Not to be obvious, it’s obvious both Ike and Powell were quiet men and led from behind. No big show, no scourging of enemies. In fact not many enemies really, both being fair and honest men whenever life allowed it. Donald Trump and the Koch Brothers they were not.
Men who get things done in quiet ways are rare these days. Bloomberg makes a lot of noise in New York, and between them, and the President and Mr. Romney are almost as loud as Ryan-the-Talkative-Accountant and Biden-The-Exuberant.
Powell speaks slowly in coherent adult English paragraphs with a bedrock of experience supporting them. His way of doubting Mr. Romney’s foreign policy insight is mild and regretful, but he knows perfectly well that a Romney administration would be a perfect fit for the neocons and the arms industry. The military-industrial complex and the money to be made in it are no mystery to General Powell, nor is he mathematically challenged. He pointedly observed that the Ryan-Romney numbers didn’t add up. No secret, but rarely addressed so directly by people not involved in the Democratic campaign. Here was a war-hero Republican standing alongside the President and approving his use of the military. Embarrassing.
Following Mr. Romney’s masterful TKO victory in the first debate, the President came back for a pair of decision wins but the rabbits he was pulling out of his hat didn’t make the kids laugh. Romney had, in that first debate, demonstrated what Ernest Hemingway called testicularity. Interestingly, both men and women responded to this apparent dominance. Polls changed and better employment numbers didn’t have much effect. Romney somehow survived two barbaric-moronic male chauvinist Republican candidates, supporting them, plus various revelations about Bain Capital. Now he’s bedevilled by an old court case, and his lawyers bullying a single mom, but like the President, he keeps smiling and hoping.
It is, in short, a dogfight entering the championship rounds as they’re called these days. The next three weeks figured to be rounds 10-12 in a race that only very slightly favors the President. But this detailed, powerful endorsement of by Powell, an iconic figure — and a Republican at that — will affect sane, thinking undecided voters. Credible is the General’s middle name.
The one and only Rachel Maddow had a ball with this, gleefully overstating like a high school kid, but scorchingly accurate. Played at length on her show, Powell’s observations were devastating, with the kind of power a sound-bite can never have.
He would have made one damn fine quietly disciplined President, and we’d still be rich if it had happened. Another Ike. And for Obama, thanks to the Tea Twits.