On a day when Republicans and Democrats will at least attempt to look bipartisan — as they sit side by side during President Obama’s State of the Union speech — there was a reminder about real bipartisanship.
In an interview with CNN’s Candy Crowley on her aptly named show, "State of the Union," Gen. Colin Powell gave independent answer after independent answer. Powell, who has generally said he is a Republican though he endorsed Barack Obama for president in 2008, continues to speak in measured tones.
It was refreshing to listen to Powell speak with Crowley and include the issue of climate change in their discussions. In a time when Republicans essentially won an election disputing the evidence supporting man-made climate change (and when Democrats are running from the issue), Powell casually — and perhaps strategically — discusses the issue.
Crowley asked Powell to talk about America’s improved standing in the world in a post-Bush presidency. “I think that has been proven useful as we see more countries helping us out in places like Afghanistan, where we see people who want to work with us on climate change and other issues, where we see the invigoration of the G20 as a new economic forum in which to do things,” Powell replied. He then added, “So I think, yes, there have been improvements.” Powell did explicitly say that a change of personality in the White House isn’t the only reason, explaining that pro-America supporters did exist during the Bush years.
Later in the interview, Powell brought up the climate issue again. He emphasized the need for America to continue to engage other nations to solve the challenges of the next century. “We all need better economic progress in our countries. Unemployment throughout the world, poverty throughout the world, hunger, disease, climate control — these are no longer just issues that belong to the developed countries, they belong to the whole world.”
Frankly, proactively and factually, Powell laid out the importance of addressing the climate issue. He didn’t fuel the fire with any doomsday scenarios, or anti-science bunk, he just pointed out the challenge as any successful general would. It would be refreshing to hear that sort of rhetoric from any Republican or Democrat, but it’s sad that the only ones who are speaking this way are disinterested in political life.