash chose to come out as Mitt Romney supporter as she tweeted, “Vote for Romney. The only choice for your future. @mittromney @teamromney #mittromney #VOTE #voteromney.”

I’m thinking it might not be a  coincidence immediately after reminding us she was still alive Dash decides to come out of the Black conservative closet.    Perhaps she was thinking,  “People are talking are talking about me again!   I’ll give them something to really talk about.”    The following Twitterstorm that erupted is a reminder how right Oscar Wilde was about there being no such thing as bad publicity.

I’ll bet Team Romney had to be pumped to have locked down the all-important Girl From a Kanye West video endorsement.   Now if Dash can find a few more unemployed Black actresses who haven’t appeared in a Tyler Perry flick she might be able to goose Romney’s support among African-Americans from zero to one percent.

Still, Dash’s endorsement of Romney did get me to wondering .   Does her backing Mittens mean more than Colin Powell refusing so far to endorse anybody?   Last May,  Powell declined an opportunity to lend his support to President Obama for a second term saying he had yet to decide if he would “throw my weight behind someone.”

Five months later Powell still hasn’t decided if Obama or Romney will benefit from his weight.   With the election slightly more than three weeks away it’s probably too late for a Powell pat on the back to help or hurt either candidate.   The general’s support of Obama meant something in 2008, but what impact a second one might have has been lessened by keeping it in his back pocket this long.

When Powell appeared on Meet the Press and publicly broke away from his friend, John McCain to support Obama and called him a “transformative” figure, it enraged Republicans, delighted Democrats and probably pushed more than a few independents off the fence.   Four years ago, would Powell doubling down make a difference on the race?

“Hi. I’d like to talk to you about Mitt Romney. Got a minute?’

Probably not.  Powell is still widely respected  by the public, but in politics his support of Obama  has diminished his standing with Republicans who find him too moderate.   It’s no accident that it was Condoleeza Rice,  his successor as Secretary of State, who Romney gave a primetime speaking spot at the Republican National Convention.   Powell wasn’t even invited.    After four years on the job, Obama is going to win or lose on his own strengths and weaknesses.  He has his own track record to defend and what Powell thinks of Obama now really isn’t going to push votes toward or away from him.  Romney doesn’t need Powell’s support and while Obama probably wouldn’t mind having it, he’s not going to make a big push to get it.

If the refusal of one of  America’s most respected public figures to choose a horse in the race means little, the tweets of an obscure actress is about as significant as a butterfly fart in a tornado.

Dash is a pretty, minimally talented, well-preserved bit actress whose next project according to IMDB is something called “Dysfunctional Friends” where she stars with Terrell Owens (yes, that T.O.) that is probably never coming to a theater near you.   You’re best best to see Miss Dash in her latest starring role will probably be in the bottom row of a Redbox when all the copies of  Avengers and Prometheus  are gone.

Hey, somebody’s got to be a Black Republican.  More power to Dash for finding a way to make herself relevant again with most of her clothes on.

The experts say endorsements don’t really matter.   Does Stacey Dash co-signing Mitt Romney move a single vote his way?   As if.   If  Colin Powell’s support doesn’t matter you really have to clueless to believe Dash’s will.

Outsourcing Dinesh D’souza

“Yes, I don’t know what I’m talking about. No, that doesn’t stop me.”

Some books  really have no  good reason to exist.   One example of this is The End of Racism, a poorly-written and ill-conceived example of reading history badly, drawing all the wrong conclusions and fooling a publisher into believing there is a vast audience eager and stupid enough to put down $25 for bullshit like this:

“The American slave was treated like property, which is to say, pretty well.”

