richardmcculloch2web.gifIt’s a Sunday morning, just a few hours before the football lover’s fare of NFL games hit the airwaves. On NBC’s Meet the Press, the consummate journalist, Tom Brokaw, has challenged the consummate military man, General Colin Powell, to publicly declare whom he will support in the 2008 presidential election. With a courteous and eloquent preface, the African-American Republican finally says it: “…I’ll be voting for Senator Barack Obama.”

The endorsement of this highly respected American hero, who is willing to cross party lines to support the senator from Illinois in his bid for the White House, is significant. But his reasoning for the decision holds the identity of Obama’s best endorsement.

In Powell’s articulation of the variables that moved Obama to the top of his list, he summarized what many Americans are thinking, and what has shot “Saturday Night Live’s’’ ratings through the roof: the incompetence of Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

In his assessment of Palin, Powell said, “Now that we have had a chance to watch her for some seven weeks, I don’t believe she’s ready to be president of the United States, which is the job of the vice president.  And so that raised some question in my mind as to the judgment that Senator McCain made.”

Powell was being nice.

What at the onset seemed an almost cliché-ridden strategy of selecting an “out-of- the-box,” “breath-of-fresh-air” running mate for McCain has subsequently turned into a campaign blunder of historic proportions, one that may ultimately cost the Republicans the White House.

Lost in the promotion of Palin propaganda is the fact that in her big stage debut at the Republican National Conven-tion, shrouded in her down-home, folksy rhetoric, was a statement
about the virtues of small town America that was actually written by Westbrook Pegler, an avowed anti-Semite and racist. Pegler also wrote about his hopes for civil rights champion
Robert F. Kennedy that, “some white patriot of the Southern tier will splatter his spoonful of brains in public premises before the snow flies.”

Given Palin’s documented frosty relations with her Alaskan constituents of color, quoting Pegler may at least count toward her commitment to consistency.

According to black leaders in our northernmost state, Palin has had an administrative history of dismissing blacks from government posts and ignoring repeated requests to meet with Alaskan black leaders who represent the state’s 4 percent African-American population.

Palin also holds the distinction of being one of the only governors in state history to not attend or send a representative to the oldest and most significant African-American celebration, Juneteenth, which recognizes the freeing of slaves after the Civil War.

Despite Palin’s apparent inability to identify qualified blacks to serve in Alaskan state government, one Palin appointment of note is her former high school classmate, who was elevated to head of the State Division of Agriculture, which Palin defended based on “this real estate’s agent’s childhood love of cows.”

I guess under the Palin plan, any of her friends who once read a book would be qualified to be Secretary of Education.

Anecdotes aside, the numbers speak for themselves. A recent ABC News/Washington Post poll found that 52 percent of voters had less confidence in McCain after choosing Palin as his running mate.

If there is any semblance of sanity in the voting public, Palin parodies on “Saturday Night Live’’ will not be replaced by Palin policies in Washington.

Richard McCulloch •