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

Powell: GOP 'polarization' backfired in election

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. dastardly

    It is obvious from Powell statements and those agreeing with him in these posts, that they don't have a CLUE what Rush talks about on his show or what conservatives believe.

    December 13, 2008 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  2. Tim

    Powell is like most Beltway types – he's with the prevailing wind. Democrats run campaigns based on pandering to spacial interest. Conservatives ( who, mind you, had no dog in the fight for the '08 election) appeal based on the common needs and desires of all people. Where they fail it is because they try to act like Democrats. Even then, a RINO like McCain only lost the election by 6%.

    December 13, 2008 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  3. antonio

    Limbo and his apostles have felt the cold hard slap of irrelevance

    December 13, 2008 08:20 am at 8:20 am |

    Powell is an idiot ... gutless to the core. No, I will not succumb to EVER thinking like a liberal DemocRAT. Lowlife forms of sludge that they are. He makes me laugh when he says its OK to be 'socially' conservative ... since when has socially correct while remaining ignorant to the principles of being economically sound ever got anyone anywhere? (i.e.: FRANCE) This guy is a putz ... the 'other' kind of magic negro like Obama, a liar and a farce. DONT DRINK THE KOOL AID

    December 13, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  5. Davamundo

    Please tell me that you liberals aren't buying his honesty.
    It's political on both sides.
    Also racism at it's best along with Oprah and the rest of the supporters in the middle east as well.
    It's a political machine set to set up world government and take away our freedom.
    Powell is just getting in line for power in this one world government. He could give a crap about you liberals, us consevatives or anyone else. He has no integrity. Just smoke and mirrors.
    Davamundo roars!!!

    December 13, 2008 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  6. Davamundo


    December 13, 2008 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  7. kcs

    Why does he, or anyone else, think he is a Republican. He is the biggest band-wagoner there is. He claims to be Repulican, when it was politically benefical for him to do so, and then when the party has lost his usefulness, he runs to the dems. He is "fake conservative", and "fake repulican". No credibility.

    December 13, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  8. Chris Washington DC

    If only the GOP and conservative talk show hosts would become as accepting as the liberals have been towards their counterparts the past 8 years!! You idiots are hilarious!! Since when have democrats reached out to anyone but themselves?

    You Democrats are very entertaining. As are you "Republicans". Unfortunately for you the almighty and dominating and pure Obama barely won despite truckloads of scandelous contributions and all of the media kissing his butt. You will have to do more than censorship to win in 2010 and 2012. If the democrats don't start taking our Constitution seriously they are going to piss off a lot of people and get steam rolled in the next elections.

    December 13, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  9. victor

    Powell decided to become a limp wristed liberal when he realized he couldn't get any farther than secretary of State. He is one of the most bitter angry people around.the values of conservatives have not changed...and should not.As long as liberals offer "minorites' stuff for free and conservaties don't, liberals will get the vote. Powell, a sorry angry loser.

    December 13, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  10. Les

    Yes, Mr Powell we all need to be just like the deomcrats, just like John mcCain. Oops! John lost. Looks like if we are just like the Democrats people would rather get the real thing. when they run as a real Conservative like Reagan, which is what Limbaugh is espousing, they get elected.

    December 13, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  11. Klecko

    If Obama was white would Powell have voted for him?

    December 13, 2008 10:31 pm at 10:31 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