Colin Powell's truths

In spite of all this, it is Powell to whom Republicans should be listening. A party more focused on excommunication than proselytization is in trouble. And Powell is calling attention to some unavoidable truths.

First, it is a myth that a single, conservative message can win everywhere in America. There is no “pure” ideological approach, liberal or conservative, that can consistently carry both Alabama and Oregon. Even at the height of the Reagan Revolution, the Republican Senate included moderate and liberal voices such as Mark Hatfield and Robert Packwood of Oregon, Charles Mathias of Maryland, Robert Stafford of Vermont and Charles Percy of Illinois. A political party that appeals across a diverse, continental nation will be a diverse, ideological coalition.

Second, Powell is correct that the next successful Republican leader must include an element of nontraditional appeal. Powell cites as his ideal the recently deceased Jack Kemp, who “was as conservative as anybody” but who “believed in inclusiveness, reaching out” to minorities and the poor.