One blogger’s personal bridge to nowhere

Okay, so maybe Powell’s endorsement matters

Well, at least someone who knows a thing or two about electoral politics — and who apparently even had a hunch about those damned Devil Rays before this year even started — thinks that I was wrong, and that Powell’s support for Obama will very well could make a difference news.  Coming from someone who is self-avowedly predisposed “to be skeptical of the value of endorsements in presidential general elections,” this brings additional clout.

With that said, Powell has approval ratings as high as just about any public figure in America. His endorsement was eloquent, unequivocal, and because of his role in the Bush Administration, genuinely newsworthy. Powell’s endorsement might play especially well among the defense and military communities in Northern Virginia, which just so happens to be perhaps the most important swing region in the election.

I understand that Powell commands a good deal of respect from military types, but will this respect translate into more votes?  And how many of this type of voter were still uncommitted anyway?  Will they be pushed to Obama’s side because of this endorsement?  No one can really say, which is part of my skepticism.  More so, though, it is that Powell’s endorsement is coming too late in the game to really be a gamechanger.  The reaction to Obama’s performance at the debates suggest that a preponderance of voters already think that, despite the McCain campaign’s attacks to the contrary, Obama can at least be seen as “ready to lead.”  Nor will Powell really affect the “experience” question; Sarah Palin already beat him to that one.

At the same time, the real point of Silver’s argument is that the Powell endorsement “comes at an opportune time in the news cycle.”  This I can buy more readily — even if it’s too late to change the narrative of the election, it can at least change the focus of the media.  In other words, it’s not so much the announcement itself that is making an impact, but the news of the announcement, which seems to be reverberating pretty strongly.

But then, according to many on the right, Powell probably just endorsed Obama because they’re both black.  So really, the constituency that this will turn out in support of Barack is…black people.


October 20, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. […] Presidential daughters for Obama It is perhaps ironic that the daughter of Richard Nixon, the granddaughter-in-law of Dwight Eisenhower (okay, same person), and the daughter of Barry Goldwater have all endorsed Barack Obama, but I am not willing to grant that it is significant.  This even goes for Caroline Kennedy — minus the irony.  These people are luminaries, because of their names, but I have no inkling whatsoever as to their policy credibility (unlike, say, Colin Powell). […]

    Pingback by Presidential daughters for Obama « Boondoggle | October 23, 2008 | Reply

  2. […] why oh why can’t George Will join Colin Powell and just explicitly announce his formal abandonment the McCain-Palin ticket?  Instead, he […]

    Pingback by George Will sees the end « Boondoggle | October 30, 2008 | Reply

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