In a wide ranging discussion with MSNBC's David Gregory on Sunday, Former Secretary Of State Colin Powell delivered a withering assessment of the Republican Party, labeling it outdated, extreme and racist. Powell was affirming his identity as a Republican but told Gregory that the GOP has some serious soul searching to do. In particular, Powell singled out Sarah Palin for racist language when referring to the President, and questioned why senior members of the party take the 'Birther' movement seriously:
In recent years, there’s been a significant shift to the right and we have seen what that shift has produced, two losing presidential campaigns. I think what the Republican Party needs to do now is take a very hard look at itself and understand that the country has changed. The country is changing demographically. And if the Republican Party does not change along with that demographic, they’re going to be in trouble. And so, when we see that in one more generation, the minorities of America, African-Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Asian Americans will be the majority of the country, you can’t go around saying we don’t want to have a solid immigration policy. We’re going to dismiss the 47 percent. We are going to make it hard for these minorities to vote as they did in the last election. What did that produce? The court struck most of that down and most importantly, it caused people to turn out and stand in line because these Republicans were trying to keep us from voting. There’s also a dark-- a dark vein of intolerance in some parts of the Party. What I do mean by that? I mean by that is they still sort of look down on minorities. How can I evidence that? When I see a former governor say that the president is shuckin’ and jivin’, that’s a racial era slave term. When I see another former governor after the president’s first debate where he didn’t do very well, says that the president was lazy. He didn’t say he was slow, he was tired, he didn’t do well, he said he was lazy. Now, it may not mean anything to most Americans but to those of us who are African-Americans, the second word is shiftless and then there’s a third word that goes along with it Birther, the whole Birther Movement. Why do senior Republican leaders tolerate this kind of discussion within the Party? I think the Party has to take a look at itself.
Of course, senior Republicans are disavowing Powell for betraying the party rather than accepting the hard truths he is telling, and that is why they will be consigned to electoral failure as the country changes and leaves them behind. As Powell reminded Gregory:
I’m a moderate but I’m still a Republican, that’s how I was raised. And until I voted for Mister Obama twice, I had voted for seven straight Republican presidents.
Watch the interview here (it's the first in the line up):