Author Topic: What right do Colin Powell and Tom Ridge have to lecture the Republican Party?  (Read 552 times)

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Offline 5412

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Hi,

The following article was in the UK Telegraph.  I think he is spot on.

regards,
5412


What right do Colin Powell and Tom Ridge have to lecture the Republican party?
Posted By: Toby Harnden at May 25, 2009 at 04:55:26 [General]
Posted in: Foreign Correspondents
Tags:Barack Obama, Colin Powell, dick cheney, John McCain, Tom Ridge

Amid much ballyhoo, Colin Powell, former Secretary of State in the Bush administration, went on "Meet the Press" last October and endorsed Barack Obama for President.

His move was no real surprise and had been anticipated for at least a year but the timing and manner of it seemed designed to wreak the maximum political damage to his old friend John McCain.

So why does Powell now seem to think he has the right or credibility to lecture Republicans on how their party should be run? Just as he did not just go quietly into the polling booth and vote for Obama, Powell is not working discreetly behind the behind the scenes at party gatherings to press his case.

No, he did his business on a Sunday television talk show, CBS's Face the Nation, today - watch it here.

Now it's easy to feel some sympathy for Powell. He was clearly marginalised during the Bush administration, lost the big arguments and yet was the man who will be remembered ever more for his UN presentation in which he pressed the case for war with Iraq based on evidence that has since crumbled.

Vice President Cheney was perhaps unnecessarily cutting when he said that he assumed Powell had already left the party. Being goaded by Rush Limbaugh about having voted for Obama "solely based on race" must be very difficult to take.

But thinking that you can vote for the Democratic presidential candidate - and one assumes that Powell still supports Obama and will vote for him in 2012 - and remain a senior figure in the Republican party is trying to have your cake and eat it.

In Britain, such an act by a Member of Parliament would lead to the party Whip being withdrawn - effectively casting an MP out of the party.

There is apparently no similar formal mechanism here in the US but Cheney was not being unreasonable in assuming that by publicly and forcefully endorsing a Democratic candidate Powell was voluntarily stepping out of the GOP.

Another Republican moderate was on television today - Tom Ridge, former Pennsylvania governor and Homeland Security chief, who appeared on John King's State of the Union. Transcript here.

As expected, Ridge duly laid into Cheney and Limbaugh. Then, when he was asked whether he would support the Republican nominee in the Pennsylvania Senate race if it were (as is highly likely) Pat Toomey he pointedly declined to do so.

After Ridge said that he had a "secret ballot"and was "going to wait to see if the people that I know whom I might support decide to make the difficult decision to run" King - as usual - posed exactly the right follow-up.

"Why should any Republicans listen to you if you won't commit to voting for the Republican nominee?" King asked.

Ridge responded: "Well, it begins on the message and the messenger. You know, I'm a strong, strong, Republican, but I'd be - I've never, ever, ever voted straight Republican ticket in my life and I never will."

Well, that's fine and of course Ridge is entitled to vote for whoever he wants to, just as Powell is.

My point is not that Powell and Ridge have not been fine public servants or do not have a huge amount to offer their country. It isn't even that their ideas about the Republican party needing to broaden its base if it is to return to power are not valid. They may well be absolutely right.

But there's a reason why political parties exist, and party discipline matters. Most parties rightly expect their senior members to vote for that party's candidates or if they do not at the very least to keep quiet about it. If not then the party is damaged.

For the time being, though, Republicans are being told what they must do by one man who will almost certainly vote for Obama in 2012 and another who will almost certainly vote for Senator Arlen Specter, a newly-minted Democrat, in 2010.

It's hardly surprising that many Republicans don't like this at all.

Offline SSG Snuggle Bunny

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I'm a liberal democrat and I reserve the right to tell other liberal democrats how to think and vote.

All kidding aside, we're seeing the multiplication of the McCain effect. This is the exact same mavericky BS the Arizonan pulled...all the way to his stunning defeat last year. How these 2 think they will fare any better is indiscernible.
According to the Bible, "know" means "yes."

Offline 5412

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I'm a liberal democrat and I reserve the right to tell other liberal democrats how to think and vote.

All kidding aside, we're seeing the multiplication of the McCain effect. This is the exact same mavericky BS the Arizonan pulled...all the way to his stunning defeat last year. How these 2 think they will fare any better is indiscernible.

Good Morning,

I wrote two blistering letter to Michael Steele which I posted a few weeks ago.  Yesterday I got two separate form letter back, both saying the same thing....kind of reinforcing the big tent theory.  In the same batch of mail I received my GOLD republican membership card along with a self addressed, stamped envelope asking for a donation. The note said that only 1% of the republicans get this card.   Yeahhhh, riggght!  I put my usual note in it and sent it back, "Until the Republican Party becomes a true conservative party, my mouth will be open and my checkbook closed."

They just do not get it.  Being lib lites aint gonna get it done.

regards,
5412

Offline DumbAss Tanker

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Quote
Being goaded by Rush Limbaugh about having voted for Obama "solely based on race" must be very difficult to take.

Hey, truth hurts.

Anyone remember the Black general in "Mars Attacks?"  That's Powell to a "T."
Go and tell the Spartans, O traveler passing by
That here, obedient to their law, we lie.

Anything worth shooting once is worth shooting at least twice.