Statesmanship: Powell Endorses Obama

Posted on October 19, 2008
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Foreign Relations, People, Politics
Total Views: 26007


Adil Najam

Today, former US Secretary of State possibly the best know living US military general, Colin Powell, endorsed Barack Obama. His decision was probably not a surprise, although it is clearly another blow to the Republicans. But what is important is not his endorsement, but what he said in making the endorsement. Take a listen to the entire thing, but especially to the portion after minutes 4:28 onwards when he talks about the charges about whether Barack Obama is a Muslim or not, and if so what does that mean.

This is really not about my liking Barack Obama (I do). This is not about my generally respecting Colin Powell (I do). This is not about my having grave concerns about many mistakes that Colin Powell has made, especially while Secretary of State (he did). This is not about me being a Muslim (I am). All of the above is important, but irrelevant to the reason why this clip is important and why what Powell says minute 4.28 onwards is absolutely important. Important to Pakistanis and to Pakistani Muslims, but far far more important to all Americans. Indeed, important to all students and practitioners of politics, everywhere.

To stand for principle, and to state that principle clearly even when it is something that is not popular is what statesmanship really is. What we saw today was not just an endorsement. It was statesmanship. So let us cherish this moment of statesmanship, because it is not often that one witnesses this very often in politics anywhere. Not in America and certainly not in America.

I fear that we will get a barrage of comments about America and American politics in response to this post. That is too be expected. And so be it. But I hope that at least some of you will think, and think hard, about what this makes you think about Pakistan and Pakistani politics. What if there was an Obama-like political star in Pakistan today? What if that politician’s father was, say, a Christian or Sikh or Hindu, with a corresponding middle name from those religions? What would be the tenor of the political conversation around this issue then in Pakistan? And who would have been the Colin Powell to have stood up and say what was said today?

I do not know what might have happened in such a case. I would like to believe that the hysteria and bigotry that some in the US have been exhibiting would not be seen in Pakistan. I would like to believe that. But, quite frankly, I find it very hard to do so. And so, today, I think about exactly this. Even as I celebrate not just what Colin Powell has done, but what he has said and how he has said it.

Editorial Note: We have had and will continue to have a very firm rule in the editorial policy of this blog. This is a blog on Pakistan. Here we discuss ALL Things Pakistan, and ALL we discuss is things about Pakistan. We have followed this rule very very stringently, and this post notwithstanding, we intend to continue doing so. Pakistanis have interests in many things – for example, in Indian films, in Russian politics, in various religions including the many that many Pakistanis follow – but this is not a blog about these things. It is a blog about Pakistan. This above all is the principle that has guided our choice of posts. Today may seem like an exception. We do not believe it really is, but even if it is, it is going to be exactly that – an exception, and not a rule. If it is an exception, then it is one that we believe is very well worth making.

47 Comments on “Statesmanship: Powell Endorses Obama”

  1. ASLAM says:
    October 19th, 2008 8:35 pm

    Bravo. Colin Powell. Very well said. Statesman indeed. His past mistakes remain, but what a powerful statement to make from this powerful man.

    Bravo also to ATP for taking the take yu have.

  2. Zia says:
    October 19th, 2008 8:51 pm

    I was surprised when I read about it in the morning and I agree that the way he has said it has very different tone not the one who says it to grab votes but who is sincere to US and its people.
    Regarding Pakistan, among the existing lot I can not think of anyone except Imran Khan or Mahmood Achakzai to standup and make this kind of statement but majority of Pakistani voters do not trust them rather they will vote based on ethnic, family and sect background.

  3. Roshan says:
    October 19th, 2008 9:32 pm

    Collin Powell undoubtedly endorsed Obama’s candidacy with convincing arguments. I was waiting for his endorsement and more eager to see how he sidelines the accusation of being man of race endorsing a candidate beyond the aisle who is also first African American. I am glad both Obama and Powell handled it very sensibly.
    Some days back my one of my favorites Campell Brown on CNN
    had a similar views on this issue but in a journalistic way not as a statesman.

  4. Aamir Ali says:
    October 19th, 2008 11:28 pm

    Obama has the thinnest resume ever for a presidential candidate. However in today’s media age, a good presentation can sell almost anything.

    Powell is endorsing Obama just like 99.99% of blacks are supporting Obama.

