Sunday, October 19, 2008

Powell Endorses Obama

This is interesting and exciting news but one wonders if Powell, once described as the "most respected man in the nation," will matter all that much to those currently on the fence. If the recent experiences of Parker and Buckley are any indication, I also wonder how many hate emails and death threats he will receive from the Joe Six Packs out there.

Personally, I have to respect the man.  His cautious realism was eventually bested in the knife fight that made up the decision to invade Iraq and his Security Council presentation is a "blot" (as Powell describes it) on his service. But is apparently the case that he did his best to slow things down and he has had the courage to own up to the role he played in taking the country to a war which, if Stiglitz is to be believed, will have severe consequences for the nation going forward. 

His call this morning for unity, fairness, inclusion, and (yes) fair play? Wonderfully and powerfully said. 

But again, will it matter?

Is the process of American politics, that toxic mix of hate, rumor and innuendo, likely to change any time soon such that notions of unity, inclusion, and fairness become central? Powell seems to think so and, this morning, I share his hope. 


GVB said...

Of course this won't really matter, but like you say it is refreshing to hear such articulate and thoughtful arguments for a candidate, but anyone who is impressed or swayed by Powell is already voting for Obama. Anyone who is not already voting for Obama has long ago placed Powell into a category that allows them to dismiss his ideas and arguments.

As for the current state of electoral politics...I am not optimistic. Those predisposed to supporting a Republican candidate willingly ignore anything that suggests their candidate has a flaw. Those predisposed to voting for a Democratic candidate willingly do the same.

As someone who is supposed to teach logic and argumentation, critical thinking and analysis of information, I weep at the level of discourse in these elections.

What I wonder about lately is the role of the Internet and the 24 hours news cycle on all of this. When there is enough information out there to support ANY cause or claim, any cause or claim can gain traction and force its way into the discourse. Hello William Ayers. Hello ACORN.

And if those claims are refuted? The refutation is either ignored or discounted as coming from a biased source.

The base is going to vote the way they are going to vote. And the remaining "undecided" voters are being swayed, in the end, by what? Hunch? If you are undecided at this point, what the hell have you been watching? What do you not know now that you will on November 3rd? It boggles the mind.


rpd said...

I tend to agree with your pessimism about the state of the nation's rhetoric and find this entirely depressing. Usually we have a 4-year respite from such nonsense but the permanent campaign mentality coupled with the 24-hours news cycle and the Net has meant no respite. All has become Sophism hasn't it? What a spectacular thing to see, the inmates running the asylum.

This election will turn on the Moderates of both parties I think and this may be where Powell comes it (that is if anyone actually remembers him and that he remains relevant). Are we seeing a realignment from the Reagan coalition?

Andy said...

Patricia Cohen addressed the unease that some conservative
have expressed with Bush/Palin in today's NY Times

rpd said...

I read that piece the other day. As Cohen concludes the question really is whether or not the difference between the "rank and file" and the party elite is significant.