That kind of dim-witted pronouncement could have been made by any over served happy idiot just before closing time, but it since it was vomited forth by pseudo-intellectual Dinesh D’Souza, it proved once again that there’s no idea so stupid that there isn’t a conservative reader happy to part with $25 to have their prejudices affirmed.  I say “pseudo-intellectual” because D’Souza is so clearly out of his depth attempting to decipher the complexities of American race relations that he comes as a total dumb-ass. At the time he wrote his pretentious bit of quackery, D’ Souza was only 17 years relocated from Mumbai, India.  Hardly enough time to be sufficiently informed on the subject, but pompous enough to throw his two cents in any way.

When D’Souza appeared on a local radio program in 1996, I called in to thank him.  Cheerfully, I informed him I had written a review of his book for an alternative newspaper trashing his arguments and had won a “Best Critical Writing/Analysis” award from the local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.   Proving yet again it’s an ill wind that doesn’t blow some good to someone.

Right-wingers taking cheap shots and potshots at President Obama is nothing new, but every so often they find particularly repulsive avenues of attacks.   D’Souza got in on the act in scribbling  an essay for Forbes magazine, a piece of shit publication nobody I know admits to reading, for his book, The Roots of Obama’s Rage, suggesting the president is motivated by the dreams of his father in trying to weaken the country.

“Incredibly, the U.S. is being ruled according to the dreams of a Luo tribesman in the 1950s.  This philandering, inebriated African socialist, who raged against the world for denying him the realization of his anticolonial ambitions, is now setting the nation’s agenda through the reincarnation of his dreams in his son,”  D’Souza writes, “The son makes it happen, but he candidly admits he is only living out his father’s dream.  The invisible father provides the inspiration and the son dutifully gets the job done.  America today is governed by a ghost.”

“Intellectuals” like D’Souza and his dusky, like-minded soul brother, the irrelevant Thomas Sowell, are taken seriously only by their White patrons who flaunt them as examples of conservative “diversity.”

Newt Gingrich, the failed former Speaker of the House who hopes if America can choose a skinny Black guy named “Barack” won’t hesitate to replace him in 2012 with an ugly White guy named “Newt,” practically popped a woody proclaiming D’Souza’s ramblings as divinely inspired.

“FIVE! I said FIVE cheeseburgers, dammit!”

Newt said D’Souza provided a “stunning insight” into the character of the president and said, “What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]?   That is the most accurate, predictive model for his behavior.”

“This is a person who is fundamentally out of touch with how the world works, who happened to have played a wonderful con, as a result of which he is now president,” the Newt babbled to The National Review.

Got that you nearly 70 million morons who actually voted for this con man in 2008?  You got fooled.  And it took a guy named after a small, slimy little amphibian that produces toxins in their skin secretions such as salmonella to figure it out for you.

There are some brothers and sisters holding’ it down as conservatives whom I like, respect and even admire.  Then there are those like D’Souza or Michele Malkin and their ilk whom are straight-up bastards, sore losers and divisive assholes.  What makes them particularly vile is the gleeful way they feel they must prove their conservative credentials by being even more intolerant to racial minorities than their Caucasian counterparts.

That sort of smug arrogance and cheerful willingness to victimize others is to be expected from a nerdy punk like D’Souza whom as the editor of The Dartmouth Review published the names of officers of the Gay Student Alliance including the names of those who were still closeted.

Happily, not every conservative of color feels obliged to be a lawn jockey for the White Right.  One of the most principled and respected men in America, Colin Powell, went on Meet the Press and put the Newt in check.

“I would just tell my fellow Americans: think carefully about what was just said, think carefully about some of the stuff that is coming across the blogs and the airwaves. Let’s make a couple points: One, the president was born in the United States of America. Let’s get rid of that one, let’s get rid of the birther thing. Let’s attack him on policy and not nonsense. Next, he is a Christian. He is not a Muslim. Twenty percent of the people see he is a Muslim, 80 percent apparently do not believe he is a Muslim.”

Moderator David Gregory noted even more Republicans (30 percent, roughly) bought the Obama-is-a-Muslim myth.

