Colin Powell on Principles & Values
Secretary of State (Pres. Bush Cabinet)
Powell criticized Trump for "insulting everybody," from world leaders to blacks to immigrants to women, and for calling the media the "enemy of the people." "How can a president get up and say that the media is the enemy of Americans? Hasn't he read the First Amendment? You're not supposed to like everything the press says or what anyone says in the First Amendment, that's why we have a First Amendment, to protect that kind of speech," Powell said.
Colin thought that I was not strong enough in my support of him and the State Department agenda. But truthfully, I wondered why he did not take greater advantage of his extraordinary stature.
Colin was widely admired at home and had a huge presence around the world. He would credibly defend American interests and values, from a stronger NATO to freer trade. I believed Colin could be the second coming of George Marshall, a soldier turned statesman.
Obama quizzed Powell about foreign policy--and also about race, Did the general think the country was ready for an African American president? I think it might have been ready when I was thinking about running, Powell told Obama. It's definitely more ready now.
Powell had leaned toward staying neutral, but these outbursts were all too much--an McCain had moved only belatedly to stop them. Obama, by contrast, had displayed terrific judgment during the financial crisis, Powell thought. And his campaign had been run with military precision; the show of overwhelming force struck the general as a political realization of the Powell Doctrine. On Oct. 19, he endorsed Obama.
The general's repudiation was a stinging blow for McCain. McCain had to wonder what had become of him if his current incarnation was repelling someone like Powell.
Powell recalled that for three weeks after the tour, "I received a huge volume of mail encouraging me to run. 'Powell for President' committees sprang up all over." Powell admitted being "desperately torn." His wife, in contrast, "remained unalterably opposed." After deep soul-searching, Powell concluded that "the calling was not there."
In 1994, Rudman arranged to have lunch with Colin Powell. "There are two ways for you to become president." First, Powell could run in either party--the Republican, Rudman hoped--or as an independent, which would be difficult, almost impossible. Second, there was an easier way. Become Dole's running mate, and Dole would pledge to run for only one term.
If the Dole-Powell ticket won, the presidency would likely be Powell's, for two full terms. If something happened to Dole, it would be Powell's sooner. Rudman said he had done some research. As vice president, Powell could also serve as Secretary of State. He just couldn't receive two salaries. [No deal was made].
For a while, Powell seemed unstoppable. As he careened from one packed book signing to the next, his name soared to the top of all the presidential polls. Enigmatically, he would not address the possibility that he might run in 1996. Clinton worried about how to run against a phantom, a creation of popularity, rather than the product of a conventional political surge.
Then came the bad news: Powell could not beat Dole in a GOP primary. His support for affirmative action, gun control, and an array of liberal positions undermined him and left him without a party. “Congratulations,” I told Clinton after showing him the poll demonstrating that Powell would not get the nomination--and therefore, I said, would not run. “You just won the election.” Clinton nodded.
At home, the economy is strong and the budget is balanced. A growing surplus provides the means to both cut taxes and finance important reforms. On education, Social Security and health care, our Republican team is right and our opposition is wrong.
On the social issues that have divided our nation for so long, we are committed to forge a bi-partisan approach to solving America’s problems. We are committed to a future that leaves no one behind. We believe individual liberty is rooted in personal responsibility.
The moral dimension of leadership respects the moral and religious foundations of our Republic. We trust the American people to manage their own lives.
A: They raised two children to whom they gave a precious gift, a set of core beliefs. A value system founded on a clear understanding of the difference between right and wrong and a belief in the Almighty. They taught us Integrity, kindness and Godliness were right. Lying, violence, intolerance, crime and drugs were wrong and, even worse than wrong, they were shameful. In my family we were taught that hard work and education were the keys to success. My sister and I were taught to believe in ourselves. We might be considered poor, but we were rich in spirit. But, stick with it, because in America, justice will eventually triumph and the powerful, searing promise of the founding fathers will come true. We were taught by my parents to always, always, always believe in America.
