One salutary byproduct of the Hillary Clinton email scandal has been its effect on the reputation of Colin Powell — one of the most overrated figures in modern American history. Powell has spent the last 12 or so years trying to live down his status as an apologist for the unpopular Iraq war. He succeeded to some degree by publicly supporting Barack Obama and by accusing the GOP — the party that elevated him — of racism.
Then came the email scandal. Hillary Clinton tried to pin it on Powell. Powell demurred.
Some liberals may forgive Powell for his role in a war they detest. Few will forgive him for refusing to take a fall for Hillary.
It turns out that Powell was largely guilty as charged, though his culpability provides no sound defense for Clinton. He advised her:
What I did was have a personal computer that was hooked up to a private phone line (sounds ancient). So I could communicate with a wide range of friends directly without it going through the State Department servers.
If it is public that you have a BlackBerry and it [is] government and you are using it, government or not, to do business, it may become an official record and subject to the law. . . .
Be very careful. . .I got around it by not saying much and not using systems that captured the data.
In other words, as Shannen Coffin says, Powell “rather blatantly violated federal records laws, knowingly and intentionally.”
Now comes the public release of Powell’s emails hacked by the Russians (it is believed). They show Powell to be a gossip and a hack. In the Washington tradition, he thinks the worst of major public figures that the conventional wisdom will allow.
Thus, Donald Trump is “a national disgrace.” Dick Cheney and his daughter Liz are “idiots.” Hillary Clinton is “greedy.” Bill Clinton is “still dicking bimbos.” Donald Rumsfeld screwed up Iraq. The Benghazi investigation is “a stupid witch hunt.”
Powell is still playing the “racism” card. “The whole birther movement was racist,” he opines, as if the faction of conservatives who questioned where Obama was born wouldn’t have raised the matter against an equally left wing president with the same foreign roots.
The most interesting content in the Powell emails I’ve seen reported on comes, via hearsay, from Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse. He is said to have informed a donor that Hillary Clinton’s health is so bad she “could barely climb the podium steps” during an event they both attended. Here is the email from Jeffrey Leeds to Powell:
Sheldon Whitehouse, who is a huge Clinton supporter, said they were both giving speeches at the same event a few months back and she could barely climb the podium steps.
This may be the only email of potential significance in the batch. Indeed, it may be a bombshell. (I’ll have more to say about this in a post that will appear later today.)
Not surprisingly, Powell didn’t write it.