Measure the Powell Endorsement by the GOP Knee Jerk Reaction

You've heard this, right? Yesterday morning Colin Powell went on television and endorsed President Obama's reelection.

 Big deal, right? After all, he endorsed him in 2008 so why wouldn't we expect him to endorse him again this year?

Here's why it is a big deal.

First, we know that if Powell had endorsed Romney in 2012 after endorsing Obama in 2008 it would have been a HUGE deal. He would have been on every talk show and every commercial Romney ran from now to the election. It would have given tremendous support to their message that Obama had his chance but he was a real failure, now it's time to let the grownups back in to take over, and so forth. It especially would have helped Romney on foreign policy, because he could legitimately claim that one of our biggest foreign policy heroes had dumped Obama for the manifestly less qualified Romney.

Of course, since that didn't happen the Romney people can't do that. They always like to have one black guy that they can point to as their own, and when they lost Powell in 2008 they were stuck with crazy guys like the Godfather Pizza Guy

Which brings us to the second reason (or maybe second piece of evidence) that this is a big deal: the Republicans are freaking out about it.

Take John Sununu from right across the river. He's now saying that the only reason Powell endorsed Romney is that they're both black. Nothing racist about that, is there? Why should the Republicans give a black guy credit for being able to make decisions based on their carefully considered merits? Even if they were begging him to run on their ticket just a few years ago?

Or as another example, take John "You Kids Get Off My Lawn!" McCain.  Granted, after 2008 McCain probably wasn't Powell's biggest fan, but this goes beyond that. As Benjy Sarlin reports in Talking Points Memo:

 “General Powell, you disappoint us and you have harmed your legacy even further by defending what is clearly the most feckless foreign policy in my lifetime,” McCain told Brian Kilmeade on his radio program.

So yes, this is a big deal. Someone who has had the chance to study President Obama's record, especially on foreign policy, for the last four years, and has tried to understand Romney's foreign policy (hint: he said  "I'm not quite sure which Governor Romney we'd be getting with respect to foreign policy,"), and still came down supporting President Obama, and giving him credit both for his domestic and his foreign policies.

Thank you, Mr. Powell.  

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