This morning, former Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press to discuss the nomination of former Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) to Secretary of Defense. During the discussion, David Gregory asked the liberal Powell, nominally a Republican but a longtime supporter of President Barack Obama, about the Republican Party. “I’m struck when you talk about Republicans as they. I know you insist despite voting for President Obama twice now that you’re still a Republican. But as– as I go through your record on some social issues and even foreign policy issues, I challenge you a little bit to say on what basis are you still a Republican? Do you feel like this Republican Party has left you or have you left it?”
Now, this is a half-decent question, given that Powell has been quite liberal on the issues for years now. But Powell’s answer wasn’t that he differed from Republicans on the issues. Instead, he went directly to the most common liberal meme these days in defending a radical left president: Republicans are racist. It’s a bully tactic that has become all the rage these days – Republicans don’t oppose Obama on policy, and they don’t have a good rationale for standing against liberalism. It’s just that they secretly hate black people.
Here’s what he said:
I think the Republican Party right now is having an identity problem. And I’m still a Republican. I’m a Republican who grew up along with George Bush XLI. I grew up with Ronald Reagan, Cap Weinberger, Frank Carlucci, that Republican Party, the Republican Party of Dick Lugar and John Tower. But in recent years, there’s been a significant shift to the right and we have seen what that shift has produced, two losing presidential campaigns.
So far, this is a typical leftist talking point. The Republican Party has not moved to the right. In fact, it has moved in rather extreme ways to the left, given its spending record and establishment opposition to the Tea Party. Ronald Reagan was significantly more conservative than George W. Bush. But this was prelude to Powell’s real agenda: labeling Republicans closet bigots.
I think what the Republican Party needs to do now is take a very hard look at itself and understand that the country has changed. The country is changing demographically. And if the Republican Party does not change along with that demographic, they’re going to be in trouble. And so, when we see that in one more generation, the minorities of America, African-Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Asian Americans will be the majority of the country, you can’t go around saying we don’t want to have a solid immigration policy. We’re going to dismiss the 47 percent. We are going to make it hard for these minorities to vote as they did in the last election. What did that produce? The court struck most of that down and most importantly, it caused people to turn out and stand in line because these Republicans were trying to keep us from voting. There’s also a dark– a dark vein of intolerance in some parts of the Party. What I do 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, says 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 it. Birther, the whole Birther Movement. Why do senior Republican leaders tolerate this kind of discussion within the Party? I think the Party has to take a look at itself. It has to take a look at its responsibilities for health care. It has to take a look at immigration. It has to take a look at those less fortunate than us. The Party has gathered unto itself a reputation that it is the party of the rich. It is the party of lower taxes. But there are a lot of people who are lower down the food chain, the economic chain, who are also paying lots of taxes relative to their income and they need help. We need more education work being done in this country. We need a solid immigration policy. We have to look at climate change. There are a lot of things that the American people are expecting and the Republican Party, as they get ready for the next election, really has to focus on some of these issues and not ignore them. Everybody wants to talk about who’s going to be the candidate. You better think first about what’s the party they’re actually going to represent. If it’s just going to represent the far right-wing of the political spectrum, I think the Party is in difficulty. I’m a moderate but I’m still a Republican, that’s how I was raised. And until I voted for Mister Obama twice, I had voted for seven straight Republican presidents.
Notice the subtle linkage there: Republicans oppose global warming, immigration reform of the type leftists want, redistribution of income, not out of principle, but out of hatred of those with a different skin color. This is despicable. And it is a lie. Powell’s statements are outrageous. His statements about “shuckin’ and jivin'”? He’s referring to former Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AL), who wrote this about President Obama’s feckless foreign policy on Benghazi:
Why the lies? Why the cover up? Why the dissembling about the cause of the murder of our ambassador on the anniversary of the worst terrorist attacks on American soil? We deserve answers to this. President Obama’s shuck and jive shtick with these Benghazi lies must end.
Is that racist? Of course not. But Powell labels it racist because it serves his political ends.
Is the word “lazy” racist? If so, half the media hates white folks, because presidents going back to Dwight D. Eisenhower have routinely been labeled lazy.
As for the birthers, nobody in the mainstream of the Republican Party has ever given credibility to them. Only in Colin Powell’s opportunistic mind is the GOP linked with birtherism.
What’s more, Powell is the last person on earth who should be making this claim. He says that he voted for President Obama twice because he’s a moderate Republican whose party has left him. That’s nonsense. In 2008, Republicans ran the most moderate Republican in history in Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). And Powell voted against him. Why? Let Powell, circa 2009, explain:
And I spoke at length with John McCain about his campaign and I watched Mr. Obama and his campaign. And at the end, I cannot say I was totally colorblind. But at the end, I convinced myself, based on the facts as I saw it, that he was the better choice for this time in our nation’s history.
It is Colin Powell and his perspective that are underlaced with a vein of intolerance. Powell should know better than anyone that the GOP has no such vein – after all, the GOP discussed the possibility of him running for president on its ticket for years. No, this is about liberal bullying and thuggery – claiming that anyone who opposes leftist policies does so out of racism rather than political differences. And it’s vile.
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the book “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).