Gergen: Powell's Obama Endorsement Most Important of Campaign

CNN's Senior Political Analyst David Gergen, appearing on ABC's "This Week" Sunday, declared the announced support of Barack Obama by former Secretary of State Colin Powell "the most important endorsement of the campaign so far."

Judging by other media reaction, it is a metaphysical certitude Gergen will not be alone in his Powell-loving assessment.

Is this announcement really the bombshell press members that have been in the tank for the junior senator from Illinois since he first announced his candidacy are making it out to be?

Consider how left-leaning many of the statements Powell made on Sunday's "Meet the Press" were, and how unlikely they will do anything to sway Independent, Conservative, and undecided voters (full transcript available here, file photo):

I think we have to do a lot more with respect to poverty alleviation and helping the needy people of the world.  We need to increase the amount of resources we put into our development programs to help the rest of the world.  Because when you help the poorest in the world, you start to move them up an economic and social ladder, and they're not going to be moving toward violence or terrorism of the kind that we worry about.

Is this something that will appeal to folks in the middle or the right of the political spectrum? Isn't Powell actually just preaching to Obama's choir with this "let's spread the wealth around the world" motif?

With Americans possibly more concerned with their own personal finances than at any time in recent memory, as well as the federal deficit and debt expanding with a velocity we haven't seen since World War II, are voters really more interested in the economic woes facing other nations than what befronts them?

Such wasn't discussed by Gergen on Sunday's "This Week" as he gushed in front of fellow panelists about the significance of Powell's endorsement; neither was the following:

I also believe that on the Republican side over the last seven weeks, the approach of the Republican Party and Mr. McCain has become narrower and narrower.  Mr. Obama, at the same time, has given us a more inclusive, broader reach into the needs and aspirations of our people. He's crossing lines--ethnic lines, racial lines, generational lines.  He's thinking about all villages have values, all towns have values, not just small towns have values. 

Really, General? Can you name some votes Sen. Obama has made in the past almost four years that crossed political lines? Are you familiar with McCain's multi-decade history of working with Democrats to advance legislation?

Honestly, the lack of serious examination by Gergen of what Powell told Brokaw is disgraceful. If his defense is that he hadn't yet seen the video or the transcript of this interview, then he shouldn't have stated that this was the most important endorsement of this campaign until he had.

In so doing, he might have uncovered another doozy:

MR. BROKAW:  And you are fully aware that there will be some--how many, no one can say for sure--but there will be some who will say this is an African-American, distinguished American, supporting another African-American because of race.

GEN. POWELL:  If I had only had that in mind, I could have done this six, eight, 10 months ago.  I really have been going back and forth between somebody I have the highest respect and regard for, John McCain, and somebody I was getting to know, Barack Obama.  And it was only in the last couple of months that I settled on this.  And I can't deny that it will be a historic event for an African-American to become president.  And should that happen, all Americans should be proud--not just African-Americans, but all Americans--that we have reached this point in our national history where such a thing could happen.  It will also not only electrify our country, I think it'll electrify the world.

Whether it was six months ago or with just sixteen days before America heads to the polls, didn't Powell basically say that he was supporting Obama because "it will be a historic event for an African-American to become president?"

With the nation at war on two fronts, and in the midst of one of its greatest financial crises, is electrifying the country and the world what this election should be all about?

When you boil it all down, isn't this really the position Obama-loving media have taken since his keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention in July 2004 amplified since he first announced his candidacy in early 2007?

If so, what makes this the earth-shattering, game-changing endorsement Gergen proclaimed on Sunday? Or this from Powell?

I would have difficulty with two more conservative appointments to the Supreme Court, but that's what we'd be looking at in a McCain administration.

To be sure, Gergen and his compatriots in the media share Powell's concern about the Court. Yet, with this very sentence, wasn't the former Secretary of State once again preaching to Obama's choir?

In the end, what Powell showed Americans today is that despite having served under three Republican presidents -- Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush -- he is indeed much further to the left in his political beliefs than his history would suggest.

After all, there probably aren't many Republicans in the nation today uncomfortable with Justices Ruth Bader-Ginsburg and John Paul Stevens being replaced by more conservative jurists.

With this in mind, maybe Gergen and his fellow Obama-loving press members should be discussing Powell's left-leaning views in the coming days as they make a big deal out of this endorsement.

Alas, I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.