December 11th, 2008
07:01 PM ET
12 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. hampton in charleston

    We need more conservatives, (of the Limbaugh, Coulter type, not Lindsey Graham type), here like Russia needs more Putins.

    December 11, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  2. GlobalRoamer

    It is a bit ironic that Colin Powell's son was the head of the FCC under Bill Clinton. Only the FCC would have the (unconstitutional) power to enforce a reprise of "The Fairness Doctrine."

    December 11, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  3. tystick

    I have just one question for all you libs out there. How does an American become financially successful when the government is spending your money. Let me answer, you don't! Want to see Obamas America, look at Detroit-ran by democrats for years! And as for racism, the democrats are so racist they see Obama as more Lincoln (white) than King (black)! One other thing, Limbaugh is freaking entertainment, just like Sean Penn. If we would hold our crooked gov't to pages of the Constitution we'd all be better off, but were all too worried about whos pregnant in hollywood and how many windmills can we put up to feel good about ourselves. By the way, I live in Wisconsin and I want my global warming back! With the public electing Obama I really feel like I'm living in the movie "Idiocracy"!

    December 11, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  4. Lop

    Limbaugh questioned the instant adoration of Powell some years ago – and rightly so. Since then Powell has done what he can to discredit Rush, AND his listeners. Yet Powell never uses FACTS in his critique, just lobs personal and racist attacks.

    December 11, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  5. cc

    Sad to see this kind of whiney cr@p coming from someone I use to admire.
    Colin needs to just embrace his new party (the one he so exuberantly supported in this last election) and leave the GOP to solve their own problems.

    December 11, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  6. Stephen

    Referring to General Powell as a houseboy or Democrat in Republican clothing does nothing to advance intelligent political discourse in America. He left the administration when he realized that the bad intelligence that led to war had tarnished his reputation (through no fault of his own) and hampered any potential for him to positively contribute. He has every reason to hold his head high – he did an outstanding job of representing the United States throughout a lifetime of service.

    Rush Limbaugh can be quite entertaining if you don't take him too seriously – listening to him, you know he doesn't. But let's face it, he can be a little shrill, although not nearly as grating as Sean Hannity.

    December 11, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  7. Rick

    I'm sorry, did he say that Republicans should not just try to influence people with "principles?" Shouldn't principles be what's in the "hearts and minds" of all citizens?

    December 11, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  8. Ed in Tacoma

    What have liberals done for minorites, besides trying to lock them into dependency on government handouts?

    Powell is looking for a higher form of welfare, a cabinet position.

    Republicans can offer them stronger families and real economic opportunity, but only if we adhere to conservative prinicipals and defend family and marriage and stop the nationalization of our economy.

    Dittos and pretty pitbulls are exactly what our party needs.

    December 11, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  9. BJenks

    What a joke! Powell should turn in his medals.

    December 11, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  10. Bill

    Lets see if I have this correct Mr. Powell. From the country's founding the majority have been right (and Right) but will soon be a minority. Soon the minority will be a majority and are wrong (left). So in order to get votes the Republican party should move Left (wrong) and hasten this country's slide towards socialism. You sir are what's wrong with politics and the racist minority.

    December 11, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  11. Magellan

    What a pompous windbag....this coming from a guy who would've been nothing more than a footnote or an asterisk if not for the two Bush presidents. A Democrat/RINO who owes his career to W and his father. Now he is nothing more than an irrelevant has-been who is best known for not finishing Iraq during the first Gulf War and for sitting in the UN and telling the world that Saddam had WMDs. Like Jimmy Carter, he will never just retire and go away and quit embarrasing himself. And like Carter, he will become a doddering old fool who can always be counted on by the MSM to stick the knife in to the folks who have enabled him.

    December 11, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  12. Soldier 4 OBAMA

    I am military and a Soldier and with the hate that is on this site. General Powell will do well to leave the GOP. The RNC/GOP as it is will be out of power and will continue to lose seats in the House and Senate for the next 10 election cycles, until of course they reform. Not reform in principle but also in deed and NOT WORDS! The GOP is a "Plantation Club" and this election really took the blinders off for the entire world to see. Yes, the DEMS have their own problems, but they are more reflective of the nation. The GOP cannot be saved with GA, SC, MS, LA, KY, KS, WV, AL, and the rest of the south, not even ALABAMA OR TN can save their hides.
    McCain used Jindal for political gain, the GOP used blacks for Political gains and every ethnic groups, but do nothing in principle. The refuse to have the Auto Industry reform and now it is comming home to roose and they SCREAM it's a bailout. We are watching from Detroit to Cali, the GOP is over!
    REAGAN must be turning and LINCOLN is smiling on OBAMA what a future we have with the REAL AMERICANS, the majority minority includes progressive and conservative values white too.


