October 21st, 2008
02:31 PM ET

Conservatives can't handle the truth

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/21/colin.powell.close.jpg]
Roland S. Martin | Bio
AC360° Contributor
CNN Political Analyst

"It's because he's black."

That is such an easy – and weak – answer to give when it comes to former Secretary of State Colin Powell endorsing Sen. Barack Obama for president.

Radio blowhard Rush Limbaugh made it clear that's what he thinks; Pat Buchanan, who would be a leader of the White Citizens Council if this was the 1950s, said as much; and even conservative columnist George Will tried to pin that on Powell.

All are wrong.

But what is so fascinating to watch these GOP-lovin' folks, and the others who blindly follow their every word, is that they have lavished Powell with effusive praise for years because they saw him as race neutral!

Powell, and his successor as secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, have been portrayed as their kind of Republicans because they aren't seen as black. They sort of occupy the rareified space reserved by whites for Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan and Oprah Winfrey – African Americans who are not about their color (well, maybe not Oprah, who has been tagged for being a traitor for supporting Obama. Why, they say? Because he's black!).

Their reaction to Powell's endorsement is the reality of being black in America: if you do everything the way the Limbaughs, Buchanans and Wills want, you're perfectly acceptable in their world. But the moment you actually use that clear and independent mind they said they love to support the person that you think is right for the job, then it's because they are black.

I know the feeling. I get the emails from white viewers who question my skills, integrity and credibility by assigning race as the sole reason I'm on CNN. Forget the fact that I've put 17 years into this line of work.

Powell is a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; national security adviser; and has served on the ground with our troops. He has served directly with four presidents and knows presidential timber when he sees it.

To Limbaugh, Will and Buchanan, put your fake race analysis away and give this accomplished man his due. He made a thoughtful, careful and meticulous decision over the course of several months, and gave one of the most compelling endorsements I have ever seen. He used his intellect and knowledge of the office and tried to convey that to the nation.

Powell wasn't a black man supporting Obama. He is an American hero who has always, and will continue, to put country first.

Filed under: Barack Obama • Colin Powell • Raw Politics • Roland S. Martin
soundoff (152 Responses)
  1. Alex

    Roland, I follow your comments, I consider them very passionate and objectives. I also consider that the endorments of Colling Powell were very insightfull and right on the money; as he said that's why the world have this negative view of US. I remember when this country was has Moral Standard in the World.

    I don't know if MTV is still doing "Celebrity Death Match", but I'd love to see a match between you guys from CNN and the FOX News Team. My Heart and Money and with you guys.

    Good Night!, and Good Luck!

    October 21, 2008 at 10:16 pm |
  2. Howard

    I believe Colin Powell endorsed Obama because of his policies. I Also believe that General Powell was offered the V.P. position for John McCain, but cordially declined.

    October 21, 2008 at 10:13 pm |
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