December 11th, 2008
07:01 PM ET
6 years ago

Powell: GOP 'polarization' backfired in election

Powell says the GOP tried to use 'polarization for political advantage.'
Powell says the GOP tried to use 'polarization for political advantage.'

(CNN) - The Republican party must stop "shouting at the world" and start listening to minority groups if it is to win elections in the 21st century, former Secretary of State Colin Powell said Thursday.

In an interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria for Sunday's "GPS" program, President Bush's former secretary of state said his party's attempt "to use polarization for political advantage" backfired last month.

"I think the party has to take a hard look at itself," Powell said in the interview, which was taped Wednesday. "There is nothing wrong with being conservative. There is nothing wrong with having socially conservative views - I don't object to that. But if the party wants to have a future in this country, it has to face some realities. In another 20 years, the majority in this country will be the minority."

Powell, who crossed party lines and endorsed President-elect Barack Obama just weeks before the election, said the GOP must see what is in the "hearts and minds" of African-American, Hispanic and Asian voters "and not just try to influence them by... the principles and dogma."

"I think the party has to stop shouting at the world and at the country,"Powell said. "I think that the party has to take a hard look at itself, and I've talked to a number of leaders in recent weeks and they understand that." Powell, who says he still considers himself a Republican, said his party should also stop listening to conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh.

"Can we continue to listen to Rush Limbaugh?" Powell asked. "Is this really the kind of party that we want to be when these kinds of spokespersons seem to appeal to our lesser instincts rather than our better instincts?"

Zakaria's full interview with Powell will air Sunday at 1 p.m. ET on CNN.


Filed under: Colin Powell
soundoff (1,390 Responses)
  1. Bob S.

    Powell is a Republican in much the same way that Bloomberg and Schwarzenager are, in name only. I have never been impressed with Powell as an intellectual or visionary. The fact is, he used the Bush administrations as much as they used him. Now that the symbiotic relationships no longer exist, he is reconfiguring himself to blend with Obama's emergence. Powell was a token selection placed in high profile positions. At first he gave powerpoint presentations to the media and the nation during the first Iraq intrusion, then later was appointed Secretary of State. In those positions of authority, he was more image than substance. Rush Limbaugh does not represent the Republican Party and does he cowtow to the whims of that party's leadership. He is opinionated,yes, and those opinions typically run in contrast to liberal thinking. So what! In a free society, we should all defend the rights to voice our opinions, without discrimination. The United States Constitution is the backbone to our great nation, and it should not be tampered with. Now how about moving on to verifying Mr. Obama's birth certificate in accordance with this document?

    December 11, 2008 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  2. John Gress

    Spoken like a true liberal.
    Because a conservative wants to keep to their core beliefs does not translate to seperatism and discrimination. Everyone is welcome to this party. But don't try to water down the essence of it. It is in fact the liberal who seperates, based on ethnicity and language and is intolarant of others beliefs. It is the liberal who shouts down the opposition. Or uses violence to intimidate other When a liberal is loosing a politicqal argument because they argue feelings instead of facts, it is they who take off their shoe and start banging it on the table. It is the liberal who ostrisizes when loosing in the arena of ideas. Colin Powell doesn't know where he belongs. He is the one who backs a candidate based on race not the conservative. When Cornwallis surrendered to Washington the band played "The World Turned Upside Down" That is the tune is should be played today.
    How long can we listen to Rush Limbaugh? As long as politicians speak through both sides of their mouths and as long as Liberals spin half truths into everyday beliefs. He is the political light that makes the halftruths disguised as shadows disappear.

    December 11, 2008 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    except ar accept

    December 11, 2008 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  4. Rod

    Mr. Powell is correct. Minority groups are allowed into the "TENT" yet can never dictate or lead unless there is consensus among the group. We have to bring this country closer together in order to revive our society. If not, we are doomed to perish. Trickle down economics has not worked.

    December 11, 2008 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  5. jtb-in-texas

    Paging Colin Powell's doctor! Secretary Powell is off his meds again... He apparently thinks the GOP gives a northbound rat's southern exposure what his opinions are.

    After lying about WMDs, he should have been put in prison...

    December 11, 2008 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  6. libbssuck1

    Sure.isten to Powell, all the minorities will be the majority, the other minority will be the white race, then when they complain, your back to where you started from...the lib side of the coin, make everyone happy and sing coombya...never works.

    December 11, 2008 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  7. David

    Well, the Republican party really needs to stand for something besides just anything Democrats are for, or saying one thing that people want to hear, and then doing the opposite....right in your face. And then tell you it didn't happen. Along with using scare tactics to prod their followers/sheep in any direction they want them in. If they want smaller and smaller less powerful government, why do so many Republicans spend millions to gain more power by running for office in our government??? Notice the consistent say one thing, and do another happening again? Maybe a bigger question is whether the Republican party is even necessary. Just reviewing our past 20 year history, the 'party' has been more of a negative impact on our country than a benefit.

    December 11, 2008 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  8. 1jack

    If you do not like Rush change the channel. To my knowledge we still have more than one station in this country. Maybe not in 4 years but we do today

    December 11, 2008 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  9. s

    Spot on Powell!!!!!

    December 11, 2008 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  10. Moises Perez Jr

    Of all the people that I am ashamed of the most in politics, Colin Powell takes the top prize. As a Senior Military Leader & Statesman, he should know better than most that one should never, ever, render power to the inexperienced, or to an apprentice at best, especially in the magnitude of being the most poweful leader of the free world, which is the case when he endorsed Obama, a smooth talking charlatan, reminiscent of a prosperous pimp. I do not care to listen to how it was a stab back at President Bush, or for whatever other excuses that are out there. With Colin Powell, like Winfrey, it was all about color, pure & simple. I am not saying that McCain was any better – he wasn't. The only honest faces out there were Joe the Plumber & Governor Palin. However, for those who do not believe the motive behind Colin Powell's decision to endorse Obama, give it time, for it always tells the truth. Colin Powell's true colors, though quite evident now, are very ugly indeed. Who is he fooling? Not this American.

