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. WILL AZ


    December 11, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  2. Shawn

    Screw you, Colin. You voted for Barry cuz he's a Halfrican, plain and simple. Content of character was irrelevant to you, and many others. McCain and Palin are honorable Americans, can't say the same for Barry and his hateful wife.You are an insult to MLK Jr, and all the others who fought for truth, justice and equality for all. You climbed aboard the Barry Bandwagon, what special treats will you get now? You make me sick, Blago makes me sick, Jesse Jackson and his kid make me sick. Speaking as a black woman, you have let my people down. You're just another sellout. Thank for nothing. Oh, and thanks for pushing the Iraq war, idiot. Now shut up and go away. I will always be a conservative, and I'm BLACK. I thought you were, too. LIAR!Collect your bribe $$, just liike the others, and GO AWAY. Thanks.

    December 11, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  3. dennis

    I'm sorry general, but freedom is not our "lesser instincts." And that's the choice you have. The democrat party is the party of collectivism and big government, the republican party is the party of individualism and freedom. That's not going to change just because our candidates lost the election. Perhaps you'd be more at home on the other side, sir.

    December 11, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  4. Montogomery Gregory

    Well said!!! New cons, Rash limbough, Palin, Caulter know only how to spews hatred in the name of patriotism and heroism. Every country can do the same but they seem to more civilized than these Holier than thou hypocrites and pretenders. Let them read Mathew 23 and same will follow them and kill them.

    December 11, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  5. Snake

    it is funny how the only ones that bring up race are the libs!
    they played the race card right into the white house! with this radical socialist!
    Obama's will fail miserably as president, only good thing that we will get out of it as Americans is another Reagan! just like the last time we had a left wing wacko in the office...JIMMY CARTER!

    December 11, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  6. kitty

    Colin benefitted from the race card his entire life and rose to be Chair of the Joint Chiefs and Sec of State, appointed by WHITE presidents. Now, he's "turning" black and picking sides. What a disappointment he's become...always admired him, but not anymore.......................

    December 11, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  7. Wallace Ingram

    Would appear that Colin Powell is "miffed" at the critizism he received for jumping to support Obama. Mr. Powell may be a Republician, but
    a conservative he is not.
    I would listen to Rush before any of the members of Congress.

    December 11, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  8. oscarbozach

    Powell said "give us a GOP candidate who will reach across the aisle" and we will win in 2008.

    So he gets exactly what he asked for... a candidate (John McCain) who has reached across the aisle so often conservatives called him a Democrat. What did Powell do? He endorsed the Democrat (Obama) anyway..... what a joke!

    Proof that Powell is all about Powell. Ignore hm. He will be part of the Obama adminstration no matter what the GOP says or does...

    December 11, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  9. kat

    I have nothing but respect for Rush Limbaugh. I find his views to be more "common sense" than far reaching ideology. Sorry, touchy-feely liberals, but brain substance over emotion is only logical. Powell is reacting to Limbaugh's comments regarding his (Powell's) endorsement of Obama.

    December 11, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  10. Russians here

    Powell is right...Here is an example: My manager just adores Palin and even talks like her...She tells to our customers something like: " Sorry for disturbing ya." But, nevertheless, she does all her best so her daughter speaks RIGHT and INTELLIGENT ENGLISH spending pretty much all her money for private school and saving for the college...
    Ask yourself: what do you want out of this life? Does it really matter who has more power: dems or republicans? Do we really need (not want) folksy cute leader who just "energizes" GOP; I am still waiting for "drill baby, drill", or at least simple wedding of her daughter and high-school-drop son-in-law...just something except speeches.
    Why not listen to Powell? Yes, he is not so noisy, but he is intelligent, educated, speaks right language, never cheated...why not?

    December 11, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  11. Mike

    Do you notice that the only party to bring race into it is the Dems. The republican party is only about values not you have to listen to this group or the other. Powell has gone to the dark side.

    December 11, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  12. Slumberjack

    Blind fear, seething hatred, and an appalling ignorance of reality, stemming from a lack of basic education. If anyone consistently displays these attributes and has half a mind to become a Republician, then that's all you'll need. They'll welcome you with open arms. It is the party of no nothings, and they're proud of it. A waste of oxygen and a millstone around the neck of humanity, this is the ideal Republician supporter for the 21st Century.

