If you’ve been watching CNN, you’d think the only election news is Colin Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama.Â For the better part of the hour I spent doing cardio last night and the forty-five minutes today, that “news” network featured stories of the endorsement and its impact on the campaign.
Perhaps, because I had long heard (at least since August) that such an endorsement was imminent, I dismissed the newsworthiness of the announcement.Â But, to those who had not been expecting it, well, I guess it was pretty significant.
There’s no doubt it will help Obama, the only question will be how much.
But, it does something else which, if my party had nominated a different candidate, one from outside Washington, might have backfired on the Democrat.
First, it’s important to note the absence of substance in the Powell endorsement.Â It’s as if someone had briefed him on Democratic talking points in the limo as he drove to NBC to tape Meet the Press and he just repeated them in front of the cameras.
He was, in Claudia Rosett’s words, “short on specifics.”Â He couldn’t flesh out why two more conservative justices on the Supreme Court would be a bad thing for the country.Â Nor name Republican officials spreading lies about the Democratic nominee.Â He basically did little more than articulate the conventional wisdom.
He is, as James Taranto put it, “a man of the establishment.”Â And the Washington establishment hasÂ coalesced around Obama in the same manner they coalesced against the one truly transformational president on the past half-century, Ronald Reagan.
This endorsement merely reinforces Barack Obama as the candidate of permanent establishment in our nation’s capital.Â While the former Secretary of State called the Democrat a “transformational figure,” his endorsement suggests Obama is anything but.
If Obama really had plans to change Washington, Powell and other Beltway luminaries would not so eagerly embrace his candidacy.Â With the American people increasingly uncomfortable with the way things are run in our nationa’s capital, it’s too bad the Republicans don’t have a presidential nominee who can more effectively run against the Beltway establishment.
Like, say, a Governor who stepped on some toes in cleaning up the corruption in her own state — and her own state party.