  5. Brown, and Proud says:
    October 19th, 2008 11:33 pm

    Amir Ali, you may be right. But one wonders if you seem to despise him so much (I have seen your earlier comments on him too) BECAUSE he is black! Afterall, the racism of Kala Sahibs can be even worse than that of the Gora sahibs!

  6. Eleugwu says:
    October 19th, 2008 11:37 pm

    How can someone trust Colin Powell. This is a guy who supported Iraq war now is supporting Obama. Is he doing this transition because Obama is a black man. That is ridiculous for a man like him to be prejudice. We as black folks criticize white prejudice against blacks.
    Again, If I were Obama I will not trust him. He is just opportunist.

  7. sidhas says:
    October 20th, 2008 12:25 am


    Thanks for putting this video clip for us on Pakistaniat who missed on meet the press. Without Tim Russert, it is same.

    It is important that we learn from the discourse that is taking place here in United States. My earnest hope is that America will rise to the occasion but fear is that race and religion question may drag it down come November 4th.

    Pakistan mein to asia nahi hota hai…mein aaj subha yehe sooch raha tha…kab McCain naara lagae ga “Jaag Farangi (gora) Jaag, teri pug noon lag gaya daag”. Lekin hum ne bhi kuch taraqi ki hai, arain aur jat se punjabi tak to pohanchey…wazeeri aur afaridi se pathan tak ka fasala to tay kiya hai…bihari aur UP se kuch to agay barhay hain….lekin abhi dilli door hai….

  8. Aamir Ali says:
    October 20th, 2008 12:31 am

    To Brown, and Proud

    Thats right, anyone who doesnt vote for Obama because he is black is a racist, and anyone who votes who Obama because he is black (African Americans) are also racist.

  9. Brown, and Proud says:
    October 20th, 2008 1:03 am

    @Amir Ali. Interesting take from you. Since it was you who suggested first that Powell had endorsed Obama only because he (Powell) is black. That seems to me be to an insult to both Powell and Obama.

    No, not everyone who doesn’t vote for Obama is a racist. There are plenty of people who will vote against him because they do not like his pro-middle class policies and prefer the Republican policies of being more friendly to wealthiest classes, others will prefer his opponents because of their immigration policy, or their more aggressive foreign policy, or whatever else. All of that is legitimate and everyone has a right to vote as they do. Even the Kala Sahibs have the right to vote as they wish. Just don’t insult the rest of us with bringing race into this and suggesting that anyone who supports Obama only supports him for his race.

  10. Ali says:
    October 20th, 2008 1:13 am

    Although I have always been dissapointed with Mr. Powell’s role in this War, I am very grateful for Powell’s denunciation of Islamophobia in this nation. His story about Kareem Sultan Khan was outstanding and made me proud and unashamed to be a Muslim American. Thank You for that General. Further, the idea that Colin Powell endorsed Obama because he is black is irrational. Most journalists and Washington Insiders over the past 7 years would tell you how completely disconcerted General Powell was with this administration and his party. He consistently got into screaming matches with Donald Rumsfield and left the Administration on a bad note. That is probably why he is voting Democrat. Do consider the facts before harbouring such ill noted racist thoughts Amir Sahib.

  11. faisal says:
    October 20th, 2008 1:13 am

    This is the same guy who made those famous, _mobile_ WMD manufacturing units argument at UN security council, which fell flat on its own face after the Iraq invasion.

    That single speech at the UN destroyed the respect he had garnered internationally.

  12. Riaz Haq says:
    October 20th, 2008 1:18 am

    I admire Colin Powell for his clear statement followed by a reprimand of some of his party colleagues regarding the question and rumors of of Obama’s Muslim heritage. I wish his views were commonly shared among fellow Americans. And I also wish that Obama would say something along the lines of what Powell did in his endorsement. But, unfortunately, the fact is that Obama himself and his campaign have practically treated the Muslim label as if it were an epithet.

    Let’s acknowledge that it is easy for Powell to be “statesman-like” when he has nothing to lose. It is much harder for someone like Obama to do what Powell has just done.

    There is a lot of talk about “Profiles in Courage” in America these days. Some even extol Obama as a Messiah. The reality is that the politicians of all stripes, including Obama, can not stand up to the powerful lobbies in America, right, left or center.

