Back in January, I wrote that Colin Powell isn’t embarrassing the Republican Party, he’s embarrassing himself. Since then, despite the revelation of an affair with a radical leftist politician from a foreign country, Powell has kept on beating the same tired old drum.
The Colin Powell we see on the Sunday morning shows is a bitter man, angry over not getting as far as he wanted to go. It isn’t racial bitterness that Powell projects, but personal grievance. Colin Powell didn’t get what he wanted by being a Republican and he hasn’t gotten it from the Democrats either. This is his last chance and the door isn’t opening for him no matter what he does.
Powell is a sad man. A man who didn’t take the right opportunities and is now taking the wrong ones. An angry man willing to do what he never did before. A man who, like so many in Washington D.C., traded his honor for careerism, and now has neither honor nor career left.
Watching Powell go, you can see him ramping up the bitterness, spewing more bile, destroying his reputation as a dispassionate and moderate figure, and ultimately coming to seem no different than the other political hacks clogging up the morning shows.
Colin Powell now seems to almost revel in his divisiveness. But it’s not really a racial anger. It never was. It’s possible that Powell attributes his career failures, the collapse in the Bush Administration and his failure to move on, to race. But if so he’s a bigger fool than anyone would have thought.
But mostly I suspect that Colin Powell is transposing his own bitterness into a racial context. He can’t go on the Sunday shows and rant about the opportunities he missed without seeming petty. But he can use race as the fulcrum of his own private rage.