Yglesias

The Powell Gambit

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200px-Colin_Powell_official_Secretary_of_State_photo.jpg

It’s hard to know what to make of the new that Hillary Clinton is telling people she’d like to appoint Colin Powell to do something or other related to improving America’s standing in the world. Powell’s obviously a knowledgeable, experienced guy and I suppose it would make sense for a new President to talk to him and get his perspective on things. Maybe even send the message that it’s not just Democrats who think the country’s taken a totally messed-up course over the past few years.

But then again, if Clinton’s looking to assuage people’s doubts about her foreign policy judgment, this seems like a terrible way to do it. A lot of Clinton’s pro-invasion advisors are too obscure for most people to recognize. But Powell was the public face of the Iraq sales pitch. He’s also a man who did have enough independence from his commander-in-chief to undermine her husbands efforts to bring gay equality to the military when Bull Clinton was president and Powell was in uniform. But as Secretary of State he raised some skeptical questions about the war, heard some answers, and then not only hopped on the bandwagon, but used his leverage as someone with a reputation for skepticism to make the sales pitch all the more effective.