John Sununu may have pushed the Presidential Campaign toward President Obama when he went on Piers Morgan’s show on CNN and mentioned that Colin Powell, former Secretary of State and war hero, elected to back President Obama because he’s black.
Morgan’s talk with the former Governor of New Hampshire started with Morgan suggesting that Powell should leave the Republican Party – forgetting that there are plenty of Republicans For Obama. This is what happened next:
Sununu: Well, I’m not sure how important that is. I do like the fact that Colin Powell’s boss, George Herbert Walker Bush, has endorsed Mitt Romney all along. And frankly, when you take a look at Colin Powell, you have to wonder whether that’s an endorsement based on issues or whether he’s got a slightly different reason for preferring President Obama.
Morgan: What reason would that be?
Sununu: Well, I think when you have somebody of your own race that you’re proud of being president of the United States, I applaud Colin for standing with him.
With that, John Sununu just gave the election to President Obama. The reason is, he’s pissed off anyone who was undecided and did not want to hear that kind of talk, and people of color (not just African American) who have said that the President has been treated with a high degree of disrespect because he’s black.
Sununu opened that door. Forget that he tried to close the door – it didn’t work. What Sununu has done is classless, terrible, awful, and just plain stupid. Thinking that way points to a set of ideas that are white supremacist. And that kind of talk leads to counters that Sununu represents the KKK. (Not that John does, but he invites that claim.)
Give this time to circulate in social media. It’s not going away.
What John Sununu misses is that Barack Obama is part of what I call ‘The Star Trek Generation’ – he’s the first national politician to directly reflect such a giant demographic in our history. That means Obama easily touches on familiar modern American cultural narratives of higher education, digital competency, diversity, and acceptance of different ideas and views.
Mitt Romney misses all of those cues.