Colin Powell: I belong to the Republican Party that's "waiting to emerge"

Reminds me of when Democrats talk longingly about their love for the America That Will Be once the entire progressive agenda is enacted, in contrast to the poor imitation of America that we have now.

I don’t know what just made me think of that.

“Rush Limbaugh says, ‘Get out of the Republican Party.’ Dick Cheney says, ‘He’s already out.’ I may be out of their version of the Republican Party, but there’s another version of the Republican Party waiting to emerge once again,” Powell told the crowd.

No word on what this emerging version will look like, but presumably a key tenet will be that “Americans are looking for more government in their life, not less.” And how long will he have to wait? If Jon Huntsman’s any indicator, a bit longer than three years:

During our conversations last month in Utah, Huntsman had already begun to realize that perhaps the Republican Party was not ready for him. “You cannot have a successful party based upon a very narrow band, demographically,” he tells me. “You’ve gotta broaden it to include more young people, more people of color, more people who are urban-dwellers, more who are the intelligentsia in America, many who have jettisoned the party. … And that’s ultimately I think how it’s going to play out. We’re just not there yet.” Two years was probably not enough time for the party to change. “He realized he’d just be beating his head against the wall with these guys, which made him open to the phone call [from Obama],” says another source close to Huntsman. “If he thought he had a real chance to be the standard-bearer and savior of the party, obviously he would have said no.”

At least one GOP kingmaker thinks Romney’s the answer in 2012, which brings to mind a famous quote from Gertrude Stein. Exit question: Isn’t most of the sturm und drang over how centrist the party should be a luxury of being out of power? If public anger mounts over spending and the backlash sends a wave of Republicans to Congress next year, the responsibility of wielding some measure of power again is going to paper a lot (although not all) of these differences, just as it did when a coalition of hawks, social cons, and fiscal conservatives coexisted relatively happily for the past 15 years. We can’t fight the Democrats right now so we fight with each other. We can fight them again, we will.