    December 11, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  13. clifford

    Ah,Rush Limbaugh #1 rated radio talk show with 20 million listeners!!! Enough said!!

    December 11, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  14. Benjamin Franklin

    Colin Powell is an American Hero. Rush Limbaugh is an American Zero. Colin Powell honorably served his country while Rush illegally procured Oxycotin.

    December 11, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  15. Kat S

    Now the left (and Mr. Powell is part of it) want to tell us who we can listen to on the radio. Rush Limbaugh just signed a $400 million deal for at least 8 more years. Sean Hannity is one of the most popular hosts on radio and TV. If you don't like them...don't listen. But don't tell other people who to listen to.

    The liberals tried one would listen to them.

    The liberal view of "think the way I do or you are wrong" just won't cut it anymore. Look at all the corruption coming out of Illinois...then tell me what saints all liberals are. There's plenty of blame to go around in both parties.

    I didn't vote for President elect Obama but I am willing to give him a chance.

    You can rant, rave, lie about conservatives, but you will not change anyone's point of view. We are not going away.

    December 11, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  16. Vanbo

    Colin's remarks are quite racist and I resent them. He seems to talk out of both sides of his mouth. He is not a conservative or a Republican. He just played some political game to get an appointment with Bush. What a disgrace this man is. Why don't we try and divide our country a little more Mr Politician with your racist comments against conservatives?

    December 11, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  17. Steelfish

    Powell has reduced himself to the American version of another inveterate scoundrel-Deepak Chopra! Powell rose to fame and fortune only because of Bush Snr. and W. We lost because of iRINOs like Powell and McCain. Has Powell read the Soros-inspired blogs and the filth of the left wing loonies that raised a pile of dough for Hussein.

    December 11, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  18. Horace D. Jones

    Powell, what a goose!! You are already a Democrat. Don't refer to
    yourself as a Republican, we don't need or want you. Go stick
    your nose in Obama and the Democrats business. You are a
    typical left-wing loon so admit it, if you have the guts.

    December 11, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  19. Flash Gorden /-\

    WOW! I guess it depends on the platform the people at CNN run with. These blogs are bias depending on the current "moderator(s)" views. Some days they are all left, some days they are all right [sic] and some days, I do not even see how some get posted! (Just like this one I am sure.) These blogs have really gotten off track and BORING. I might check in on them in the future but, with what gets posted here, I'm not going to miss all the "smart" people stating their case(s)... I have to interact with some kinds on here in REAL life, why do I need to see them spew here? Education surely IS lacking in America! Posted or not, I truly do not care...

    December 11, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  20. Ted

    Colin Powell was the biggest Joke in the history of this Country as the Joint Chief of Staff as well as the Sec of State. He worked for the President but felt he didn't have to follow orders. I'll be glad when this turkey sits in a retirement home.

    December 11, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  21. joan

    I used to respect you, CP. Same old "reverse racism" that can't actually exist. If Obama were a white inexperienced democrat who danced around the subject on every promise....would you endorse him then????? Hmmmmm/. Oh well, no. So you are a racist and my high regard is now no regard. Enjoy your weath until the big O takes away...oh that's right you and the big O can afford expensive tax lawyers to ensure that doesn't happen. Give me a break

    December 11, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  22. Republicans for American Decline

    Reading all these comments can't make me help but to imagine that most of these conservatives are just completely foaming at the mouth.

    Looks like even in a bad economy, hate and denial are still growth industries for conservatives.

    December 11, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  23. FreeStateNative

    I will never again vote for a non-conservative candidate in any party. No more 'lesser of two evils'.

    December 11, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  24. Katherine Arndt

    Colin Powell showed us what he relly is... a fake... he is a racist... He said, "what if there IS an islam in the white House/ Ilam is OK....

    Well, he told us what this president elect is and what Colin Powell is...he let down his benefactors... he is very low in the Esteem of most of us since that low-brow cut throat trick just before election day...

    He is no role model for the truth... Get Outta here Colin! A 90 year old Grandmother who used to really admire Colin Powell....BAh....'
    Kathedrine Arndt

    December 11, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  25. steve r. from Wash st.

    The reality is the ideological way of thinking of the GOP is a thing of the past . Time to rid yourself of disapoIntment and climb aboard like I said before. It is PE OBAMA'S and All AMERICANS time to shine!!! Obama 2008 , 2012 , CLINTON 2016, 2020. 🙂

    December 11, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
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