Saturday, December 11, 2004

Colin Powell - Candidate Profile Five

A recent Gallup Poll shows Colin Powell is the early choice of 7% of Republicans for the 2008 nomination. The outgoing Secretary of State has long been one of the more admired politicians for his grace, intellect, and moderation. Some desperate Democrats even want to claim him. Powell would be a formidable candidate, but not without some glaring weaknesses.

Colin L. Powell - official biography

I don't know of an unofficial campaign site, but there is considerable chatter out there about a Powell candidacy.

Resume - four-star general in the United States Army, former Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, former chairman of America�s Promise � The Alliance for Youth, 65th Secretary of State of the United States, recipient of two Presidential Medals of Freedom, the President�s Citizens Medal, the Congressional Gold Medal, the Secretary of State Distinguished Service Medal, and the Secretary of Energy Distinguished Service Medal

Colin Powell could have probably been the Republican nominee in 1996 had he truly pursued it. He surely would have been a more realistic choice than Bob Dole proved to be. I don't think he has the right stuff for 2008, and here's why:
  1. Guilt by Association - Some of the independents and Democrats who would have backed Powell in 1996 would surely not do so in 2008. In their eyes, he completely lost his integrity by not resigning over a war he opposed, and, even worse, making the WMD presentation to the United Nations.
  2. Not ALL Things in Moderation - Alas, some of my fellow conservatives behave like Democrats at times and refuse to support anyone who doesn't follow the 'correct' conservative pattern. His support of abortion rights and affirmative action would doom him with these elements of the conservative base.
  3. Take My Wife, Please - It is widely believed that Alma Powell discouraged her husband from making the 1996 run that he might have won. I also recall a lot of talk about whether Alma's treatment for depression would be an issue, though I think the stigma of anti-depressants has largely disappeared in the intervening years.
  4. Old Soldiers Never Die... - he doesn't look it, but Colin Powell will be 72 in 2008. The last two presidents and most of their predecessors have been younger and more dynamic. Powell himself has mentioned this as a reason he won't make the run.
  5. Powell 2006 - Many Republicans would prefer that Powell challenge Hillary for the New York Senate seat in 2006. I don't share their enthusiasm. First, I don't think Powell could win that race, and second, please, oh, please, let Hillary be the 2008 Democratic nominee. A true-blue Republican has to salivate at the prospect.
For all his accomplishments, and they are many, Powell's political career will be looked upon some day by historians who will wonder what could have been, if only...


UPDATE 01/02/05 10:37 pm central: Powell, already considered a longshot for 2008, appears to be shutting the door even tighter, after firmly ruling out a run while making the rounds of the Sunday Morning talk shows today. I had him at 23-1, but now I'll move the marker even further down.


UPDATE 03/19/05 10:47 am central:
Powell has virtually disappeared from the 'chattering class' radar, so a downgrade is in store.


UPDATE 07/24/2005 10:56 p.m.:

see here...

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