Washington Babylon — October 21, 2008, 8:42 am

Endorsement Fever: This is good news?

Colin Powell and Ken Adelman have endorsed Obama, and that’s supposed to be reassuring? Normally I’d take an endorsement by one of those guys and run in the other direction.

Powell now apologizes for his 2002 speech to the UN claiming indisputable proof that Saddam Hussein had WMDs, but it was quite a doozy of a screw-up. His endorsement of the evidence helped delegitimize opposition to the war as a fringe, dangerous opinion. (“The evidence he presented to the United Nations—some of it circumstantial, some of it absolutely bone-chilling in its detail—had to prove to anyone that Iraq not only hasn’t accounted for its weapons of mass destruction but without a doubt still retains them,” the Washington Post‘s Richard Cohen wrote at the time. “Only a fool—or, possibly, a Frenchman—could conclude otherwise.”)

In 2002 Adelman famously predicted “a cakewalk” victory in Iraq. He derided war critics as “chicken littles” for raising the possibility that things might not go as smoothly as he and his fellow-hawks had predicted.

McCain’s foreign policy crew has quite a few cranks (William Kristol, to state the most obvious) and his policies are generally scarier than Obama’s. Agreed. But having Powell and Adelman sign up with the Obama movement is about as uplifting as when Obama endorsed ballistic missile defense (the scaled down version of Star Wars) during the second debate. It’s conservatives who should be cheering.

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I first heard the name Barack Obama in the spring of 2004, while visiting my mother in Chicago. As we sat around the kitchen table early one spring morning, I noticed a handsome studio portrait among the pictures, lists, cards, and other totems of family life fastened to the refrigerator door. “Who’s the guy with the ears?” I asked, assuming he was some distant relative or family friend I didn’t know or else had forgotten. “Barack Obama,” she answered with a broad smile. “He’s running for Senate, but he’s going to be the first black president.”

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I first heard the name Barack Obama in the spring of 2004, while visiting my mother in Chicago. As we sat around the kitchen table early one spring morning, I noticed a handsome studio portrait among the pictures, lists, cards, and other totems of family life fastened to the refrigerator door. “Who’s the guy with the ears?” I asked, assuming he was some distant relative or family friend I didn’t know or else had forgotten. “Barack Obama,” she answered with a broad smile. “He’s running for Senate, but he’s going to be the first black president.”

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I first heard the name Barack Obama in the spring of 2004, while visiting my mother in Chicago. As we sat around the kitchen table early one spring morning, I noticed a handsome studio portrait among the pictures, lists, cards, and other totems of family life fastened to the refrigerator door. “Who’s the guy with the ears?” I asked, assuming he was some distant relative or family friend I didn’t know or else had forgotten. “Barack Obama,” she answered with a broad smile. “He’s running for Senate, but he’s going to be the first black president.”

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I first heard the name Barack Obama in the spring of 2004, while visiting my mother in Chicago. As we sat around the kitchen table early one spring morning, I noticed a handsome studio portrait among the pictures, lists, cards, and other totems of family life fastened to the refrigerator door. “Who’s the guy with the ears?” I asked, assuming he was some distant relative or family friend I didn’t know or else had forgotten. “Barack Obama,” she answered with a broad smile. “He’s running for Senate, but he’s going to be the first black president.”

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