Two lifelong Republicans on Sunday declared their support for Barack Obama- Colin Powell on "Meet the Press," and Michael Smerconish in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Add their support to such traditionally right-leaning editorial boards as the Chicago Tribune and the newspaper in College Station, Texas.
I found Powell's endorsement tremendously moving and powerful. I especially appreciated his discussing that Muslim soldier who died in Iraq, and slamming down the destructive rightward tilt of the GOP. My favorite part:
I also believe that on the Republican side over the last seven weeks, the approach of the Republican Party and Mr. McCain has become narrower and narrower. Mr. Obama, at the same time, has given us a more inclusive, broader reach into the needs and aspirations of our people. He's crossing lines--ethnic lines, racial lines, generational lines. He's thinking about all villages have values, all towns have values, not just small towns have values.Exactly. I don't know how anyone can intellectually defend the statement, from Palin, that "we grow good people in small towns," and not only because she was quoting a notorious anti-Semite.
I generally believe endorsements don't matter, but in this case Powell is such a respected behavior that I expect he'll change minds. Why would a four-star general, a man who has won wars, back someone if they really were a terrorist/pacifist/whatever?
Smerconish is an even odder case, a longtime conservative, operating in the right-wing talk radio universe, on a station in which the other hosts are Rush LImbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck. Is he placing his career in jeopardy by doing this? He probably won't ever get a nationally syndicated radio show now, but Smerconish has become more of a TV guy recently and this won't hurt him with that. Still, I've heard Smerconish's views evolve over the past year or so, and he's definitely coming at this with honesty and integrity. Good for him.