The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Thursday, February 26, 2004

Don't cry for Powell...

Slate's hed combines the colonic [1] with the melodramatic:
The Tragedy of Colin Powell: How the Bush presidency destroyed him

The article (February 19) tells the sad but familiar tale. But doesn't really explore the question, What did he expect?

Surely, knowing the rest of the top Administration foreign policy line-up [2], he expected to be resident fall-guy.

I'm no expert; but I'm fairly sure that there are plenty of examples in post-war history where presidents have chosen men as Secretary of State whom they proceeded to sideline - for instance, under Richard Nixon (with Henry Kissinger as National Security Advisor), William Rogers wasn't exactly Go To Guy #1.

The piece talks about Powell as a good soldier. He was canny enough to nix any thought of standing for the presidency for 2000; he's been knocking around the upper echelons of USG for long enough to have known how things were likely to pan out.

Perhaps folks have gone beyond the necessities of business and been unnecessarily insulting or vindictive. Perhaps he over-estimated his powers of endurance [3].

Like many Secretaries of State before him, Powell likely will serve only one term. He exercised the influence over USG strategy that he could have expected to have (ie, not much). He chalked up another big job, and a bunch of air miles.

Tragedy seems completely over the top.

  1. It's title and subtitle; but functionally colonic.

  2. If he did: I suspect the chronology is more or less on the record somewhere.

  3. The bawling-out of the House staffer that the Slate piece starts with seems exceptional. We all have bad days.

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