  13. Aamir Ali says:
    October 20th, 2008 1:22 am

    @Brown and Proud

    Well I stand by my view that Colin Powell is endorsing Obama primarily because Obama is black, which is also the main reason African Americans are voting for Obama. If you think African-Americans are voting en bloc for Obama because of his policy stands, you are fooling yourself.

    btw….Pakistanis in the US have almost always voted Republican, with exception of GW Bush 2nd term, because Republicans promise of keeping taxes low, and being more friendly to Pakistan.

  14. mazhar says:
    October 20th, 2008 2:12 am

    Is this all a joke?

    Who all here believe that Kareem Sultan Khan did a noble deed by killing fellow Muslims on behalf of America? Certainly NO possible interpretation of Islam allows this. How can anyone here possibly agree with Powell when we disagree on the basic premises that Kareem Sultan Khan did a noble act? Are we deluding ourselves?

  15. Eidee Man says:
    October 20th, 2008 2:27 am

    First off, the name “Barack” is misspelled again, as it is has been in previous posts on this topic.

    Second, I don’t think anyone doubts the character of Colin Powell; he is an extremely rare figure in politics, probably throughout the world….so much so that even people who are vehemently against the Iraq war and strongly believe that the evidence for it was fabricated are willing to give waive his responsibility (he made the official case to the U.N.). Personally, I think he was given wrong information, but I’m afraid he should have known better; after all, he was a top commander not too long ago.

    Third, I don’t think Obama has the political courage you described. Some of his earliest support came from not African Americans (remember they were actually not voting for him in majority in the earliest primaries) , but from American Muslims. But as his election campaign gained momentum, he hasn’t touched Muslims with a ten-foot pole, and has outrageous things such as bombing Pakistan and making Jerusalem the undivided capital of Israel.

    Now, I know that he is not naive enough to think that; I’d even hope that he has the character to not be so strongly biased. But the fact remains that he feels he needs to make such statements in order to appeal to the mainstream, i.e. the mob. And this will not end on election day, it will continue.

    As far as how Pakistanis would react to someone like him locally, I think you are underestimating our character.

  16. Ahmad says:
    October 20th, 2008 5:29 am

    we should remember that, this is the same guy who played a major role in the iraq war, where thousands of innocent muslims were killed.

    But he does raise a very good question, this question was also in my mind as well, but since i am not an american i never asked it, jews, christians can be americans why cant muslims be.

    lets not forget americans ( as christians ) have killed more people in the history of the earth then any other race.

  17. YLH says:
    October 20th, 2008 7:16 am

    I don’t like the Ingsoc tone (ref: Orwell 1984) of the editorial board of Pakistaniat…

  18. AikPakistani says:
    October 20th, 2008 8:03 am

    I cant see the clip as we dont have access at work. In regards to Pakistan. I couldn’t care less what religion our PM or President was as long as he/she does a good job. I dont agree with the overly Islamic part of our constitution where only a Muslim Male can be President.

    I feel all Pakistanis are equal and should be given equal rights.

  19. Anwar says:
    October 20th, 2008 8:21 am

    He was impressive, statesman like and cordial as well. His reference to a Muslim soldier who gave his life for his country will go a long way against the stereotypical right wing propaganda.
    This also shows the importance of secular pluralism in this intertwined world.

  20. Anwar says:
    October 20th, 2008 8:28 am

    Sorry for double posting – just received an email from a very learned friend that the readers of ATP may find interesting and a bit deflating.

    I am still however impressed by CP’s latest statement and endorsement…

  21. Adil Najam says:
    October 20th, 2008 10:14 am

    Eidee Man, thanks for pointing out the typo in Barack Obama’s spelling… now I realize why the Maula Jatt post comes up in “related post” to each of the Omaba posts I write. I guess you can’t ever take the “baRak” out of a Lahori. My apologies.

  22. Aamer says:
    October 20th, 2008 10:25 am

    Adil, I haven’t had a chance to view the ‘Meet the press’ interview. But I would like to comment on one your statements:

    “What if there was an Obama-like political star in Pakistan today? What if that politician

  23. Waqas says:
    October 20th, 2008 11:03 am

    Adil don

  24. October 20th, 2008 11:05 am

    If Maccaine will be president of America or if Obama,it makes no difference for Pakistan 0r for Muslims,because any on will come he will have to follow the country’s laid down policy based on it’s best interest,as they made policies 100 years prier for imlimentation for next 1oo years.Pakistan ‘s age is only 61 years. As said America became set after 200 years of it’s existance.We should hope and pray our beloved country also set soon and take part on front line of the countries as strong,literate,well diciplined,totally islamic,to do it’s goal for which it was demanded and came on the Map of the world after unprecedental sacrifices.

