As usual, Colin Powell is the first to say what other prominent Republicans are only thinking: The eloquent endorser of Barack Obama now warns that conservative media linchpin Rush Limbaugh is destroying the movement.
In a CNN interview to air Sunday, Powell first said the GOP should reach out to minorities (WTF??) without using "dogma" (GONE ROGUE!). Then he told Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity (implicitly) and Rush Limbaugh (directly!) to just please stop talking:
I think the party has to stop shouting at the world and at the country. I think that the party has to take a hard look at itself, and I've talked to a number of leaders in recent weeks and they understand that."
"Can we continue to listen to Rush Limbaugh? Is this really the kind of party that we want to be when these kinds of spokespersons seem to appeal to our lesser instincts rather than our better instincts?"
Honestly, the future of the Republican party is easily one of the most interesting topics in politics right now, and not just because (from the sound of things) Colin Powell is positioning himself as one of its key future leaders. The conservative movement is near the end of an epic crack-up, its fiscal conservatives alienated from Wall Street business Republicans over the bail out; social conservatives still bitter over the victory of Barack Obama and trying to hold down growing dissent within their own party over issues like gay marriage and immigration (even the hated outgoing evangelical president is against them on the latter).
Destruction like this is followed by a reformation. While the victorious Democratic Party has its key leaders more firmly in place by the day, the Republicans are searching for new blood and, through that, a new message. Party reformulations like that come maybe once every 15 years; conservatives haven't faced this sort of change since the movement solidified its core principles in the 1950s.