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. Bob

    Gen. Powell was made 4 Star General by Pres. Reagan a Republican.
    He was made Nat. Security Advisor by Pres. Geo. H W Bush a Republican. He was named Sec. Of State by Pres. Geo. W Bush a Republican. He would not be known to very many and owes his recognition to the generosity of Republicans. Gen. Powell decided that race trumps loyalty to the people who made your career. He was too much of a coward to run for office himself and used his friends to gain wealth and power. He stabbed the Republican Party in the back by backing Obama over McCain and as far as I'm concerned he should be treated as a TRAITOR to his friends and mentors, the Republicans. His views should be boycotted or ignored by any respectable Repulican and people of honor. Gen. Powell has lost all respect and can not be trusted! Gen. Powell you are a sellout!

    December 11, 2008 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  2. Newagegop

    Go look up the 25 most dangerous cities in America and tell me who's in charge. Then go look up the 25 least dangerous cities and tell me who's in charge there. I dare you.

    You can spin. You can dance, but facts are stubborn things. Go live in Detroit hypocrites. Go live in cities run by democrats for the last 50 years and then tell me about hope and change.

    December 11, 2008 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  3. PorchMonkey

    Hey Colin, shame on you, Ronald Reagan brought you to the party not Hussien Obama.

    December 11, 2008 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  4. rayray

    I'm sorry, I didn't know that conservative principles only worked for white men. My understanding of conservatism was that regardless of race or gender one could rise to the highest echelons of power. Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice are two great examples of this. Those that critize Rush either don't listen to him or fail to understand his sarcasm of the hypocrisy of the elitist left and MSM.

    December 11, 2008 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  5. Akeem

    Obama will have the worst presedential ratings in history, worse than Bush, the economy will collapse on his watch.

    December 11, 2008 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  6. Smart man talking BS

    Why all this BS Mr Powell ?

    Why do not you ask all these so called "minority groups" to be part of American mainstream first, and be Americans, instead of living in that makeshift world of "minority groups". Pathetic thinking.

    Per your definition, I am also a "minority", but love to be American, live like an American, and want to be known as American, speak English instead of European, go to church that does not spew hate, and ride GM.

    December 11, 2008 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  7. Veritas

    General Powell should remember his oath as an officer included the promise " support and defend the Constitution..." We retired officers are still bound by that oath. For Powell to infer that we should abandon or compromise on our principles is despicable. Remember, when you compromise on something you already have, you lose. It is time for the minorities, mentioned by Powell, to understand that those principles are what made this country great. European Socialism, as is being pushed by the Democrats, is a sure formula for failure. It is time for people like Powell to live up to the oath they took and lived by, and teach the minorities that a Dependency Society can not last and only insures the destruction of the United States, the greatest country the world had ever known.

    December 11, 2008 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  8. James Hicks, Sr.

    Powell just further proves the idiot that he is.

    December 11, 2008 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  9. kmb

    WHAT is Powell talking about?? GOP problems?? hhhmmm Is Powell really PROUD of the democrat Chicago corruption machine entering into the White House now.

    December 11, 2008 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  10. Brigette !!

    If you think the world will love you if you are just like them.. realize they are all different and against liberalism.

    December 11, 2008 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  11. Abraham

    Does Mr. Powell actually understand what America means? Sure don't seem so. My father crawled in the mud of Europe to defend Americans rights and freedom. I don't intend to capitulate to Mr. Powell's foolhardy ideas.

    December 11, 2008 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  12. Rob

    Screw Powell. Backstabbing Uncle Tom, if there ever was one. I can't think of one black individual who benefited more from bending a knee than him.

    December 11, 2008 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  13. Fresh Prince Of Bill Ayers

    What a bunch of elitist tripe! And like we would EVER listen to full-bore, drank ALL the Kool-Aid moonbat liberals for advice! Conservatives would be WELL served to do the EXACT opposite of ANYTHING he advises.

    December 11, 2008 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  14. robersire

    So the General is backing the baby killing party. We are not going to comprmise our values. So long to A TURNCOAT.

    December 11, 2008 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  15. njf

    I wonder what the guy who calls himself "V" does for a living. For a guy who has been joint chief of staff and secretary of state, I guess "loser" is a misnomer. 'V' you must be an ex-president or an emperor.

    December 11, 2008 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  16. Mike Stone

    Powell shows his true colors by saying that white people need to just fork over preference and money to blacks. He was a part of the most diverse political team of all time and still complains about 'diversity'. He wants handouts and went with Obama for only one reason...color.

    December 11, 2008 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  17. malice420dotcom

    Powell's a jerk that should just go away. He's a disgrace to America, blacks and the military. the guys nothing but a political hack and America deserves much better.

    December 11, 2008 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  18. CM1515

    Guess my post wasn't what CNN wanted.
    Can you say CENSORSHIP. won me over with your fair and balanced nature!

    December 11, 2008 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  19. dave

    had the up most respect for Gen. Powell till he let color deside is vote.
    you don't like Rush,don't listen to him, change the channel, i know
    the truth hurts and all you Democrants don't like to hear the truth.

    UAW will being finding out what truth is, Obuma does not deliver.

    Democrants tax and spend all they know.

    December 11, 2008 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  20. Jim J,Hudson WI

    Powell is right. Limbaugh is a fraud!

    December 11, 2008 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  21. JR

    I just love everyone on here who is so quick to sell Powell down the river for crossing party lines this last election. Everyone of you fools are the same people who put Joe Lieberman up on a pedastal for doing the same darn thing. Pathetic.

    December 11, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  22. CM1515

    this is a farce

    December 11, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  23. JS Ragman

    Astonishing that a 4-star General, former Secretary of State, combat commander, who was one of the most powerful men in the world, is afraid of a talk show host who has a 3 hour a day radio show, a newsletter, and a website. In the world of people like Colin Powell, no dissent is allowed. No competing ideas. What Powell wants is the Republican party to be just like the Democrat party. This is the man, who waited until the election was all but over, to come out and endorse the presumed winner, hoping for 15 minutes of fame and a paying job in the Obama administration for the next 4 years.

    December 11, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  24. Perusing-through

    The Republican Party needs to change and stop being the Christian-Evangelical 'towel boy'. When watching the Republican Senators, Congressmen, and Governors, you get the impression Republican politicians are in dreaded fear of crossing the Evangelicals. Ironically, it was John McCain's fearlessness of Evangelicals that made him a Maverick, but he too became a James Dobson Evangelical towel boy and ultimately McCain lost the winning edge.

    December 11, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  25. Mike

    I really respect Colin Powell. He said it better than anybody.

    December 11, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
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