Colin Powell Endorsing Obama?

Not Endorsing ObamaBill Kristol has sources telling him that Powell Powell will endorse Barack Obama and “He may well give a speech at the Democratic convention explaining his endorsement of Obama.”   Powell‘s denial is pretty vehement: “I do not have time to waste on Bill Kristol’s musings. I am not going to the convention. I have made this clear.”

Powell has been not-so-subtly flirting with an Obama endorsement for months and high placed sources think it’ll happen.  Carter national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski told HuffPo that he “expects” the endorsement.

Meanwhile, Obama is already getting endorsement from more minor Republicans, including former Congressmen Jim Leach and Lincoln Chafee. (Although Chafee quit the party, of which he was a nominal member, after losing his re-election bid.)

This follows on word that Ford and Bush 41 NSA Brent Scowcroft considers himself “neutral” in the race and will likely not endorse either candidate.

Clearly, many traditional Republican Realists are unhappy with the more aggressive foreign policy of the neoconservatives.  While McCain has a better understanding of the limitations of American military power than Kristol and company, he shares their “national greatness” view of international relations.

I wouldn’t be at all shocked if Powell were to quietly endorse Obama.  It’s not in his character, however, to make a big show of turning on the Republicans.  It’s almost inconceivable that he’d go to the Democratic Convention and do a Zell Miller.

Stories via Memeorandum.  Photo: Newsday.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Bithead says:

    I wouldn’t be at all shocked if Powell were to quietly endorse Obama. It’s not in his character, however, to make a big show of turning on the Republicans. It’s almost inconceivable that he’d go to the Democratic Convention and do a Zell Miller.

    In some reports I’ve seen, he’s stated flatly that he won’t be in Denver, much less make a speech. I agree with your take there. You over-step a little however when you speak of ‘turning’ on the Republicans… by my read, he was never really WITH them. Nor is he overtly with the Democrats.

    Which would seem to me to make him a fine addition to McCain’s staff, come to think of it. Which, in turn, raises the question of what drives him in this case. I hesitate to say this, but it is logical to ask if race isn’t a factor.

  2. James Joyner says:

    Powell is a Republican loyalist, having served under Reagan and Bush 41 and with Scowcroft.

    While I’m sure there’s some allure to a black candidate, I think Powell is turned off by Bush 43’s foreign policy — the early part of which was done directly against his advice but with his vocal support — and sees McCain as an extension of it.

  3. Bithead says:

    Hmm. More than granted, James, and perhaps I’m guilty of, as many do, mixing the terms “Republican’ and “conservative’. No denying he has over the years attached himself to the Bush administrations. THen again, as I’ve been saying since the late 80’s, Bush is no conservative, but at best a centrist. (Either 41 or 43 will do for the purpose of the intended meaning)

    But in this, if he really endoricng Obama, what has Powell tied himself to? I don’t think anyone will argue that Obama does not tend toward negotiation in just about all cases.

    An interesting thing occurred in Georgia over the last 24 hours that to my mind shows the utility of negotiation in some if not most situations.

    It soon became clear that the six-point deal not only failed to slow the Russian advance, but it also allowed Russia to claim that it could push deeper into Georgia as part of so-called additional security measures it was granted in the agreement. Mr. Sarkozy, according to a senior Georgian official who witnessed the negotiations, also failed to persuade the Russians to agree to any time limit on their military action.

    I can’t think Powell would be overly happy about that aspect of an Obama Foriegn policy.

  4. Michael says:

    Just because bad negotiations lead to bad outcomes, doesn’t mean that negotiations themselves lead to bad outcomes.

  5. Bill H says:

    Powell doesn’t have the courage to endorse anyone. Once the winner has been announced he will say “I supported him all along.” Sad, this used to be a man worthy of great respect.