Sunday, October 19, 2008

Powell Endorses Obama

“I don’t believe [Palin] is ready to be president of the United States,” Powell said flatly. By contrast, Obama’s running mate, Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, “is ready to be president on day one.”

The Maverick threw an all-or-nothing Hail Mary with Gov. Palin, and it looks like more and more people believe that she wasn't ready for the ball. I, for one, wonder how Gov. Palin thought she was ready to be Vice President of these United States when she clearly knows astonishingly little about issues that are outside the purview of the Alaska Governor's Office. That said, I don't know how much Gen. Powell's endorsement will matter on election day.


Anonymous said...

Hmmn. I haven't thought much of Colin Powell's judgement for several years because of his involvement in this, read closely -from Capt. Quarters:

"In the early morning of Oct. 1, 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell received an urgent phone call from his No. 2 at the State Department. Richard Armitage was clearly agitated. As recounted in a new book, "Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War," Armitage had been at home reading the newspaper and had come across a column by journalist Robert Novak. Months earlier, Novak had caused a huge stir when he revealed that Valerie Plame, wife of Iraq-war critic Joseph Wilson, was a CIA officer. Ever since, Washington had been trying to find out who leaked the information to Novak. The columnist himself had kept quiet. But now, in a second column, Novak provided a tantalizing clue: his primary source, he wrote, was a "senior administration official" who was "not a partisan gunslinger." Armitage was shaken. After reading the column, he knew immediately who the leaker was. On the phone with Powell that morning, Armitage was "in deep distress," says a source directly familiar with the conversation who asked not to be identified because of legal sensitivities. "I'm sure he's talking about me." ...
Armitage's central role as the primary source on Plame is detailed for the first time in "Hubris," which recounts the leak case and the inside battles at the CIA and White House in the run-up to the war. The disclosures about Armitage, gleaned from interviews with colleagues, friends and lawyers directly involved in the case, underscore one of the ironies of the Plame investigation: that the initial leak, seized on by administration critics as evidence of how far the White House was willing to go to smear an opponent, came from a man who had no apparent intention of harming anyone.

"This means that the Department of Justice knew the source of the Plame leak within four months of its occurrence. It also knew that the leak had no malicious intent. Patrick Fitzgerald, who almost certainly knew of it within the first days of his investigation, never attempted to indict the man whom he knew leaked the information. Why, then, has Fitzgerald's mandate continued after the first week of October?

"Fitzgerald took the case on September 26 (see my first update -- this is incorrect). If this book is accurate about its dates, the DoJ and Fitzgerald would have known about Armitage's role as the source of the leak five days later. Instead of either charging Armitage or closing down the investigation, Fitzgerald went on a witch hunt. He didn't even talk to Scooter Libby until two weeks after Armitage's confession. A year later, Fitzgerald had reporters Judith Miller and Matthew Cooper imprisoned for contempt of court for refusing to divulge a source about a leaker from whom Fitzgerald had already received a confession.

"This shows the danger of independent investigators who answer to star chambers instead of the elected representatives that have electoral accountability. The entire Fitzgerald investigation is a massive waste of money and energy, an ego project for one man, a wild-goose chase without the goose. Up to now, we all thought that Armitage never came forward or did so much later in the process. This time line shows Fitzgerald as a dangerous Cotton Mather with a briefcase. What else should we think of a prosecutor who hauls people into court and jails them for contempt when his culprit confessed at the very beginning?

"Addendum: The more I think about this, the angrier I get -- and not just at Patrick Fitzgerald. Richard Armitage confessed to the DoJ in October 2003, and then sat on his ass for the next three years as the media and the Left play this into a paranoid fantasy of conspiracies and revenge. I know Armitage dislikes Rove, Libby, Cheney, and Bush, but what kind of man sits around while the world accuses people of a "crime" that he himself committed? Armitage did nothing while the nation spent years and millions of dollars chasing a series of red herrings, never speaking out to remove the mystery and end the witch hunt. Even three years later, Armitage hasn't mustered the testicular fortitude to publicly admit that he leaked Plame's identity and status; he has Isikoff and Corn do it for him.

"Armitage should be through in politics, but he'll catch on with a presidential campaign this year. Watch very carefully to see which one has him as an "advisor" on foreign affairs. It'll reflect poorly on the candidate who continues an association with this bitter apparatchik.

"UPDATE: One commenter notes that Fitzgerald didn't get assigned to this case until December 2003. In my opinion, that makes this worse. Fitzgerald should have brought the entire investigation to a close as soon as he got briefed on Armitage's confession.