  25. October 20th, 2008 11:10 am


  26. Aamir Ali says:
    October 20th, 2008 11:26 am

    Mr Powell has been promised a job in the Obama administration. Now you know the true cause of his endorsement : helping out a fellow “brotha”, and a job offer in the next administration.

    However regarding the Muslim soldier Powell mentioned, I find it perfectly legitimate his service to his country. Those who think a Muslim can only fight non-Muslims in the service of a Muslim country are mistaken and believing in a non-practical view.

  27. Ali says:
    October 20th, 2008 11:49 am

    Again, African Americans have been voting democrat since the 40s. That is why they are voting for Obama. Further, in early primaries vs Hillary Clinton, Obama was actually splitting and sometimes losing the African American vote. Finally, Kareem Sultan Khan did nothing wrong by serving his country. He fought the “transgressors,” as the Quran likes to call them, in Iraq. Those who pray on civilians as the insurgents in Iraq did have no place in this world.

  28. Babbu says:
    October 20th, 2008 12:13 pm

    Question: What is the highest political position that a non-muslim (Christian/Hindu/Sikh) has held in Pakistan?

  29. Aamir Ali says:
    October 20th, 2008 12:17 pm


    Alvin Robert Cornelius was Chief Justice of Pakistan from 1960 to 1968, under Ayub Khan.

  30. Naseem says:
    October 20th, 2008 12:57 pm

    @Aamir Ali,

    1968 was a very long time ago and Pak was a very different country then. What is the recent highest post…

    I read that a sikh got a job in Lahore as a traffic warden and was abused out of his position (there was an article about it in Pakistaniat), and him being bullied.

    I have read elsewhere that a non muslim can achieve no position higher than a clerk in an office environment.

    At every step we need to look at ourselves, the corruption and duplicity in our society before complaing about the Amreeki.

  31. Salman says:
    October 20th, 2008 2:11 pm

    This was the best piece of statesmanship I have seen in a long time. It took courage to say what he did and he looked more presidential than either candidate in doing so. I hope this helps him shed the burden of selling the WMD story to the whole world by endorsing someone who was against the war.

  32. Aamer says:
    October 20th, 2008 2:22 pm

    @ Naseem
    I don’t entirely agree with the fact that we need to look at ourselves before complaining about others.
    It is true to very great extent, but in my opinion we should look at ourselves AS WELL AS others, then figure out where the problems lie and work to improve the good points.

  33. Kalsoom says:
    October 20th, 2008 2:42 pm

    Thanks for highlighting Powell’s statement – I find his point very telling, not just of this U.S. election but stereotypes in general, and how audiences can so easily polarize figures in order to make them digestible. Obama is a political figure that challenges traditional depictions of politicians in the United States – he’s not your run-of-the-mill older white man, but he’s a biracial, Christian, younger politician whose middle name happens to be Hussein. He is both black and white. His middle name may be Muslim in root, but he is a Christian. He is fascinating because he challenges our simplistic notions of race, religion, and ethnicity. And for your average voter, that is entirely too difficult to digest – I mean, look at who this country has elected in the past – voters have had problems with even electing Catholics, let alone someone who challenges all stereotypes. No, he’s not a Muslim – but what if he was? Do we have such limited intelligence that we cannot accept that not all Muslims are terrorists? That not all Muslims are Arabs?

    While I also would hope this would not be true in Pakistan, I fear it would be even more likely in a more homogenous society.

  34. Aamir Ali says:
    October 20th, 2008 2:42 pm


    The next highest and latest post then was Rana Bhagwandas, who are a Justice of the Supreme Court uptil 2007.

  35. Immad Sadiq says:
    October 20th, 2008 7:35 pm

    Thank you for posting this clip! As a result of his stand on this issue as evident from his detailed statment, Mr. Powell has earned the right of respect once again in my eyes.

  36. Anwer says:
    October 20th, 2008 7:38 pm

    Appearances can be deceptive at times. Please see “Behind Colin Powell’s Legend — My Lai” at:

    Checking out the results of a Google search for “Colin Powell My Lai” can also be quite illuminating.

  37. Hamilton J. says:
    October 20th, 2008 8:05 pm

    I really urge everyone to see this.

