“I come to the conclusion that because of his ability to inspire, because of the inclusive nature of his campaign, because he is reaching out all across America, because of who he is and his rhetorical abilities — and you have to take that into account — as well as his substance — he has both style and substance. He has met the standard of being a successful president, being an exceptional president…
“Now that we have had a chance to watch [Sarah Palin] 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…
“Mr. McCain says that [Bill Ayers is] a washed up terrorist, but then why do we keep talking about him? And why do we have the 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…”
When asked about claims that Barack Obama is a Muslim, Powell stated:
“Well, the correct answer is, [Barack Obama] 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.
“[John McCain] is essentially going to execute the Republican agenda, the orthodoxy of the Republican agenda with a new face and a maverick approach to it, and he’d be quite good at it, but I think we need more than that. I think we need a generational change. I think Senator Obama has captured the feelings of the young people of America and is reaching out in a more diverse, inclusive way across our society…
“Those kinds of images going out on al Jazeera are killing us around the world. And we have got to say to the world, it doesn’t make any difference who you are or what you are, if you’re an American you’re an American. And this business of, for example a congresswoman from Minnesota going around saying let’s examine all congressmen to see who is pro America or not pro America, we have got to stop this kind of non-sense and pull ourselves together and remember that our great strength is in our unity and diversity. That really was driving me.”
When asked about the Democrats policies being “socialist”, Powell commented:
“We can’t judge our people and hold our elections on that kind of basis. Yes, that kind of negativity troubled me. And the constant shifting of the argument, I was troubled a couple of weeks ago when in the middle of the crisis the campaign said ‘we’re going to go negative,’ and they announced it. ‘We’re going to go negative and attack his character through Bill Ayers.’ Now I guess the message this week is we’re going to call him a socialist. Mr. Obama is now a socialist, because he dares to suggest that maybe we ought to look at the tax structure that we have. Taxes are always a redistribution of money. Most of the taxes that are redistributed go back to those who pay them, in roads and airports and hospitals and schools. And taxes are necessary for the common good. And there’s nothing wrong with examining what our tax structure is or who should be paying more or who should be paying les, and for us to say that makes you a socialist is an unfortunate characterization that I don’t think is accurate.”
Adding to the list of conservative organs endorsing Barack Obama for President, conservative talk radio host Michael Smerconish said this today:
“I’ve decided. My conclusion comes after reading the candidates’ memoirs and campaign platforms, attending both party conventions, interviewing both men multiple times, and watching all primary and general election debates.
“John McCain is an honorable man who has served his country well. But he will not get my vote. For the first time since registering as a Republican 28 years ago, I’m voting for a Democrat for president.
“I may have been an appointee in the George H.W. Bush administration, and master of ceremonies for George W. Bush in 2004, but last Saturday I stood amidst the crowd at an Obama event in North Philadelphia.”
In addition, the Chicago Tribune endorsed Obama today as well. The Tribune has not endorsed a Democrat for president since it was founded in 1847. Today they printed in their editorial:
We can provide some assurance. We have known Obama since he entered politics a dozen years ago. We have watched him, worked with him, argued with him as he rose from an effective state senator to an inspiring U.S. senator to the Democratic Party’s nominee for president.
We have tremendous confidence in his intellectual rigor, his moral compass and his ability to make sound, thoughtful, careful decisions. He is ready.
…It may have seemed audacious for Obama to start his campaign in Springfield, invoking Lincoln. We think, given the opportunity to hold this nation’s most powerful office, he will prove it wasn’t so audacious after all. We are proud to add Barack Obama’s name to Lincoln’s in the list of people the Tribune has endorsed for president of the United States.
I commented on this just several days ago in an earlier post, but it seems even ordinary Republicans are commenting on the very real dangers inherent in this sort of irresponsible campaigning. While the “lynch mobs” are getting their anger and hatred fueled by both McCain and Palin, the “real” Republicans are starting to insist that this has nothing to do with what they signed on for and some are actively beginning to revoke their support for McCain/Palin.
