Conservatives have begun bashing former Secretary of State Colin Powell over his comments that the Republican party seems to “look down on minorities” and has a “dark vein of intolerance.”
Florida Senator Marco Rubio was the first to counter Powell’s claims, pointing to the two Republican Hispanic Senators (including himself) and one Republican African-American Senator currently serving as proof. He neglected to mention that that sole African-American Senator, Tim Scott, used to be the party’s only African-American Congressman, and his appointment leave them with no black members of Congress.
Bill O’Reilly and Brit Hume slammed Powell’s comments on Monday as well. O’Reilly kicked off a segment of his show by questioning Powell’s party affiliation, even though he clearly affirmed during his Sunday Meet the Press appearance that he still considers himself a Republican. Hume argued that calling President Obama lazy, which Powell took issue with, “need not be considered a racial comment.”
He also tried to argue that Powell’s success within the Republican ranks proves that the party isn’t racist. “I think the case that he makes is weak, and it is an odd thing for a man who declares himself to be a Republican—and has done so well under Republican presidents—to say.”
Former aide to George W. Bush, Brad Blakeman simply rejected Powell’s premise entirely without any argument. “I reject it,” he said Monday on a Fox News panel. “If our party was like that, why would you consistently call yourself a Republican?”
Blakeman turned the issue back on Powell, asking what he has “done to change it?”
Laura Ingraham tried to turn the issue away from Republicans entirely. “Liberalism has been an utter disaster for black America,” she said. “The weapon of mass destruction has been found. The Democrats found it. It’s Colin Powell. He’s blowing up on Republicans.”
Another Fox panel went so far as to suggest Powell might be unhinged for his comments.
What conservatives still haven’t done, is directly address the myriad of racially-charged lines we’ve seen from Republicans of all stripes. Beyond Sarah Palin’s “shuck and jive” and John Sununu’s “lazy” comments, many other Republicans have made questionable statements. From the Republican primary we saw Rick Santorum refer to “blah people” and Newt Gingrich call Obama “the food stamp president.” Even Mitt Romney nearly stepped over the line when he joked that no one had ever asked to see his birth certificate.
Regardless of what conservatives believe about the matter, minorities clearly do not feel well aligned with the Republican party. African American voters choose Obama over Romney at the ballot box by a nearly 80-point margin, and Latino voters did split for the president by a 44-point margin.