Colin Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama has me scratching my head in the same way Oliver Stone’s new movie W. does. In both cases, I have to ask myself: who are these people trying to influence? In the case of Powell, I think the endorsement is certainly a blow to McCain, as it adds stature and gravitas to his inexperienced rival, and it gives the Obama camp some bragging rights.
But is there a voter out there who was waiting to see what Colin Powell was going to do before casting their ballot?
If there is, I just don’t know who it would be. This is the first election when I’ve ever had the experience of being a somewhat undecided voter, and Powell’s endorsement does nothing for me one way or the other. Then again, I know something about Powell’s politics; despite his party affiliatiuon, he leans left on social issues and has said that he’s concerned about what two more Republican appointments to the Supreme Court would do to the country. That actually pushes me toward McCain, as Powell has more faith in McCain’s conservtive judicial street cred than I do. Maybe he knows something I don’t. Somebody certainly does.
I don’t think I’m the average undecided voter. I’m a disaffected conservative who would desperately like to vote for a traditional Republican, and I find myself having to struggle with what to do when that choice is denied me. Is that the standard template? Or are there people who really look to see what the cool people are doing and decide to do that? I get the sense that that might actually describe Powell. Waiting this long to endorse, and then demurring when asked to actually campaign for his guy, suggests he was waiting to see which way the wind was blowing. Would he be willing to do this if his guy was losing to McCain as badly as McCain is currently losing to Obama? I don’t know, but I doubt it.
I suppose there are some completely nonideological voters out there who just want to jump on the bandwagon of a sure winner, and Powell may be the thing that finally pushes Obama into inevitability. I still cling to not just my guns and religion – I have no guns, actually, but never mind – but also to my respect for the American electorate. Surely not that many of us are that shallow and vapid in their political decision making?
I’ve been wrong about everything else this election cycle, so I’m probably wrong about this.
I was certainly wrong about the box office appeal of Stone’s new movie, which I thought would sink like a stone. Honestly, why would anyone want to see this movie? If you hate Bush, I guess, there may be some vicarious thrills in seeing Stone do his usual leftoid hatemonger hatchet job on the guy, but I hate Clinton, and I’d just as soon hit myself in the head before paying to see anything about him, fictional or otherwise. And I can’t imagine any Republican wanting to sit through anything Oliver Stone has to say, regardless of how they feel about the president.
Proves I’m wrong, though. W.’s doing great at the box office.
I have never felt more disconnected from the pulse of my country’s political life than I feel right now. Even during the Clinton years, I felt there was a cohesive opposition that I could support. Now, I feel completely and totally adrift.