“Well surprise, surprise. But I bet you a dollar if the unemployment rate was not 9.5 percent but it was down to four percent then you would find only five percent think he is a Muslim. So they are attacking the president on this line. But he is not a Muslim. He is a Christian, and I think we have to be careful when we take things like Dinesh D’souza’s book, which is the source for all this, and suggest that somehow the president of the United States is channeling his dead father through some Kenyan spirits. This doesn’t make any sense. Mr. Gingrich does these things from time to time, with a big bold statement. He did it with [Sonia] Sotomayor, she’s a reverse racist; he did it with Elena Kagan, she ought to be taken off the nomination for Supreme Court justice; and he does it occasionally to make news and also to stir up dust.”

Thank you Gen. Powell for being a reasonable man in an unreasonable time.  Two years after the fact, D’Souza still can’t wrap his  tiny brain and oversized ego around the concept that a Black man named Barack Obama could actually be President.  Lacking the courage to attack Obama on his policies D’Souza digs up the corpse of his father to slap him around a bit as a philandering, inebriated African socialist.”

It’s a special kind of coward that attacks the son through his dead father, but that’s the dubious content of Dinesh Souza’s scummy character.

A reasonable man in an unreasonable time

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The Powell Endorsement of Obama: Bigger than Oprah?

C.P. gets his funky on for the O-Man.

C.P. gets his funky on for the O-Man.

I worked twelve hours on Saturday, got home at 7:00 am Sunday, grabbed a very quick few hours of sleep and staggered downstairs to see General Colin Powell make his endorsement of Barack Obama.

There are only a few people whom I can honestly say I would be intimidated to interview, but Gen. Powell is first on that list. He is a Republican and I’m a Democrat, but I can hardly think of anyone who is more respected across party lines than Powell.

It was a class move on his part to say both McCain and Obama would be good if elected president. But I got the definite impression that the Palin pick was the decision that pushed Powell out of the McCain camp.

MR. BROKAW: General Powell, actually you gave a campaign contribution to Senator McCain. You have met twice at least with Barack Obama. Are you prepared to make a public declaration of which of these two candidates that you’re prepared to support?

GEN. POWELL: Yes, but let me lead into it this way. I know both of these individuals very well now. I’ve known John for 25 years as your setup said. And I’ve gotten to know Mr. Obama quite well over the past two years. Both of them are distinguished Americans who are patriotic, who are dedicated to the welfare of our country. Either one of them, I think, would be a good president. I have said to Mr. McCain that I admire all he has done. I have some concerns about the direction that the party has taken in recent years. It has moved more to the right than I would like to see it, but that’s a choice the party makes. And I’ve said to Mr. Obama, “You have to pass a test of do you have enough experience, and do you bring the judgment to the table that would give us confidence that you would be a good president.”

And I’ve watched him over the past two years, frankly, and I’ve had this conversation with him. I have especially watched over the last six of seven weeks as both of them have really taken a final exam with respect to this economic crisis that we are in and coming out of the conventions. And I must say that I’ve gotten a good measure of both. In the case of Mr. McCain, I found that he was a little unsure as to deal with the economic problems that we were having and almost every day there was a different approach to the problem. And that concerned me, sensing that he didn’t have a complete grasp of the economic problems that we had. And I was also concerned at the selection of Governor Palin. She’s a very distinguished woman, and she’s to be admired; but at the same time, now that we have had a chance to watch her for some seven weeks, I don’t believe she’s ready to be president of the United States, which is the job of the vice president. And so that raised some question in my mind as to the judgment that Senator McCain made.

Ooh. Dissed!

Not only is Powell’s endorsement significant, it was the only endorsement remaining that could possibly have an impact on the race

A Republican consultant on CNN said Powell’s endorsement of Obama is like “warm milk and cookies” to independents who might be uncertain about voting for the Democratic nominee. Nobody can make a credible
case that Powell would knowingly endorse someone who “pals around withterrorists,” is “anti-American” or a “socialist.”

