Former Secretary of State Colin Powell told Michael Martin on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” Sunday, the Republican Party has to “become more respectful of each other,” and claims the late former First Lady Nancy Reagan would feel “disturbed” by the manner in which some Republicans invoke her late husband, former President Ronald Reagan.
Powell, who once served as Reagan’s national security adviser, lamented the current tone of the 2016 presidential election in his interview with Martin, seeing it as a stark difference from the “civility” and “lack of any nastiness” Powell continues to view the Reagan presidency as embodying in its heyday. He said:
“To stand there and do junior high school tricks on one another is belittling the country and belittling the office to which they are striving.”
He added, referring to statements made in the Financial Times lately by a certain infamous former talk show host and Democratic mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio:
“Even Jerry Springer thinks it’s gone too far, and when Jerry Springer thinks you’ve gone too far, my friends, you have gone too far.”
Though Powell voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, he claims he still identifies, and makes the above criticisms, as a Republican. It seems Powell was simply unhappy with the Republican Party rhetoric in those election years, and if that’s the case, he must be simply beside himself this go ’round. Powell said:
“In 2008, I spoke out against calling the president a Muslim, as if that was a curse. I don’t know anything in the Constitution that says Muslims are bad.”
Powell also stated, in 2012 he stood up against “a level of intolerance in some parts of the party—and there was. And I think there still is.”
Powell was too polite to name candidate names when touching upon his criticisms of contemporary Republicans and the current presidential race, but he did say, in the wake of the former First Lady Nancy Reagan’s passing, “perhaps this would calm the temperature a bit in our public debate right now,” because to Colin Powell, the Reagans knew how to set the right tone for politics in the country.
Folks can debate their views on the late Reagans and the current Republican candidates running for the Oval Office until election day, as well as which tone is more appropriate for the country, but Colin Powell sure got one thing right in his NPR interview, at least: These 2016 Republican candidates are “belittling” the country in the eyes of the rest of the world. They make America an embarrassment and a laughing stock. They are flunkies passing for leaders-opportunists masquerading as idealists. It’s enough to make an establishment, Reaganite Republican vote Democrat—twice.
Do we hear a third?
Featured image by John Athayde via Flickr, available under Creative Commons license.