"UPDATE II: The Political Pit Bull has video of Novak on Meet The Press this morning. Novak tells Tim Russert, "I believe it is way past time for my source to come forward." Some now argue that Fitzgerald probably told Armitage to keep his mouth shut, but since Armitage had to know that Fitzgerald was using this as an excuse for a political witch hunt, his silence only abetted Fitzgerald's abuse of power; it sounds as if Novak agrees. Shame on Armitage for his silence.

"UPDATE III: And shame on Colin Powell, too, who also knew by October 1, 2003, where the leak originated. He didn't have to stay silent -- he could have told the truth and ended this witch hunt -- but he also chose to stay silent. And please note from the Isikoff/Corn text in the excerpt that their source for this Powell/Armitage conversation has to be -- either Armitage or Powell, and almost certainly Armitage, who still fears legal repercussions.

"UPDATE IV: Be sure to read Tom Maguire's post for a detailed look at the case as it stands with this revelation.

"UPDATE V: Andy McCarthy links to this post from The Corner, but he missed the update I wrote earlier this morning, around 11:30 am CT, just before our show today. However, I neglected to edit the paragraph to point to the update, so his omission is more my fault than his. I've fixed it now."

When Tim Russert passed away and his lionization (is that a word?)began, I sent an email to a friend who happens to be a good friend of Scooter Libby. I asked him to pass on my regards and well wishes to Scooter. He did. And my friend wrote back to tell me that he had just recently had lunch with Scooter and that Scooter has aged terribly from his ordeal. It has taken a very real personal toll on the man.

I don't know if you ever read Bob Novak. I rarely do. But his announcement of his brain tumor contained a paragraph that the whole world and all of Washington should have taken note of (from Sept. 5, 2008)

"I am now at home in Washington, awaiting further therapy. Dr. Friedman recommended that I try to get back to at least parts of my normal life. He suggested reading, but also that I try to write columns, which is the reason I've composed this piece.

"There are mad bloggers who profess to take delight in my distress, but there's no need to pay them attention in the face of such an outpouring of good will for me. I had thought 51 years of rough-and-tumble journalism in Washington made me more enemies than friends, but my recent experience suggests the opposite may be the case.

"But Joe and Valerie Wilson, attempting to breathe life into the Valerie Plame "scandal," issued this statement: "We have long argued that responsible adults should take Novak's typewriter away. The time has arrived for them to also take away the keys to his Corvette."

Thanks to my tumor, the Wilsons have achieved half of their desires. I probably never will be able to drive again, and I have sold the Corvette, which I dearly loved. Taking away my typewriter, however, may require modification of the First Amendment."

Colin Powell's judgment of people and their abilities really means little, if any. Especially since Sarah Palin has had more executive experience than either he or Obama have had,added together.

Oh, and Novak also had this:

"Support for me and promises of prayers sent for me poured in from all sides, including political figures who had not been happy with my columns. I'm told that President George W. Bush has not liked my criticism, particularly of his Iraq war policy. But the president is a compassionate man, and he telephoned me at 7:24 a.m. on August 15, six minutes before I went into surgery. The conversation lasted only a minute, but his prayerful concern was touching and much appreciated."

Class is hard to come by these days. I've heard (from a credible source) the reason McCain never made an issue of Obama's Rev. Wright was because he hoped to get Powell's support. That was Powell's condition. And he followed it.

And Powell went with Obama who pals around with a guy that tried to blow up the Pentagon. Nice.

FLG said...

The Plame thing was a fiasco, but it in no way lessens my admiration of Gen. Powell. Furthermore, his explanation for endorsing Sen. Obama was well-reasoned and compelling.

Anonymous said...

Using Princess Diana's old adage, "knowledge is power", one can say Powell had the knowledge of who the leaker was and that it was not of malicious intent. That knowledge gave him the power to stop the whole fiasco.

He chose not to.

C.S. Perry said...

Welll...I guess it's lucky for Gen. Powell that Palin ISN'T RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT.

alan_howe said...

Powell was part of the administration ordered by President Bush not to speak about the on-going investigation. Like the good soldier he is, he obeyed orders. Since the prosecutor was aware, there was nothing more for Powell to do.

General Powell, as Secretary of State and as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has no executive experience? He has more than any of the four candidates--way, way more than Palin has.

I think Gen. Powell is taking a large step toward rehabilitating his reputation by endorsing a candidate who promises to bring us out of Iraq, a war executed in a manner very different from that suggested by the Powell Doctrine. (Welcome back, General!) I hope he will soon speak against the President's plans to allow US troops to be tried in Iraqi courts and sentenced to Iraqi jails.

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