Powell Warns His Party … Again
Call him a “liberal” all you want, but former Secretary of State Colin Powell says that unless the Republican Party embraces his vision for a more inclusive party – and not that of his ultra-conservative counterparts, Rush Limbaugh and Dick Cheney – the GOP is in trouble. Powell, along with former Pennsylvania governor and Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge, made their rounds on the Sunday TV talk shows hoping to throw a lifeline to their floundering party. “I believe we should build on the base because the nation needs two parties, two parties debating each other,” said Powell, who became the first African-American to head the State Department, during the administration of George W. Bush. “But what we have to do is debate and define who we are and what we are and not just listen to dictates that come down from the right wing of the party. …If we don’t reach out more, the party is going to be sitting on a very, very narrow base. You can only do two things with a base. You can sit on it and watch the world go by, or you can build on the base,” Powell said. Ridge, who was also appointed by Bush, agreed. He said if the Republican Party wants “to restore itself, not as a regional party, but as a national party, we have to be far less judgmental about disagreements within the party and far more judgmental about our disagreement with our friends on the other side of the aisle.” That so many Republicans are openly criticizing the direction of their party has signaled serious trouble at the homestead. Recent polls have shown that the party is not as popular as it used to be. Moreover, surveys are reflecting another unthinkable: that many Republicans are actually digging President Obama. Even when they don’t totally agree with a specific idea, they see him as intelligent, thoughtful, honest and quite presidential. This is not good news for hard-line conservatives like Limbaugh and Co. This isn’t the first time Powell has put Limbaugh on blast; several days ago, he described his partymate to a group of business leaders as a mere entertainer, a personality – not somebody who should be leading the GOP. “I may be out of their version of the Republican Party, but there’s another version of the Republican Party waiting to emerge once again,” he said. Limbaugh fired back, citing Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama over John McCain in the last general election as proof that Powell puts race above loyalty to the party. Powell is a Democrat in disguise, he said. Cheney was quick to jump into the debate, saying he’d rather follow the radio shock jock than Powell. On Sunday, Republican hitman Karl Rove co-signed on Cheney and Limbaugh’s anti-Powell vibe. “I don’t like this thing where people – and Powell is one them – who said, ‘Rush Limbaugh, shut up.’ We believe, as Republicans in the marketplace of ideas. Let that marketplace decide,” Rove said. “I want Colin Powell to go out there and lay out his vision, and then I want him to back it up by finding people who share it and working like heck to get them – and that’s how you win the party.” But offering further proof that there’s a shakeup going on in the Republican Party, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, known for commanding a successful conservative assault against the Clinton administration, is vociferously siding with the moderates. “I think Republicans are going to be very foolish if they run around deciding they’re going to see how much they can purge us down to the smallest possible base.” He says he wasn’t aiming to pick a fight with Cheney, only stating what his fellow Republicans need to hear.
Atlanta Mayor’s Disser is Suspended
There’s a price to pay for dissing the mayor, or any other person in Atlanta, according to Police Chief Richard Pennington, who on Saturday suspended the head of the police union. Last week, during a public discussion about seriously injured officers getting short shrift from the city workers’ compensation program, Sgt. Scott Kreher said he wanted to hit Mayor Shirley Franklin “in the head with a bat.” “The Atlanta Police Department does not condone nor will we tolerate supervisors making irresponsible and inflammatory remarks against the Mayor or any citizen of the City of Atlanta,” Pennington said in a statement released late Saturday night. Kreher is president of the International Brotherhood of Police Officers — Local 623. city council members that he wanted to hit the mayor “in the head with a baseball bat.” In a statement, the mayor called Kreher’s comment “reprehensible,” and said she felt threatened.