    December 11, 2008 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  11. iGreg

    I will continue to listen to Rush. It is ingrate liberal Republicans like Powell that should shut up. Powell's agenda is Powell and his $100,000 speeches and liberal elite social circuit.

    December 11, 2008 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  12. Lynx

    Powell is a vendictive traitor.

    December 11, 2008 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  13. Irritant

    Powell is certifiably liberal and insane.

    December 11, 2008 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  14. James P

    When Whites are a minority in the U.S, it won't be soon after they will be in Europe.

    What other ethnic groups are cheering on their destruction? Is Asia or Africa becoming 'more diverse'? Or is it simply formally White countries?

    December 11, 2008 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  15. the truth will set you free

    There are two types of people in the world. Those who hear and learn from the truth and those who want to just feel good. I'll let you guess the party affiliations they usually end up with......

    December 11, 2008 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  16. Jeff Roe

    Colin Powell is a disgrace, and should immediately reregister as a Democrat. He has proved in many ways he has no loyalty to the Republican Party, and to go to the extreme of embracing a Marxist like Obama should drive the point home. If there is anyone we should hear less from, it's Mr. Powell.

    Good luck with all of that.

    December 11, 2008 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  17. Mark in Austin

    Hello...??? It's the LIBERALS that listen to Rush Limbaugh. I would consider myself to be a progressive person, with plenty of respect for spiritual matters, duty, honor, and country. And I have NEVER listened to a Rush Limbaugh show. I doubt I'm alone.

    The Libs listen to Limbaugh BECAUSE he makes them furious.

    Who really needs to get a life here...Rush...or the Libs...???

    December 11, 2008 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  18. FS Tate

    Has Colin Powell EVER listened to Rush Limbaugh?

    VERY VERY UNLIKELY !

    All that Colin Powell knows about Rush Limbaugh is what the elite news media told him, and they HATE Rush.

    December 11, 2008 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  19. LEB

    Powell is and has always been a Dem in sheep's clothing. I have never listened to him but I always listen to RUSH.

    December 11, 2008 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  20. Harry

    Powell should do what old generals should do. Just fade away.
    He is quickly becoming Jimmy Carters little brother. How ironic with what is going down in Illinois with the crime wave the democrats stew in with ties to Obama that you people and Powell are telling the GOP what to do.

    LOL

    December 11, 2008 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  21. Butch Dillon

    That a loser like Colin Powell has to cajole the Republican party away from Rush Limbaugh logic is pathetic. The republicans are a lost cause because of their insidious bond to jesus and limbaugh. But the good news for Americans is that the party is in Dead Man Walking status. It will not be long before total collapse ends that ideology.

    December 11, 2008 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  22. Moises Perez Jr

    Of all the people that I am ashamed of the most in politics, Colin Powell takes the top prize. As a Senior Military Leader & Statesman, he should know better than most that one should never, ever, render power to the inexperienced, or to an apprentice at best, especially in the magnitude of being the most powerful leader of the free world, which is the case when he endorsed Obama – A smooth talking charlatan, reminiscent of a prosperous pimp. I do not care to listen to how it was a stab back at President Bush, or for whatever other excuses that are out there. With Colin Powell, like Winfrey, it was all about color, pure & simple. I am not saying that McCain was any better – he wasn't. The only honest faces out there were Joe the Plumber & Governor Palin. However, for those who do not believe the motive behind Colin Powell's decision to endorse Obama, give it time, for it always tells the truth. Colin Powell's true colors, though quite evident now, are very ugly indeed. Who is he fooling? Not this American.

    December 11, 2008 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    I think it's Powell who needs to take a step back and look in the mirror. A "republican"??? He endorses the commie just b4 the election? He kept Bush Sr from eliminating Saddam in 1991, thus leaving us and the world open to his murderous schemes for 12 more years and leading partly to the mess we're in now. A man made of affirmative action from the word go. Was he ever the best man for any job or school opening? Please, Mr Powell, admit you're a foolish democrat and leave those of us who believe in conservatism and America alone. Maybe there's a Senatorship in it for you.

    December 11, 2008 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  24. Terry D.

    There is such a need for all of us to refresh our collective memories about the historic struggles and supreme sacrifices of our real American heros. What can be seen in the blogs is that we do not even respect our freedom of speech that came at such a high cost. General Colin Powell has certainly more than earned his right to speak, whether or not we agree with him. And the discussion about the Republican party and Rush Limbaugh is a no-brainer; no one is forced to turn on the Limbaugh program. I am a registered Republican and I do face the reality that if we continue to disrespect our historic principles, and if we adopt the "standards" of the other party, then we deserve what we get.

    December 11, 2008 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    Powell doest like to listen to rush turn off the radio general your problem is you cant handle the truth that rush represents you bit the hand that fed you for so long turned your back on your freind and indorsed obama for reasons other then racial yeah right. As off base and radical that obama is at least he isnt a turn coat on the party or the administration like you .Rush calls them like he sees them and you dont like that he saw right through you . Everyone knows your a phony your own community and now the ones you were in league with for most of your career.There was a time I thought you would have made a great president but now I am glad you never ran because your a flip flopper your not presidential material your no ike he was a great general and a great president

    December 11, 2008 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56