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Colin Powell: “GOP needs to move to the Center”

A set up to this post.  Matt Cunningham has this post at Red County where he urges state assembly Republicans not to vote for Sam Blakeslee as the new assembly GOP leader because he’s the most liberal member of the GOP assembly.

Matt writes:

“The bad news is Assembly Republicans are apparently poised to replace (Mike) Villines with their most liberal member: Sam Blakeslee.”

After running down Blakeslee’s moderate positions on issues, Matt then opines:

“If Sam Blakeslee is chosen as the next Assembly Republican Leader, I have to seriously question the political judgment of its membership, and their commitment to rebuilding the party on the principles on which we have succeeded in the past. The GOP wins when it is able to win moderates, independents and right-of-center Democrats to a policy agenda predicated on free markets, individual liberty and limited government. History bears those out as the surest path to prosperity, opportunity and upward mobility.”

So in other words, the path to prosperity for the Republican Party is to be more conservative and convince others to abandon their more centrist principles for a hard-core right wing view.  And when Republicans have been in power, they have never governed according to their principles.  De-regulation sought for by free market advocates are largely responsible for the financial meltdown we’re going through.  Individual liberty is subjective, as long as you’re not gay and want to marry your partner, and limited government was something achieved under the Clinton administration which shrunk to the same level of the Kennedy administration.  But I digress…

Former secretary of state Colin Powell, whom I will never forgive for misleading our nation and the world into the Iraq War with his presentation to the UN, spoke recently to security technology executives in Washington where he felt the way back out of the woods for the Republican Party was a move back towards the center.

“The Republican Party is in deep trouble,” Powell told corporate security executives at a conference in Washington sponsored by Fortify Software Inc. The party must realize that the country has changed, he said. “Americans do want to pay taxes for services,” he said. “Americans are looking for more government in their life, not less.”

Powell, secretary of State during the first term of former President George W. Bush, made waves last year when he came out for the Democratic presidential candidate, then-Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois. Powell described the 2008 GOP candidate, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, as “a beloved friend” but said he told him last summer that the party had developed a reputation for being mean-spirited and driven more by social conservatism than the economic problems that Americans faced.

He blasted radio commentator Rush Limbaugh, saying he does not believe that Limbaugh or conservative icon Ann Coulter serve the party well. He said the party lacks a “positive” spokesperson. “I think what Rush does as an entertainer diminishes the party and intrudes or inserts into our public life a kind of nastiness that we would be better to do without,” Powell said.”

Limbaugh responded to Powell’s comments, but don’t expect the former secretary to apologize to Limbaugh the way every other Republican leader who called Limabugh only an entertainer (not a hero or leader as Limbuugh sees himself when he spoke about his listing in the Time Magazine 100 List on his show last week).

This from the Think Progress site (go there to see video):

 “….on his radio show, Limbaugh responded by calling Powell “just another liberal.” Limbaugh said Powell should “close the loop” and leave the Republican party instead of “claiming” to be interested in reforming it. Additionally, Limbaugh reiterated his previous claim that Powell endorsed Obama only because of his race:

LIMBAUGH: [Powell] is out there saying I am killing the republican party while he endorsed and voted for Obama. … He’s just mad at me because I’m the one person in the country who had the guts to explain his endorsement of Obama. It was purely and solely based on race! There can be no other explanation for it. What Colin Powell needs to do is close the loop and become a Democrat instead of claiming to be a Republican interested in reforming the Republican party.

Limbaugh concluded, “The only reason to endorse Obama is race. I don’t think Powell thought he could get away without with not endorsing Obama. … So I don’t care.”

So who is right here?  Who has more integrity? What continues to be clear is that this part has run out of ideas and the in-fighting and accommodation to people like Limabugh, Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter continue to diminish this party’s influence.