A very weird thing happened when Colin Powell announced a couple of weeks ago that he would not be speaking at -- or even attending -- this year's Republican convention. The explanation that he and a few spokesmen offered, dutifully parroted by the press, was that, by tradition, cabinet secretaries do not attend party conventions. Powell explained that as such an official, “I am obliged not to participate in any way, shape, fashion, or form in parochial, political debates.” Robin Wright of The Washington Post informed readers that “in keeping with tradition, Cabinet officials do not speak at the conventions. … So Powell will not appear.”
It's perilously close to conventional wisdom in the media that al-Qaeda wants John Kerry to win the November election. In the next 10 weeks, get ready for a concerted effort by the right to fix that notion in place.
The meme originated, unsurprisingly, with the usual right-wing suspects. Rush Limbaugh kicked things off right after the election-eve terrorist bombings in Spain, asserting on March 15 that terrorists “want Kerry, they want the Democrats in power. They'd love that -- I mean, based simply on what they're saying and how they're reacting to what happened in Spain.”
Last week's Colorado primary determined the contenders in the race to fill the seat of retiring Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell: state Attorney General Ken Salazar, a polished, moderate Democrat who twice won statewide elections in very inhospitable political terrain, and Pete Coors, a political neophyte whose family just happens to be the legendary founding benefactor of the modern American right.