The decision is not only symbolic but, in terms of timing, one of great tactical importance. Powell is a brand unto himself in American politics, and clearly transcends the media's tendency to hype endorsements more than their actual importance to voters. However, the indisputable benefit that Powell brings Obama is that the former Secretary of State and general is sure to block out any chance McCain has of winning the next two or three days of news coverage, as the media swoons over the implications of the choice. It is simple political math: McCain has 15 days to close a substantial gap, and he will now lose at least one fifth of his total remaining time.Marc Ambinder:
Powell is a "man who I admire as much as anyone in the world," McCain has said. He was an informal adviser to the campaign early on. And the content of the endorsement acknowledges what McCain's accomplished, studies it, and judges that it is insufficient for the modern world. (Powell is closer to McCain than Obama on Iraq.) McCain would be a maverick, Powell says, but America needs a transformation figure.Andrew Sullivan:
Powell is really taking a stand in defense of decent, inclusive, moderate Republicanism. It's amazing it has taken Powell to say this publicly, to stand up against the Rove machine and say enough. But it is welcome nonetheless. One more thing: Powell's endorsement of Obama is privately echoed by many moderate Republicans across the country and in Washington. It isn't about race. It's about the need to remake conservatism anew, and to restore to fiscal and foreign policy the kind of conservative prudence and restraint of Eisenhower.