Powell: Tea Party POTUS candidate "can't win"

Colin Powell isn’t done with his involvement in American politics and policy, a point he made clear once again on the Sunday morning talk circuit this week. Fresh off the Thanksgiving holiday, he sat down with Christiane Amanpour on ABC’s This Week to discuss, among other things, the upcoming election and where we stand with the GOP slate of candidates. (I will, at this time, defer my repeated requests that Jake Tapper be brought back to host the show.) His comments were not exactly those of someone seeking the nomination.

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Former Bush administration Secretary of State Colin Powell on Sunday dismissed chances for a Tea Party candidate to win the presidential election, criticizing the hard-line stance taken by the majority of the grassroots movement and advocated by their favored political candidates.

“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,” he said on ABC’s “This Week With Christiane Amanpour.”

Powell said taking the no-compromise position isn’t helping get things done in Washington, and called on members of Congress to “come back to the center to compromise” in order to see progress.

“Compromise is how this country was founded,” he said, offering as an example the issue of slavery. “Can you imagine more difficult compromises today?” he asked. “We have a Congress now that can’t even pass an appropriations bill.”

Colin Powell served his country with distinction, as a four star general, National Security Advisor and Secretary of State under George W. Bush. In his early post-military career there was even extensive talk of his running for president himself on the GOP ticket. Since then, however, his position has been far more moderate – to say the least – than a primary voting audience would likely approve of. That was exacerbated by his endorsement of Barack Obama in 2008.

Since then he has been seen as something of a statesman in no man’s land, and the position he is currently taking won’t change that. Powell is hardly a liberal by any stretch of the imagination, but he’s also never been a particularly good fit with much of the base, to say nothing of the Tea Party, so his endorsement in the presidential primary won’t be particularly prized by the current crop of candidates.

Powell does, however, maintain a lot of credibility in foreign policy and military matters, so expect him to remain a regular fixture in campaign coverage. And that’s not a bad thing, since we’re still dealing with military engagements in which he had a direct hand. What weight that brings to the primary fight is left to the observer.