By Steve Benen, Washington Monthlyhttp://www.alternet.org/blogs/election08/103696/
After his "Meet the Press" appearance, during which he endorsed Barack Obama, Colin Powell stopped to answer reporters' questions outside the studio. As it happens, his remarks were nearly as interesting after the program as they were during.
Powell was asked about the relentless negativity of the McCain campaign, and Powell made no effort to hide his disappointment. Perhaps most importantly, Powell noted that the constant right-wing efforts to a) falsely label Obama as a Muslim; and b) make "Muslim" some kind of slur, not only undermines national unity, but also damages America's standing in the world. "Those types of images going out on Al Jazeera are killing us around the world," Powell said.
He went on to express his disgust for Rep. Michele Bachmann's (R-Minn.) neo-McCarthyism. "We have got to stop this kind of nonsense," Powell said, "pull ourselves together, and remember that our great strength is in our unity and in our diversity."
Tying it all together, Powell concluded, "We can't judge our people and hold our elections on that kind of basis. Yes, that kind of negativity troubled me. And the constant shifting of the argument, I was troubled a couple of weeks ago when in the middle of the crisis the campaign said, 'We're going to go negative,' and they announced it. 'We're going to go negative and attack his character through Bill Ayers.' And now I guess the message this week is we're going to call him a socialist. Mr. Obama is now a socialist, because he dares to suggest that maybe we ought to look at the tax structure that we have. Taxes are always a redistribution of money. Most of the taxes that are redistributed go back to those who pay them, in roads and airports and hospitals and schools. And taxes are necessary for the common good. And there's nothing wrong with examining what our tax structure is or who should be paying more or who should be paying less, and for us to say that makes you a socialist is an unfortunate characterization that isn't accurate."
Powell has gotten a good look at what's become of his Republican Party, and he really doesn't like what he sees.