    December 11, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  13. Big Tex

    Why do peolple have a problem hearing the TRUTH?! This country is going to the idiots! I believe that Rush and Bill should be required.

    December 11, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  14. John

    Collin... did he forget how Obama promised change and all we got was Clinton"s left change here....Obama said yesterday he was muslim befor the election he said he was a Christian....Opps! he lied to us here... now another corrupt Democrat Illinois governor.....What the hell gives!!!!!!!!!!

    December 11, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  15. The Warden

    The article above doesn't go into detail but I am willing to bet That Powell doesn't go into great detail as to what the Republican need to do. One thing is for sure, he's wrong about Limbaugh for the sheer fact that the Repubs did the exact opposite of what Rush was telling them to do. Also fact that Powell has no clue as to what Rush says. All Powell is aware of is that Limbaugh has exposed Powell as the RINO that he is. Powell is a very clever politician. He's not honest about what he believes in. How the heck do you think he got to the highest ranks in the military? By being a cunning politician! That's how it's done.

    December 11, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  16. Rick

    Colin Powell is yesterday's news, who cares what he thinks?

    December 11, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  17. Mike in Austin

    I am surprised at my former party and some of the people on here who have decided to go after Colin Powell. The man served with HONOR and DIGINITY in the Gulf War and under President Bush as Secretary of State. General Powell was dead on with his minority statement. They need to listen to all of the people, not just the die-hard, believe anything followers like Rush Limbaugh. Remember what the great Martin Luther King said: a true measure of a man is not where he stands during times of comfort and conveince but where he stands during controversy and challeneges.

    December 11, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  18. Richard Honiball

    If the Republicans do what Powell et al want us to do then there is no Republican Party to speak of. The Democrat Party has gone cuckoo as has Mr. Powell. Those who call Rush, Sarah and others who speak to us hate-mongers ought to look into their own souls for some self-criticism. Merely pointing out the folly of the left is not hate, it is the truth! Thanks but no thanks Mr. Powell, you are as they say yesterday's papers, and given the state of the print media today that my friend is a double-whammy.
    Conservatism will flourish even more when we see what a few years of Obamination will do to our way of life. And you ogroupies will wither on the vine.....

    December 11, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  19. Lachlan Muir

    So the only way to be civil is to refrain from having an opinion. I gueed that's all right as long as its my opinion that is the "acceptable" opinion. Since when did we find it unacceptable to have disagreement in this country.

    It is not unfair to point out the policies of the opposition and the likely results of those policies. Colin Powel has never spoken for me.

    December 11, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  20. Gus

    Thanks to Limbaugh, Hannetty, Ingram and the other so called the Great One, the DEMS won the House. And to top it off they helped elect BARRACK, This Gang of RACIST and BIGOTTED so called Right Wingers, do more HARM than good. They need to be taken off the AIR immediately before the onset of the 2012 election!. GOOD RIDDENS MAHARUSHI and Gang of FOOLS.

    December 11, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  21. Julie

    Colin Powell's days of being relevant are long over. Who cares what he has to say?

    December 11, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  22. john

    Powell you dumb traitor we have an open Senate seat in Illinois, care to bid and see if The Price is Right?

    December 11, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  23. mark

    I think this guy is a moron. He is all about race, as in black race. He has really surprised me as to his actions. The reason he is against Rush is because he steps on toes and speaks the truth. As always, the devil is stirred up when truth is spoken. I guess he is going down with the sinking ship. Why can't anyone see that B. Hussien Obama is gong to lead this country down a Godless and socialistic country. Mr. Powell you have lost me. No one can follow your postion any longer. Oh, hold up your finger again and see which way the wind is blowing may be in another direction in 4 years. Dittos! Rush!!!

    December 11, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  24. Kevin Miller

    I like Colin Powell more and more everyday. I so wish Obama would have picked him for Defense secretary or perhaps grand wizard of the world.

    December 11, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  25. Uncle Mikey

    I had no idea Powell was such a ninny. It's clear he's no conservative; we don't toss aside our principles when they're not popular. You call it "shouting at the world," I call it stating your case. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

    December 11, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
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