BY KENNY BELFORD
The opening part of this op-ed is going to sound extremely partisan, but to get into the main theme requires expressing this observation. As we begin the process of preparation to hold the next presidential election, the Republican field is already swelling with individuals that are exploring becoming a candidate.
In the last two presidential elections, the crop of Republican candidates was exceptionally weak, and one by one candidates were discarded until only one remained. They seemed to use the “least worst” system to arrive at their choice, and then struggled to find ways to tolerate him.
This upcoming election certainly has all the appearances of the same, except with even weaker candidates. I seriously can’t see any of them being electable in a general election. It’s not necessary to detail what’s wrong with them on an individual basis. But a number of them are recycles, and the rest have enormous baggage and records that are destined to sink their ship before it can even leave the harbor.
On the Democrat side, with Sen. Elizabeth Warren making it absolutely clear she is not a candidate, it’s an almost foregone conclusion that as soon as Hillary Clinton makes the announcement of her candidacy, she’ll have a lock on securing the nomination.
In all the early polling matching her against the crowd of Republican hopefuls, she has a commanding lead, so it seems likely she’ll be ahead in every single poll all the way through the election cycle, and will become our next president.
That leaves a remaining issue that hasn’t even started to be discussed. Who would make a great running mate? That’s more important than you might think.
John McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin all but sunk any chance he might have had. Mitt Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan did little to help him overcome his own self-inflicted wounds.
I have an idea that certainly is [I don’t like this expression] outside the box. It’s a running mate that would compliment Hillary’s candidacy, and bring a strong set of leadership skills, and tremendous experience in key areas. It’s also an individual that’s had a lifetime of exemplary public service, with only one glitch. It’s an individual that would almost certainly welcome the opportunity to redeem his one glitch and would be a formidable running mate for the Republicans to contend with.
Who is it?
It’s Colin Powell. Whoa, you’re thinking, he’s a Republican. For the moment that’s true, except the Republican Party has left him behind. In its swing to the far right, and wanting to cause our government to fail, and obstruct the basic governance and functions, many intelligent Republicans have felt as Powell does, that they can’t recognize this current Republican Party.
It’s also important to remember that in the last two presidential elections Powell publicly endorsed the Democrat candidate.
Colin Powell is a decorated war veteran. He spent 35 years in the military, achieving the rank of four-star general, and the title of chairman of The Joint Chiefs of Staff. He’s a man who has devoted his entire life to the service of our nation. That brings us to the one glitch.
George W. Bush appointed Powell to his cabinet as Secretary of State. Bush needed someone on his team that had credibility, and national defense credentials, and Powell was a great choice.
Unfortunately, Bush was an unprincipled commander in chief and president, and sorely lacking in honesty and integrity. Bush used Powell, and set him up to be exploited.
With Powell’s military background, he trusted his commander in chief, he had faith in an honesty and truthfulness in his boss that none of us at that point in time, including Powell, knew were absent. So they created the moment when Powell made his United Nations appearance and expressed the claims his boss, George W. Bush, had provided him.
We’ve come to learn that Dick Cheney and Bush orchestrated that event and intentionally kept Powell out of the loop on what they really knew. They needed someone with Powell’s credentials and integrity, so they used him, with no regard to his reputation. Without a sense of decency or shame, they put Powell on the world’s stage to make their case for them.
It’s also fair to observe, and totally accurate to state, that Bush and Cheney played the rest of us as well. After gaining congressional authorization to start their needless war with Iraq, we learned that 100% of Bush’s and Cheney’s claims were 100% false.
That one glitch in Powell’s otherwise exemplary service to our nation is regrettable, but it is understandable. Most all of us, at some point in our lives, have experienced a betrayal that arose from a trust and sense of loyalty.
Colin Powell’s moment just happened to be more public than ours.
Then we come to the part about Powell being a Republican. Before the primary season arrives, before any individuals announce their intention to become a candidate, Colin Powell could simply resign from the Republican Party and publicly state his reasons, as he did when he announced his endorsement of our current president on two occasions.
At this point in time, except for low information voters, it’s a consensus view that Bush lied to us, and was a failure as a commander in chief, and president. It’s not much of a stretch to see the Democrat Party welcome Powell and accept, not what he did, but what was done to him, and us.
That clears the path, sets the stage for Hillary to announce her candidacy, and then at the appropriate moment announce her choice of running mate. He would be an asset to her campaign, and an asset to her term of office.
Take a brief moment and contemplate this: Who would be a better vice president for our nation … Colin Powell or Dick Cheney? Colin Powell or Sarah Palin? Colin Powell or Paul Ryan? Get the drift?
While this may not be likely to happen, it’s possible it might. It would certainly keep the Republican Party up at night pondering how to face that formidable team.
– Kenny Belford lives in Muskogee, OK and is a frequent contributor to The Oklahoma Observer