I became a Republican because I want to help fill the big tent that our party has raised to attract all Americans. You all know that I believe in a woman’s right to choose and I strongly support affirmative action. And, I was invited here by my party to share my views with you because we are a big enough party to disagree on individual issues and still work together for our common goal: restoring the American Dream. I am a Republican because I believe in that dream, and I believe we are the ones to keep it alive.
Why all the hesitation, then? "I have not spent my whole adult life trying to reach the point where I could run for elected political office. My whole life was spent in an entirely different direction, an entirely different possession, field--as a soldier. "This fall's 5-week book tour has been his opportunity to place his ideas before the people and to live under general scrutiny in a way perhaps comparable to public life. "I will have to see whether or not I really have something to contribute that is unique and different from everyone else, and whether I have the passion to pursue that vision, and I don't know that yet," he still says.
Among the lessons Powell drew were: Don't be stampeded by first reports; don't let your judgments run ahead of your facts; and even with supposed facts, question them if they don't add up. "I also learned that it is best to get the facts out as soon as possible, even when new facts contradict the old. Untidy truth is better than smooth lies that unravel in the end anyway. Be prepared to see an international event expand--or contract--for political ends."
Five years later, the USS Vincennes shot down an Iranian airbus, killing 290 passengers and crew. It was a tragic blunder, just as the downing of the KAL 007 had been. "We said so and released the facts publicly as fast as possible."
A: I’m honored and humbled. It’s a question I receive regularly, and I don’t know what I’m going to do with my life after my book is finished. I’m not a professional politician. I was truly a soldier.
Even after working two years in the West Wing, there isn’t a single one of my White House friends from those days who could tell you today whether they think I’m a Republican or a Democrat. That was part of the code I lived with. Now I’m trying to develop a political philosophy, just to be a good citizen, not necessarily to run for office. I want to keep the option of elective office open because I think I should do that. Why close off possibilities? I want to be of some service to the nation in the future. I just don’t know if it will be an appointed office, charitable work, or educational work.
I don’t find a passion for politics. I don’t find that I have that calling for politics. But I want to keep the option open.
In 1964, stationed in Fort Benning, Georgia, Powell pulled into a drive-in hamburger stand on Victory Drive. The waitress said she was not allowed to serve him, but if he would go behind the restaurant, she would pass him a hamburger out the back window. [Powell left in anger. Later that year,] Pres. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, outlawing discrimination in places of public accomodation.
In 1964, LBJ ran against Barry Goldwater, who had cast the lone vote in the Senate against the civil rights bill. Powell said, “I mailed my absentee ballot to my New York voting address. LBJ, all the way. And I treated myself to another burger on Victory Drive.”
I distrust rigid ideology from any direction, and I am discovering that many Americans feel just as I do. The time may be at hand for a third major party to emerge to represent this sensible center of the American political spectrum.
Nevertheless, I do not unequivocally rule out a political future. If I ever do decide to enter politics, it will not be because of high popularity ratings in the polls. I am fully aware that in taking stands on issues, I would quickly alienate one interest group or another and burn off much popularity. And I would certainly not run because I saw myself as the “Great Black Hope,” providing a role model for African-Americans or a symbol to whites of racism overcome. I would enter only because I had a vision for this country. I would enter because I believed I could do a better job than the other candidates of solving the nation’s problems. I would not expect or desire to have anything handed to me; I would fight for the right to lead. And I would enter not to make a statement but to win.
In my departure speech, I said, “I am the son of Jamaicans who emigrated to the US. But today, I am something more. I am an African too. I feel my roots, here in this continent.”
After the visit to Nigeria, my wife and I headed home with a new awareness of our heritage. What we had witnessed was tragic, but also uplifting. It demonstrated, no matter how far down people are driven, how high they can rise when they are allowed to slip their chains and know freedom.
Today, I pointed out, African-Americans were scaling the barriers, gaining overdue recognition: ”I am deeply mindful of the debt I owe to those who went before me. I climbed on their backs. I challenge every young person here today: don’t forget their service and their sacrifice; and don’t forget our service and sacrifice, and climb on our backs.“
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