Yesterday, Colin Powell announced his endorsement of Barack Obama for a second term as President. Powell said he agreed with Obama's direction and plan for the nation, and criticized Romney's tax plan and foreign policy, which Powell called a "moving target."
Of course, Republicans are not too happy that one of their most well-known minority celebreties appears to be breaking with tradition and calling things how he sees it. It's worth noting the Powell voted for Obama in 2008 as well, so he is being consistent, just not in the way the GOP wants him to be.
But despite Powell's clearly stated reasons for supporting Obama, that didn't stop prominent Republicans from drawing their own conclusions. John Sununu, who is a strong advocate for Romney, was the first to suggest that Powell's decision was race related. This is the same suggestion that was made in 2008 by Rush Limbaugh when Colin Powell threw his weight behind Obama. Of course, there is no evidence of this, Powell doesn't mention it, and it's a bit condescending and racially charged. Why make this remark?
Sununu released a statement after the fact, clarifying the context of the remark, but even those comments did nothing to change the fact that he alluded to Powell making a political decision based on race, which Powell himself does not admit to.
This is the equivalent of saying that whites are more likely to vote for a white candidate due to race, which seems to suggest racist overtones to me. While Sununu can say that his intention was merely to remark on a possible reason for Powell's endorsement, even this makes no sense since Powell himself provides plenty of reason for backing the President.
This has become the year of the demographics. Paul Ryan has been skewered, again, for being two-faced towards the poor. Now we have questions about whether race is driving the decision of certain voters and prominent political figures. It strikes me, though, that this kind of thing has become a way of attacking people's personal choices by marginalizing their reasons. If it can be reduced to some kind of self-serving decision, then it makes that decision seem less valid. By painting Colin Powell's decision as being racially motivated, it changes how that decision looks. It's no longer about Powell's stated reasons for support, it's about race.
And the natural response by the Right will be, from my view, the attack Powell for making a race-based decision. They will likely say that such a decision should not be influenced by skin color. And this is a point we all agree on. Let's stop looking at the color of skin and start making decisions based on content of character. Like Colin Powell.