At a McCain rally just last Wednesday in Pennsylvania, a woman yelled out about Obama, “He’s a damn liar! Get him. He’s bad for our country.” Activists are openly calling Obama a terrorist. At another rally on Thursday, the crowd busted out with name calling with one woman ranting, “Obama Osama!” , while local officials at other McCain/Palin rallies have warmed up the crowds by railing against “Barack Hussein Obama.” In the meantime, John McCain and Sarah Palin have done nothing to temper this behavior, but have, in fact, continued to incite it!
Even John Weaver, McCain’s former top strategist, has openly commented that it is McCain and Palin’s responsibility to temper this behavior:
“People need to understand, for moral reasons and the protection of our civil society, the differences with Sen. Obama are ideological, based on clear differences on policy and a lack of experience compared to Sen. McCain. And from a purely practical political vantage point, please find me a swing voter, an undecided independent, or a torn female voter that finds an angry mob mentality attractive.
“Sen. Obama is a classic liberal with an outdated economic agenda. We should take that agenda on in a robust manner. As a party we should not and must not stand by as the small amount of haters in our society question whether he is as American as the rest of us. Shame on them and shame on us if we allow this to take hold.”
Today, former Republican Gov. William Milliken reported that he will no longer be supporting John McCain:
“He is not the McCain I endorsed. He keeps saying, ‘Who is Barack Obama?’ I would ask the question, ‘Who is John McCain?’ because his campaign has become rather disappointing to me.
“I’m disappointed in the tenor and the personal attacks on the part of the McCain campaign, when he ought to be talking about the issues.”
Milken, who is 86, went on to comment about the McCain/Palin ticket:
“I know John McCain is 72. In my book, that’s quite young. [But] what if [Palin] were to become president of the United States? The idea, to me, is quite disturbing, if not appalling.
“Increasingly, the party is moving toward rigidity, and I don’t like that. I think Gerald Ford would hold generally the same view I’m holding on the direction of the Republican Party.”
Lincoln Chafee, a former Republican U.S. senator from Rhode Island, said he’s voting for Obama and urging others to do likewise:
“That’s not my kind of Republicanism. I saw what Bush and Cheney did. They came in with a (budget) surplus and a stable world, and look what’s happened now. In eight short years they’ve taken one peaceful and prosperous world, and they’ve torn it into tatters… there are a whole lot of us deserting.”
Bob Eleveld, a former Kent County Republican chairman who led McCain’s West Michigan campaign in 2000, had this to say:
“I think the straight talk is gone. I think he’s pandering to the Christian right. That’s some straight talk from me.”
Here’s a video from a McCain rally in which Senator McCain lets a supporter rant about “socialists taking over our country” and refer to Barack Obama and other Democrats as “hooligans.”:
John J. Pitney Jr., a political science professor at California’s Claremont McKenna College and former Republican operative, had this to say about Republicans acting out their longstanding frustrations:
“McCain has always frustrated the Republican base. In this campaign, he has alternated between partisan attacks and calls for bipartisan cooperation. It’s nice that he thinks he can round up congressional votes the way a border collie rounds up sheep. But you can’t be a border collie and a pit bull at the same time. The crowds want a pit bull.”
I said it earlier and I’ll repeat it because it bears repeating. This is dangerous. This is not a battle of ideologies, but a lynch mob. There is very real violence that can erupt out of this and people may be killed as a result. McCain and Palin are losing this election and they are desperate. Desperate enough to incite the most dangerous and long-brewing characteristics of their worst followers. And this is the team running for highest office in our land? Is this what we’ve been reduced to? A country built on angry mob mentality? This country has been split in ways not seen since the Civil War and only nearly matched by the protest movements of the Vietnam era. Do not underestimate the power of people when they become frightened and feel cornered and their hatred, fear, and anger is given fuel.