But at the risk of sounding like Rush Limbaugh or Ann Coulter, it's difficult to see Gen. Powell's endorsement of Sen. Obama as motivated by anything other than race. Limbaugh is bombastic, self-absorbed and sometimes offensive; that doesn't mean he's always wrong. As El Rushbo noted, you'd be hard-pressed to find an equally liberal, equally unqualified and equally inexperienced white candidate that Powell has endorsed at any level.
Powell spent much of his time assailing Team Maverick. He took aim at Gov. Palin's inexperience (that's fine). He criticized McCain for making Bill Ayers an issue this late in the game (that's fine too). But he also tried to draw a distinction between the two sides, and made McCain's campaign out to be the one poisoning the race with its negativity. Obama, he implied, has been squeaky clean.
As a McCain supporter, I readily admit that not every charge from the Senior Senator and his surrogates has been above-board. Not every ad has been entirely truthful; the campaign has grown increasingly hostile; and various rednecks at McCain events have verbalized their abject hatred for the Changemaker. I've been disappointed at many aspects of how the McCain team has run this race.
However, Obama has run an equally negative, divisive campaign. Over the summer, he claimed McCain was "losing his bearings." The self-styled post-racial candidate played the race card multiple times against both Sens. McCain and Clinton. He's distorted McCain's record. He's aired more negative ads. He has shown himself to be two-faced, going back on his promise to accept public financing and abide by the limits that go along with it. And quite simply, he's running as something he's not -- a sort of post-partisan healer. Gen. Powell, like Keith Olbermann, Jonathan Alter, Joe Klein and millions of others, are seemingly so captivated by the man's rhetoric that they haven't bothered to pay attention to his actions.
That said, Powell's endorsement -- like the support of the Chairman's boy Sen. Webb and other highly regarded military men -- further validates the Hopemonger's credentials to voters still wary of an Obama presidency.