As The Powell Turns

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on July 3, 2009

I am going to be interested in the reaction of Obama supporters who made much of Colin Powell’s endorsement of the eventual 44th President to Powell’s recent comments on the Obama Administration’s fiscal policy:

Colin Powell, one of President Obama’s most prominent Republican supporters, expressed concern Friday that the president’s ambitious blitz of costly initiatives may be enlarging the size of government and the federal debt too much.

“I’m concerned at the number of programs that are being presented, the bills associated with these programs and the additional government that will be needed to execute them,” Mr. Powell said in an excerpt of an interview with CNN’s John King, released by the network Friday morning.

Mr. Powell, a retired U.S. army general who rose to political prominence after a long and accomplished military career, said that health care reform and many of Mr. Obama’s other initiatives are “important” to Americans.

But, he said, “one of the cautions that has to be given to the president — and I’ve talked to some of his people about this — is that you can’t have so many things on the table that you can’t absorb it all.”

“And we can’t pay for it all,” said Mr. Powell, who was the first African-American to serve as secretary of state, under former President George W. Bush. He was also national security adviser to President Reagan, and was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President George H.W. Bush from 1989 to 1993.

All of this is true, of course. And just as surely, we can ask Powell whether he still thinks that endorsing a President like Barack Obama, whose sense of fiscal prudence is utterly non-existent, was a good idea.

Those questions can come later, however. For now, it is worth noting and emphasizing Powell’s critique, given how high-profile his endorsement of Obama was. Incidentally, this episode helps bolster my argument that for all of the heartburn he occasionally causes, it is far, far, far better to have Colin Powell inside the Republican tent, as opposed to casting him out of the party.

Previous post:

Next post: