RUSH: Now, Colin Powell. I’ve been wondering during all of this job loss and all of this expansion of government: Where are Colin Powell and Tom Ridge? You know Colin Powell and Tom Ridge have both said that I’m not any good for the Republican Party, and people are saying, ‘Yeah, we need Colin Powell. He’s the ideal Republican!’
A guy who endorsed and voted for Obama!
I’m saying, ‘Where are these people?’ I mean, I guess by their silence they support what’s going on here. They support every job gained in the last nine years being lost. They support rampant inflation. They support government-run, single-payer health care. They want this cap-and-trade stuff. Because I haven’t heard Powell or Tom Ridge voice any concerns about any of this. The only thing I hear them voicing concerns about is me. Well, Colin Powell has spoken out. They’ve got another interview at CNN and they’re promoting it by releasing portions of it today. He’s going to appear on State of the Union Sunday with the host John King. But to set this up, let’s go back to the 1996 Republican convention in San Diego. Listen to Colin Powell back when he was a Republican.
POWELL 1996: I became a Republican because I believe, like you, that the federal government has become too large and too intrusive in our lives. We can no longer… (applause) We can no longer afford solutions to our problems that result in more entitlements, higher taxes to pay for them, more bureaucracy to run them, and fewer results to show for it. (applause)
RUSH: Yeah! Right on, right on, right on. Now, I happen to still believe that. Colin Powell said last fall that Americans want more government, and they want higher taxes — and I’m accused of being the problem. He’s the one who’s changed, and he has abandoned Republicanism, conservatism. He’s joined hip to hip with Obama — and I am the problem. They gotta get me out of the Republican Party to save the Republican Party? They need to get him back in it to save it? ‘Cause he’s left it. Maybe not officially, but he’s endorsing and voting for Obama. I mean, in ’96 he got standing ovations for that great speech he gave. He defined Reaganism and conservatism pretty well. That’s all gone. So let’s now move forward to this coming Sunday. John King says to Colin Powell, ‘When it comes to spending and the reach and the role of government, has the president met the test laid out by Colin Powell in 1996?’
POWELL 2009: Well, first, let me say, that was a pretty good statement, I thought. And I believe in all those things. But I also believe that we should have a government that works. I don’t like slogans anymore like ‘limited government.’ That’s not the right answer. The right answer is, give me a government that works. Keep it as small as possible. Keep the tax burden on the American people as small as possible, but at the same time, have government that is solving the problems of the people. The people want their problems solved. And very often, it’s government that has to do that. So let’s have good government, effective government, whether you call it limited or not. Now, I think one of the challenges that President Obama has now is that he’s got so many things on the table, and these are issues that the American people find important, health care and so many other issues. But I think one of the cautions that has to be given to the president — and I’ve talked to some of his people about this — is that you can’t have so many things on the table that you can’t absorb it all. And we can’t pay for it all.
RUSH: Now, ladies and gentlemen, there’s one word that describes that sound bite, one word that describes General Powell in that sound bite, and that is ‘incoherent.’ See, John King played for him that portion of the 1996 speech at the convention. We played it last month; we quoted it last month. John King plays it for General Powell to get his reaction. (imitating Powell) ‘Well, first let me say it’s a pretty good statement, I thought, and I believe in all those things. But I also believe we should have a government that works.’ He’s learned well from Obama. ‘I stand by my thing in ’96. That was brilliant what I said in ’96. That was a really great statement. But, but, but…’ There’s always the BUT. ‘On the other hand, we need a government that works.’
Is this one working? Is this a government that is working? When you say in 1996 you don’t want a government that’s become too large and too intrusive in our lives, how do you go from that to people want a government to solve their problems? That’s not what government does. Government doesn’t solve people’s problems. I mean, maybe in a broad context, but problem solving is up to you! It’s up to family, church, community, what have you. Now, government can solve problems that it creates by removing the problems it’s created, unusually by virtue of its size. So he says he’s for limited government in the same bite and then he goes back. ‘I’m for limited government but I’m for a government that works.’ This is incoherent. It depends on where he is speaking as to what he’s going to say. Here’s the next bite. He continued with this.