Additionally, Powell made clear that he wasn’t cool with some of the tactics of the McCain campaign or how one certain group of Americans have been getting slammed pretty hard lately:

And I’ve also been disappointed, frankly, by some of the approaches that Senator McCain has taken recently, or his campaign ads, on issues that are not really central to the problems that the American people are worried about. This Bill Ayers situation that’s been going on for weeks became something of a central point of the campaign. But Mr. McCain says that he’s a washed-out terrorist. Well, then, why do we keep talking about him? And why do we have these robocalls going on around the country trying to suggest that, because of this very, very limited relationship that Senator Obama has had with Mr. Ayers, somehow, Mr. Obama is tainted. What they’re trying to connect him to is some kind of terrorist feelings. And I think that’s inappropriate.

Now, I understand what politics is all about. I know how you can go after one another, and that’s good. But I think this goes too far. And I think it has made the McCain campaign look a little narrow. It’s not what the American people are looking for. And I look at these kinds of approaches to the campaign and they trouble me. And the party has moved even further to the right, and Governor Palin has indicated a further rightward shift. I would have difficulty with two more conservative appointments to the Supreme Court, but that’s what we’d be looking at in a McCain administration. 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.

I feel strongly about this particular point because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was a photo essay about troops who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery, and she had her head on the headstone of her son’s grave. And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone. And it gave his awards–Purple Heart, Bronze Star–showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, date of death. He was 20 years old. And then, at the very top of the headstone, it didn’t have a Christian cross, it didn’t have the Star of David, it had crescent and a star of the Islamic faith. And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, and he was an American. He was born in New Jersey. He was 14 years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he can go serve his country, and he gave his life. Now, we have got to stop polarizing ourself in this way. And John McCain is as nondiscriminatory as anyone I know. But I’m troubled about the fact that, within the party, we have these kinds of expressions.

Republican. Conservative. Obama supporter. Got a problem with that?

Republican. Conservative. Obama supporter. Got a problem with that?

Can I get a witness?   Preach on, Colin.

As predictably as a dog with a weak bladder whizzing on a oak tree, some of the leading lights of the Right didn’t dig what Powell had to say:

“Secretary Powell says his endorsement is not about race, OK, fine. I am now researching his past endorsements to see if I can find all the inexperienced, very liberal, white candidates he has endorsed. I’ll let you know what I come up with.” ~ Rush “Viva Viagra” Limbaugh

“Alright, we gotta ask a question, look would Colin Powell be endorsing Obama if he were a white liberal democrat…”

~ Pat “Hitler was misunderstood” Buchanan

The orgy of Obamedia attention Powell will receive the next 24 hours is disproportionate to its importance. The press only loves maverick Republicans when they jump in bed with Democrats.

~ Michelle “Not an Illegal” Malkin

So Powell is backing Barack Obama just because they’re both Black, but it doesn’t matter since it’s not important?  Is that going to be The Official Spin of the Day sung by the loud and long from the righties in the media and blogosphere?

I’m of the mind that Gen. Powell was the guy who sold the world on the war that has cost both this country and the Iraqis so much in blood and money. I remember the day he gave that speech at the U.N., I was driving around and it was being broadcast live on the radio. There’s no doubt that when blame is passed out over who got us into this the wrong war for the wrong reasons, Colin Powell’s name will be prominently mentioned.

I don’t know if non-military types can fully understand how a guy like Powell could grit his teeth, set his shoulders and say, “Yes sir” when the President of the United States tells him he needs to go sell the war. When they say, “if you can’t respect the man, respect the office the man holds” this is what they mean. Powell allowed himself to be used and his loss of standing and respect to millions of people in America and the world is something he may never completely get back.

However, if Powell was on the wrong side of history then, by endorsing Barack Obama now, he is taking a step in getting back on the right side. As an act of contrition it falls far short. However, Colin Powell is still a formidable figure in America and by backing Barack he remains a relevant one.