Powell’s antipathy to the GOP’s Reaganite roots has gone beyond the point of reflection. What kind of Republican, after all, preaches that Americans “do want to pay taxes for services” and “are looking for more government in their life, not less”? (The opposite is true: In a nationwide poll last month, 62 percent of respondents said they prefer smaller government and lower taxes; only 28 percent preferred more services and higher taxes.) What kind of Republican calls John McCain “my beloved friend” and acknowledges that he “would be a good president” – then turns around and endorses the most liberal Democrat ever nominated for the White House?
Republicans are in the midst of a debate over how best to rebuild their party, and there are honest differences over what Republicanism means. But there are also limits. Powell may believe that embracing bigger government, higher taxes, and Obama is the formula for success, but most Republicans don’t. Most Democrats, on the other hand, do. If party loyalty asks too much, maybe it’s time for Powell to switch.