The Dillard Doctrine

Urban Conservative Commentary on Politics & Life

In Defense of Colin Powell

I’m going to step out on a limb here and make the case for GEN Powell’s inclusion in the Republican Party. Not that it’s up to anyone to throw him out, but the bashing’s getting out of hand. So here we go.

First off, something about Powell that you may not know-and this is a no-shitter-the black community, even after his speech at the UN to make the case for Iraq, still has a very healthy respect for him. I think it’s likely that had he been the Republican nominee in 2000, he would’ve been the first black president…and even now, there’s other blacks that believe the same (though they may not say it publically now). The black community may not agree with everything that Powell advocated under Bush 43, but he was popular then-and, of course, remains popular now.

Why is that important?

Simple: name the black Republicans that have held a national-level or appointed position that remain visible in the public eye today. There’s Powell, J.C. Watts, and Michael Steele whose names still get thrown around. Now name the up-and-coming ones that you commonly hear of: Michael Williams in Texas (running for the Senate), and here in VA, Chuck Smith (who’s running for Congress next year and is a good friend). There may be more, and I don’t discount that…but there ain’t many.

What does it say to young black conservatives (and I’ll include myself in that number, as I’m still making the run to 30) to watch the conservative movement excorciate one of the few role models we-as black conservatives-have just because he takes a more moderate tone than some?

I’ll answer: nothing good.

And, in terms of strategy, what does it say to the black community as a whole when they watch the conservative movement excorciate Powell because of his vote for now-President Obama, a vote that I believe Powell thought was truly in the country’s best interests and not motivated by their shared skin hue?

I’ll answer again: nothing good. And in a party that doesn’t have a lot of diversity as it is-let’s be honest, there’s not many of us black conservatives running around-casting one of the few well known ones aside just because he isn’t willing to blindly follow is done at the peril of the Republican Party and the conservative movement.

The final reality in the case for Powell is that we on the right know he’s a good soldier for conservative principles when one is needed. And I say that not just in a military sense, but let’s look back at the UN speech to justify the Iraq invasion. The UN ambassador, CIA director…there’s a number of people who could have made that speech. Why Powell? Because he was a voice that everyone respected and trusted. Even now, when Powell puts his considerable weight behind an idea or action, it usually carries the day and without much question.

During and after his 35 years in uniform, Powell has always carried out-successfully-the missions given him. He’s always shared his reservations with things he doesn’t like-and I think he’s more than entitled to do so-but at the end of the day, Powell was-and is-the most reliable voice we have that isn’t so partisan that people don’t automatically tune him out. We need that right now, more than ever. Case you haven’t noticed, our representatives can’t fill that role, and the commentators aren’t doing a good job of it either.

And what is Powell advocating that’s so terribly wrong? Yes, he makes some points that I disagree with; for one, I don’t believe that many Americans would willingly pay more taxes for government services. That’s a policy argument, and those are healthy for our future. But his statements on needing to improve the Republican and conservative images…well, is he wrong? Powell isn’t saying compromise our principles; his message is find more messengers for those princples that reflect the image of America. Powell is telling the Republican Party and conservatives to support the different voices, hear out the different arguments, and find those people and candidates that can not only champion conservative princples across the country, but to the communities where-being honest again-Republicans/conservatives don’t regularly tread. That’s it. If we took a collective look in the mirror, we’d see where a lot of our problems lie…and they’re not with our message, but with our messengers. And voices like Powell’s are desparately needed right now.

So keep bashing him if you want. The day will come when we’ll realize how stupid we were for doing so.




Written by Coby Dillard

May 24, 2009 at 11:31 am

One Response

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  1. Well said, D. Black conservatives, if no one else, need to get out in front of this because it’s too easy (read: believable) to allow Gen. Powell to be seen as the GOP villain.


    May 27, 2009 at 9:02 am

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