POWELL: I never would have believed that we would have budgets that are running into the, you know, multi-trillions of dollars — and we are amassing a huge, huge national debt that if we don’t pay for in our lifetime, our kids and grandkids and great-grandchildren will have to pay for it. So I think the president, as he moves forward with these initiatives, has to start really taking a very, very hard look at what the cost of all this is and how much additional bureaucracy — and will it be effective bureaucracy? — be needed to make all this happen.
KING: So it’s early but you’re a little worried?
POWELL: Huh? Yes.
KING: That’s a fair way to put it?
POWELL. Yeah. I’m a little concerned. ‘Concerned’ would be a better word. I’m concerned at the number of programs that are being presented, the bills associated with these programs, and the additional government that will be needed to execute them.
RUSH: You told us this is what the American people wanted! You endorsed this! Everything Obama’s doing he said he was going to do! We have played the sound bites on cap and trade; we’ve played the sound bites on health care; we’ve read the excerpts from his books where he forecasts the reality that is his administration. (imitating Powell) ‘The president needs to be told we can’t pay for all this.’ Gosh! I’ll tell you, folks, if it weren’t so serious, it would be comical — and it’s both, actually. Well, I have to say this, too. Because, remember, the real reason, ladies and gentlemen, that General Powell is taking after me is because shortly after he endorsed Obama, I said, ‘There’s really one reason for this, and that’s race. There can’t be any other reason. He just doesn’t see how it’s possible not to get on the bandwagon with the first black president’s campaign in the history of the country,’ and, of course, that is and was an obvious truth. Only I, the courageous El Rushbo, dared say it — and I caught grief for it, which is par for the course. But that’s why he’s really mad at me.
But I would now say, ladies and gentlemen, we go back and listen to General Powell in ’96, then we listened to him affirm in a sound bite coming up Sunday that, ‘Yeah, that sound bite in ’96 at the convention, I still agree with that,’ and then in the third sound bite we hear him express ‘concern’ over the debt and the spending and the president must realize as he goes forth with his initiatives that — isn’t it obvious that policy had nothing to do with General Powell’s endorsement of Obama? Isn’t it obvious now, in his own words, because now he’s deeply troubled by what’s happened even though he damn well knew it was going to happen! Obama wasn’t hiding any of this. He was hiding it with his rhetoric. But if you listened — if you got the right sound bites, if you read the texts of the right speeches — none of this is a surprise to any of us. This is why we’re so outraged that so many people got fooled by it because it was all out there. So if it wasn’t policy that inspired General Powell’s endorsement of Obama, I ask, what could it be? What could the remaining reason be? And I still say: race.
RUSH: One more thing before we go back to the phones. General Powell was on notice long ago as to where President Obama intended to take the country. I have a Reuters story right here in my formerly nicotine-stained fingers. It is from November 17th of last year, ‘las’year,’ as athletes say. Here it’s ‘last year,’ and the athlete will say las’year. ‘The United States government should not worry about deficits over the next two years while spending money to jump-start the ailing economy, President-elect Barack Obama said in a television interview that aired on Sunday. Obama said consensus had emerged between economists in both major US political parties that expensive measures were necessary to avoid a deep recession. ‘The consensus is this, that we have to do whatever it takes to get this economy moving again, that we have to — we’re going to have to spend money now to stimulate the economy,’ he told the CBS television network’s 60 Minutes news program. ‘And (consensus is) that we shouldn’t worry about the deficit next year or even the year after.”
So, General Powell, shut up and stop worrying about it. General Powell, you were told by Obama last November that a ‘consensus’ of Republican and Democrat economists said don’t worry about the deficits for two years. We have no other way out. We’d avoid the recession. We’d avoid the recession. Yeah, avoid the recession! We’re only making it worse. But my point is, General Powell was on notice long ago that this was going to happen.