    Here is the news that goes with this:

    “(Oct. 20) – In a confrontation caught on video, three people outside a John McCain presidential rally in Woodbridge, Va., this past weekend handed out “Obama for Change” bumper stickers that featured the Communist hammer and sickle and the Islamic crescent on them.

    One of the anti-Barack Obama protesters told McCain supporters that Islam teaches its followers to “deceive the infidels in order to progress Islam.”
    The man, who chose not to give his name, said Obama “is a socialist with Islamic background.” When pushed to back up his claim, he said, “There’s a lot of background … I can’t do that right now.”

    Several moderate McCain supporters, that included both Muslims and Christians, angrily denounced the group distributing the anti-Obama materials. A man who identified himself as a Muslim McCain delegate from the GOP convention even stepped in and said the campaign doesn’t endorse this kind of message. Under pressure, the protesters eventually left the premises.”

  38. Asghar says:
    October 21st, 2008 7:45 am

    I agree with Anwer. Colin Powell was a soldier during the Vietnam War. It was his unit that was involved in the “My Lai” massacre, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of innocent victims, men, women and children. (Information available on Wikipedia)

    He should also, partly be blamed for the case he made for the Iraq war, which in retrospect makes him look like a fool, no different than the Iraqi information minister.

  39. Ahmad usmani says:
    October 21st, 2008 9:46 am

    There is no denying racism in Pakistan, but Pakistan is a feudal and predominantly tribal culture: despite the excuses given to explain this phenomenon (illiteracy and poverty), even the educated elite continue to exhibit tribal behaviour patterns (Sindhi, Punjabi, Baluchi, Pathan etc etc). The US is a first world nation that has seemingly moved away from this tribal behaviour pattern and it is disturbing to us now post 911 because we suddenly find disturbing evidence that we are now perceived by the majority as a fifth column. However. minorities do get some representation in Pakistan as evidenced by Justice Sidhwa or Justice Rana Bhagwandas.
    My biggest grief with the Pakistan Intellectual Think Tank crowd is they have never given the right answer to the Islamophobia permeating this country. And it takes Colin Powell to give the only right answer to the question of Obama being a muslim. No, he is not a muslim, but what if he was? Is there something wrong with a 11 yr old muslim American boy dreaming that one day he can be president? So my humble request to these intellectual powerhouses born into Pakistani families by some stroke of serendipitous good fortune is when you go to your local media outlets, reaffirm the good generals’ remarks publicly and loudly

  40. Riaz Haq says:
    October 21st, 2008 12:46 pm

    The US and Pakistan are very different in lots of ways. US is a secular, industrialized, pluralistic, western democracy while Pakistan is essentially a feudal-tribal society with strong religious identity and calls itself an “Islamic Republic”.

    In some ways, though, it makes sense to compare US with Pakistan. For example, the feeling of anger, even hatred toward Muslims and a strong desire for revenge ran deep in the US after 911. But its expression was much more restrained than it would have been in Pakistan in a similar situation. In terms of presidential elections, the identity politics is very strong in America, hence the questions about Obama’s faith and race disguised as “culture” and “values”.

    People generally like to vote for someone who they see as more like themselves, be it race, color, religion, ethnicity, tribe, etc. Education does affect their sense of identity and the choices they make and lets them use other criteria besides their own sense of identity. That’s what seems to be happening in America in this presidential election. Educated, middle class whites are flocking to Obama’s camp while the blue-collar, less educated whites are leaning toward McCain.

    Black vote appears to be almost unanimous for Obama, an expression of identity politics. Muslim and Pakistani Americans also seem to be leaning toward Obama in the mistaken belief that he is Muslim or at least sympathetic to Muslims, in spite of evidence to the contrary.

  41. Waqas says:
    October 21st, 2008 2:00 pm
  42. Parwez says:
    October 21st, 2008 3:04 pm

    Bottomline is that Obama despite of being from racial minority and having ‘hussien’ as his last name is on the verge of getting elected and will soon be the President of America.

    If we look around we can see other democracies in our vicinity that have minority religion head of states now and in the past.

    One thing I note with interest is that the minority heads of state (all examples that come to my mind) somehow have been exceptionally competent and beneficial for the state, maybe as a divine reward for public tolerance.

    I cannot recall any non-muslim head for any muslim state in history.

    So all this comparison of Pakistan and USA is a waste of time in my opinion when the facts say otherwise.

