On January 13's Meet the Press, former U.S. secretary of state Colin Powell sounded off on the "dark vein of intolerance" that he sees within the Republican Party.
"When I see a former governor say that the President is 'shuckin’ and jivin’' [like Sarah Palin did last fall], that’s racial-era slave term," Powell told host David Gregory.
"When I see another former governor [New Hampshire's John Sununu] after the president’s first debate where he didn’t do very well, says that the president was lazy. He didn’t say he was slow, he was tired, he didn’t do well. He said he was lazy. Now, it may not mean anything to most Americans, but to those of us who are African Americans, the second word is shiftless and then there’s a third word that goes along with that. The birther, the whole birther movement. Why do senior Republican leaders tolerate this kind of discussion within the party?"
Why, Mr. Powell? Because your party's loudest mouthpieces are people like Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly or far-right groups like the Tea Party—people whose racist, sexist, homophobic, gun-loving, fear-driven soundbites appeal to a certain segment of Americans: terrified good ol' boys who just need a little spark to set them off. Ones who, if you scare enough, will flock to voting booths every two or four years under the premise they are "SAVING 'MURICAAAAA!"
But Powell's not a dummy; he realizes why these discussions are pervasive all too well, and clearly laments the shift in the GOP.
“I think what the Republican Party needs to do now is a very hard look at itself and understand that the country is changed," he observed. "If the Republican Party does not change along with that demographic, they are going to be in trouble.”