As we reported earlier, former Secretary of State Colin Powell passed away this morning due to COVID complications, per a message his family shared on Facebook.
He was 84.
Powell, who was married and had three children, was perhaps best known in political and media circles for the four years (2001-2005) he served under President George W. Bush’s administration where many on the left and in the media alleged that he was being “used” by Bush to shield the administration from the ridiculous criticism that the President was hostile to the black community.
Other critics at the time, also on the left and in the media but a few on the right as well, argued that the case he made to the United Nations in 2003 about Iraq was the tipping point in convincing the American people that the United States must wage war on the country a year and a half after 9/11. In 2005, Powell called the speech a “blot” on his record.
Within the Republican party, opinions on Powell have varied widely over the years as he was viewed as a deeply polarizing figure even before he left the Bush administration, increasingly sounding more and more like a Democrat by the day, which he unofficially became when he backed former President Obama in 2008 and 2012, then failed 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, and then Joe Biden in 2020. In January of this year, Powell told CNN he could “no longer call myself a fellow Republican,” which came as a surprise to absolutely no one.
In most cases my view on the passing of public figures is to, out of respect, let the grieving process roll through for the family for a while before I start assessing their legacy in a public forum. Obviously, others believe differently, which is fine. But one hot take given today in the aftermath of the announcement of Powell’s death rubbed people all kinds of the wrong way, and it came courtesy of CNN’s editor-at-large Chris Cillizza, who readers of his site well know is legendary for the hot takes he often gives that go over about as well as a lead balloon, not to mention his infamous and hilarious declaration in 2016 that read: “Let me say for the billionth time: Reporters don’t root for a side. Period.”
In a piece published this morning at CNN and which he shared on Twitter, Cillizza’s hot take on Powell, which he expounded on in his article, was to – get this – point out that “The Colin Powell Republican no longer exists in the Republican Party.”
Well, duh – maybe that’s because he was a “Republican In Name Only” starting even during his time as Bush’s Sec. of State, perhaps sooner. The party was already drifting further right in many respects at the time and Powell was clearly a moderate (to put it charitably) with leanings that lined up more with liberal Democrats than they did with supposed “centrist” Republicans.
He increasingly fell out of favor with Republicans the further left he went, and once he went all in voting for Obama, there was no turning back.
Cillizza’s take was not received well by many people who responded to him in kind, wondering why he chose to give a take that was obvious to everyone and went without saying:
Well….. Colin Powell wasn’t a republican, so… https://t.co/ibYQIpEhhe
— Storm Paglia 🇺🇸 (@storm_paglia) October 18, 2021
I mean, RIP to Colin Powell; I do have a lot of respect for him. But yeah, it is sort of tautologically true that there are not a lot of Obama-Obama-Hillary-Biden Republicans… https://t.co/UulTgIpHdi
— Tony (@realtonysm1th) October 18, 2021
I mean, clearly, Cillizza was aware that Powell was solidifying himself as a “Republican In Name Only” going way back, as evidenced by this tweet he posted in 2012 noting Powell’s endorsement of Obama over Republican nominee Mitt Romney, who at the time was arguably more closely aligned with Powell on the issues than people thought:
“I voted for him in 2008, and I plan to stick with him in 2012.” — Colin Powell on President Obama.
— Chris Cillizza (@ChrisCillizza) October 25, 2012
The likelihood for Cillizza’s rant was to make people think that President Trump was the last straw on the camel’s back, so to speak, for Powell choosing to no longer call himself a Republican, as evidenced by this paragraph from his write-up:
Powell’s personal journey from potential — and much-coveted — Republican presidential candidate in the mid-1990s to pariah within the Trump-ified GOP tells the story of how the party went from one that recognized the changing face of America and the need to adapt its policies as a result to one organized around the often-intolerant views of a single man who, it’s worth noting, spent less time as a Republican than Powell did.
CNN should just rename themselves OMBN = the Orange Man Bad Network, because their obsession with the former President has truly gotten out of hand, and is just downright embarrassing at this stage in the game. Enough already.