I quoted Colin Powell at length yesterday, but I want to go back and emphasize one point I skipped.
Colin Powell is part of the nearly extinct breed of Rockefeller Republican. He’s moderate on social issues and conservative on fiscal issues. Notwithstanding Rush Limbaugh and Pat Buchanan, it certainly appears this was a difficult decision. He just endorsed the opponent of a long-time friend whom he thinks would be a good President, for crying out loud. (BTW, did Joe Lieberman endorse McCain because he’s white? Jeez.) The easy path would certainly be to endorse McCain, or keep your mouth shut.
He didn’t. And his evisceration of McCain’s – which is to say standard GOP Presidential campaign – tactics carries extra weight because Powell is loyal beyond a fault (see the Iraq war, for example), so for him to, in his quietly devastating way, essentially say that John McCain is responsible for a dishonorable campaign is telling.
There may not be a lot of folks like Powell left in the Republican party – at approximately 30% GOP identification there aren’t many people left there at all. But those like him – those who care about competent governance, who believe smaller government is better but incompetent government is worse, seem to be leaning toward Obama because in this race, HE is the grown-up. McCain is not.
Polling data are often broken down into the most ridiculous sub-groups, so that you could argue, theoretically, that whoever wins the skinny latte voting block will win the election. I’m going to propose my own critical sub-group: grownups. Grownups believe (because, in this case, I’m defining them), first and foremost in Presidential temperament and evidence of the ability to lead and govern. If that’s met, you can move on to your favored ideology.
If that’s not met – and with McCain’s scattershot campaign, dial-a-response attitude toward the economic crisis, and, oh yeah, Sarah Palin, he’s fallen way short – then you default to the other guy.
Should Barack Obama hold on and win, I’ll say it was because of the grownups.
Or maybe the skinny latte folks.