So now word comes down that Colin Powell has endorsed Barack Obama. Maybe this is his return to sanity, or maybe a mea culpa for selling his soul to Shotgun Dick Cheney and the Hole In The Head Gang, but either way, he’s a hard man to trust again. There was a time not too many years ago when he had the chance to be Barack Obama, but blew it big time. Mr. Powell was the independent darling of American politics, wooed by both parties after he retired as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the fist black man to achieve our nation’s highest military position. His perceived integrity and wisdom had pundits wondering if we were looking at our first African American president.

And then he got into bed with the Bush The Younger Administration, the regime that turned gold into shit before our very eyes for 8 long years. Colin Powell became the first black Secretary of State, at first the only voice of reason within Bush The Younger’s cabinet, advising the war mongers eager to invade Iraq that “if you break it, you buy it.” It wasn’t too long, though, before Powell was corrupted, going against his own counsel by appearing before the United Nations with bogus intelligence claiming that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Some of the papers he was waving so dramatically were drawings! Hardly what you’d call a smoking gun. More like a drawing of a smoking gun, minus the caption: “This is not a smoking gun.”

Obama welcomed his endorsement, naturally, since Mr. Powell still commands the respect of many independent voters. He did go a little overboard though, saying that there might be a place for him in an Obama administration. As what? Secretary of the Inferior? Powell has already compromised his principles and knows it, regarding his service in the current administration as a blot on his record. Well, at least he’s not crazy and in denial like the rest of the Hole In The Head Gang. But that’s no reason to trust the man again. If he wanted redemption, why did he not go public with the crimes of the Bush The Younger Administration? 

Why is his late-in-the-game endorsement any different from Scott McClellan writing a book to cash in on crimes the Bush Administration committed years ago when going public right away could have saved this nation a lot of grief? Powell wants redemption, McClellan wants millions of dollars in royalties. What’s the difference? These self-serving Johnny-come-latelys have grown a conscience too little and far too late. In Colin Powell’s case, jumping on the bandwagon of a sure thing late in the campaign doesn’t erase the fact that he knows a lot that he’s not telling, maybe because so much of what he knows would reflect badly on himself. Which only makes his betrayal worse, and his endorsement nearly meaningless.

In many ways the life of Powell made Barack Obama’s campaign possible, and had he remained the Colin Powell he was before he joined the worst administration in America’s history, that endorsement would carry a lot more weight. As it is now, his presence in an Obama administration would be a dead weight, a reminder of compromised principles, corruption and vicious attacks by our own government on our sacred Bill of Rights. Take Colin Powell’s endorsement with a grain of salt, then let him go back home and write his memoirs. Maybe in that book he’ll come out smelling like a rose, they way we all once thought he would. In real life, however, his smell is a very different one than that of a rose. Pity the man for what once might have been, but do not trust him again.

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