  43. Aamir Ali says:
    October 21st, 2008 3:23 pm

    Parwez, I agree that comparison between Pakistan and US are a waste and no even worth having. But I hardly think Obama will become the next Benajmin Disraeli.

    This year the Republican party is so discredited that any Democrat would have won.

  44. ahmad usmani says:
    October 21st, 2008 4:31 pm

    I agree with Parwez that there can be no comparison b/w the US and Pakistan, but we don’t have to look far to see a minority leadership in a majority state. President Abdul Kalaam and Prime minister Manmohan Singh of India come to mind. Sarkozy of France is another example. And I am sure if you google minority leaders one can dig up even more.

    The question should be what can we do to educate the media and the population at large in our adopted country that being a muslim does not equate to being a terrorist? to explain to them that terrorism is a geopolitical problem sparked by dis enfranchisement and fanned by poverty, illiteracy, and vested interests. And to counter a deep seated fascist movement that exists in this country. I hope and pray that our younger generation will continue to be color blind and will continue to integrate in this country, which frankly all of us first generation immigrants (aka financial refugees) have been unable and unwilling to do.

  45. Humanoid says:
    October 21st, 2008 4:49 pm

    Parwez his middle name is Hussien! last name is Obama!

    Adil you raised a good point but its a little too early to assume that he will get the president spot. America still is discussing whether Powell endorsed him just due to the “racial” thing. Ongoing “Joe the plumber” hits might cost Obama something. But the real matter will be in the closed booth where you gonna vote,and as my black and white friends say, it will come to black vs white.
    Its a big thing for a black man to get a democratic nomination. and thats all! comparing that to pakistani politics is different since we dont have racial discriminations, we had shites,sunni,deobands as PM beurocrats even ahmadi officer and foreign ministers. But for america a simple claim of being a muslim disqualifies him by being a candidate. Its in same lines as ahmadis,hindu and sikhs arent allowed to hold office in pakistan. They have questions abt jews and even catholics become one! JFK was the only catholic president america ever got no jew and will never be a muslim!
    Obama, from kenyan father who happened to be muslim, doesnt make him one. his mother and grands are christians and he goes to baptist church, got married there,daughters got baptised there. There is no question he is a muslim,but for america to hit on a black was hard so they attcked via religion! a fact! None of the segregationist white american been called a terrorist,but a black malcom X,MLK L Farrakhan E Mohammed are all???
    I agree with you, that pakistan do not have a charismatic leader like Obama! pak never had it! for a brief period Z A Bhutto was a person who took us back to track after E Pak loss but tht was even short lived!
    Obama will capitalise the economy rest keep ur fingers crossed! hes no secret muslim nor any different from main stream american politician! But him being a candidate and “black race” is a welcome change!

  46. Abdul Hai says:
    October 21st, 2008 9:16 pm

    I am so happy Colin Powell showed statemanship when talking about a 7 year old Muslim boy. I have asked both Obama and McCain campaigns for the last three months about their treatment of Muslims as un-touchables. Both parties ignored and never responded to my emails. Obama campaign is treating American Muslims like the democratic party treats African Americans – gurantted votes because they cannot vote for McCain. On the other hand, McCain thinks he will loose support by even admiting that Muslims do exists and vote. Colin Powell came thru and made my day.

    I doubt that any politician in Pakistan is broad minded enough and the courage to make similar statement about Christians, Ahmadis, Hindus or Jews.

  47. Amin says:
    October 22nd, 2008 1:49 pm

    This op-ed in the New York Times is worth reading:



    Colin Powell had been bugged by many things in his party’s campaign this fall: the insidious merging of rumors that Barack Obama was Muslim with intimations that he was a terrorist sympathizer; the assertion that Sarah Palin was ready to be president; the uniformed sheriff who introduced Governor Palin by sneering about Barack Hussein Obama; the scorn with which Republicans spit out the words “community organizer”; the Republicans’ argument that using taxes to “spread the wealth” was socialist when the purpose of taxes is to spread the wealth; Palin’s insidious notion that small towns in states that went for W. were “the real America.”

    But what sent him over the edge and made him realize he had to speak out was when he opened his New Yorker three weeks ago and saw a picture of a mother pressing her head against the gravestone of her son, a 20-year-old soldier who had been killed in Iraq. On the headstone were engraved his name, Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, his awards

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