On This Week, Gen. Colin Powell used the Constitution, and the Founding Fathers to illustrate why the tea party is destined to lead the Republican Party to failure in 2012.
Video from ABC News:
POWELL: The tone is not — is not good right now, and our political system here in Washington, particularly up on The Hill — Congress — has become very, very tense in that two sides, Republicans and Democrats, are focusing more and more on their extreme left and extreme right. And we have to come back toward the center in order to compromise.
A story I like to tell is our Founding Fathers were able to sit in Philadelphia and make some of the greatest compromises known to man — tough, tough issues. But they did it. Why? Because they were there to create a country, where we have a Congress now that can’t even pass an appropriation bill, and we’re running this country on a continuing resolution which is — what else are they here for but to pass appropriations bills?
And so we have got to find a way to start coming back together. And let me say this directly. The media has to help us. The media loves this game, where everybody is on the extreme. It makes for great television. It makes for great chatter. It makes for great talk shows all day long with commentators commenting on commentators about the latest little mini-flap up on Capitol Hill.
So what we have to do is sort of take some of the heat out of our political life in terms of the coverage of it, so these folks can get to work quietly.
AMANPOUR: I get your point about heat and light, but what about the fact that, in fact, it is one of the political parties, although — or rather the big political influence, which is the Tea Party, which quotes left and right the Founding Fathers? They say compromise is a dirty word, and they try to point to the Founding Fathers and the Constitution.
POWELL: They compromised — the Founding Fathers compromised on slavery. They had to in order to create a country. They compromised on the composition of the Senate, of the House, of the Supreme Court, of a president — what are the president’s powers? Can you imagine more difficult compromises today?
Compromise is how this country was founded, and unless two people in disagreement with each other don’t find a way to reach out to one another and make compromises, you don’t get a consensus that allows you to move forward.
But the Tea Party point of view of no compromise whatsoever is not a point of view that will eventually produce a presidential candidate who will win.
What Gen. Powell was getting at is that our entire system of government is based on an assumed desire in both the majority and minority for compromise. The Founders built our system of government based on the idea that the majority would work with the minority for the good of the good of the country. This country was built on compromise, and our system of governance functions beautifully when both sides compromise.
When political candidates use the line Washington is broken, it is sort of a catch all anti-incumbent buzz phrase. However, Gen. Powell put his finger on the real reason that our system has stopped functioning. We have a single element within one of the political parties that is saying no compromise. They think they are embodying the vision of the Founders, but the source of their inspiration is a different period in American history.
The tea party has adopted the symbols and images of the Revolution, but in behavior they mirror the Confederates. Their willingness to destroy the very foundation of our government in order to keep their principles and, “way of life” eerily echoes the language that came from many Southerners in Congress in the pre-Civil War period.
Gen. Powell was speaking in realistic terms when he mentioned the bleak 2012 future for the Republican Party if they continue to follow the tea party way. The problem that all anti-incumbent movements face after victory is that they become the incumbents. The same no compromise strategy that got them elected will see them defeated for governing as they campaigned. The American people didn’t vote for no compromise. They voted for change, but it is impossible to bring about change when one party refuses to work with the other.
Powell was correct. If the Republican presidential nominee plays to the tea party and campaigns on no compromise, they will lose. It doesn’t matter who the nominee is, they will lose. Tea Party Republicans have taken the GOP down the path to defeat. Colin Powell sees what every other moderate sees. The Republican Party can’t win the presidency the tea party way.
The Founders would not approve of what the tea party GOP has done to our government and it will likely take the reelection of Barack Obama before Republicans wake up and get their house in order.