Monday, October 20, 2008

Who benefits from the Powell endorsement?

David Sirota thinks Obama's embracing of Powell (because of the latter's endorsement) says something disturbing about Obama. Like maybe this means Obama is closer to Powell's initial position on the war? I'm not sure I follow Sirota's logic. Just because Obama gladly accepts this endorsement does not mean Obama's position on the war has changed. I think it is more likely that Powell is trying to rub off some of the Obama magic in order to redeem himself from his failures as Bush's Secretary of State. Powell knows that his UN presentation is a major blemish on his record. By attaching himself to Obama, he can "redeem" himself in the eyes of history.

I'm not saying that Powell's motives are entirely calculating. I watched his endorsement yesterday and it felt heartfelt. But I'm sure Powell also saw something in Obama that could benefit him, Powell, in the long run. Whereas the benefit for Obama is the more short-term goal of  derailing McCain's "comeback" talk for a few days.

This could change if Obama decides to actually use Powell in a high level role in his administration. Then the questions about what this says of Obama will have more relevance.

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