Yes, Colin Powell Deserves a Spot in the Republican Party

In terms of tossing the baby out with the bathwater, it must have been difficult to miss the better than six foot frame of General Colin Powell sloshing around on the back porch. Still, some doctrinaire conservatives have been more than willing to dump the former secretary of state with less fanfare than a greasy cheeseburger wrapper. During his remarks of May 19 in Boston, it became obvious that Powell had noticed:

Rush Limbaugh says, "Get out of the Republican Party." Dick Cheney says, "He's already out." 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," Powell told the crowd.

It didn't take long before the spittle was flying from both sides of the fence, with Limbaugh firing back in similar fashion:

The only thing emerging here is Colin Powell's ego. Colin Powell represents the stale, the old, the worn-out GOP that never won anything. The party of Gerald Ford, Nelson Rockefeller, Bill Scranton, Arnold Schwarzenegger and those types of people. Has anybody heard Colin Powell say a single word against Obama's radicalism -- or Pelosi or Reid, for that matter? Maybe he has but his fawning media sure hasn't reported if he has said it.

Those words might serve as warming comfort food to the reddest meat eaters among the base, but I hope you'll excuse some of us in the RINO pen if we find that response rather offensive. First of all, pinning anything on Gerald Ford requires the dimmest of wits. He was shuffled into the vice-presidential mix on the heels of a scandal and then ascended to the Oval Office through the fall of Nixon. He was cloaked in a public perception of "corruption" for having pardoned Tricky Dick and sending him off into comfortable retirement when a wide swath of the public was anxious to see presidential blood in the water. He wasn't going to "win" anything.

And when will we grow past this populist impulse to throw stones at the governor of California? Is he a rank-and-file conservative Republican? Obviously not, but he never was, and we knew that going in. What so many fail to realize is the remarkable nature of his being elected at all. Some of us are old enough to remember a time when Republicans were competitive not only in that state's gubernatorial races, but for the Senate seats as well. Those included the terms of Tom Kuchel, John Seymour, and Pete Wilson. But today's Republicans seem to think of California -- and her ginormous chunk of electoral weight -- as nothing more than a left coast basket of fruits and nuts where no proper GOP member should tread. Might it not be more productive to simply be grateful to have gotten hold of the governor's mansion once again?