Sunday, in an interview by Christiane Amanpour on ABC’s This Week, Colin Powell was led into answering questions by Amanpour, and these were the sort of puff questions that suggest the interviewer knew the interviewee’s answer, and was merely a propaganda attack on the Tea Party. Powell has always been a DC insider since being a National Security Adviser in the Reagan Administration, and his elevation to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was seen by many as a cynical bit of affirmative action by George H.W. Bush. In his service as Secretary of State under George W. Bush, Powell repeatedly demonstrated his elitist tendencies but also his commitment to the progressive movement. His endorsement of Barack Obama in the eleventh hour of the 2008 campaign season was simply the straw that broke the camel’s back in terms of his relationship with conservatives. This statement suggests the antipathy runs both ways:
“They compromised — the Founding Fathers compromised on slavery. They had to in order to create a country. They compromised on the composition of the Senate, of the House, of the Supreme Court, of a president — what are the president’s powers? Can you imagine more difficult compromises today?”
“Compromise is how this country was founded, and unless two people in disagreement with each other don’t find a way to reach out to one another and make compromises, you don’t get a consensus that allows you to move forward.”
“But the Tea Party point of view of no compromise whatsoever is not a point of view that will eventually produce a presidential candidate who will win.”
This is nonsense. The founders compromised on the issue of slavery, and we are still dealing with the blow-back. This nation engaged in its deadliest war because they compromised on that issue. Abraham Lincoln did not compromise on the issue. The founders may have compromised in formulating the structures of our government, but they did not compromise in whether we should have our own country, or Colin Powell would never have been Secretary of State, or Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for the United States, since it wouldn’t exist. This is the sort of half-witted, dishonest argument I have come to expect from Powell. He’s an establishment hack who serves himself, and official Washington DC, but not the nation at large.
The other thing concealed by Powell’s attack on the Tea Party is the question: If the Tea Party is supposed to compromise, with whom is that compromise to be made? It’s not surprising that Powell doesn’t indicate who that might be. Compromises are made between entities. If Tea Party is one entity, who is the other? This is typical Washington-speak, because if Powell was really interested in seeing the Tea Party compromise on an issue, he’d tell you which issues, and with whom. Instead, he’s simply hurling insults. Sadly, instead of providing something constructive, Powell simply laments the uncompromising nature of the Tea Party.
With whom has Powell compromised? He’s not willing to compromise with anybody, having secured his lifestyle as part of the establishment. He’s not willing to see the DC establishment give any ground to the American people. I might have been willing to accept his arguments if he’d shown even the first indication of honesty in his arguments, but as is all too clear, Powell simply wanted to smear the Tea Party. Amanpour was only too happy to give him the opportunity. If, as Douglas MacAurthur reminds us, “old soldiers never die, they just fade away,” I think conservative Americans will be just as happy if Powell begins to fade sooner rather than later. Until he learns to speak honestly on politics, he’s not performing a service for the American people, a thought that prompts me to wonder: Other than vanity, whose interests is he serving?