Former Vice President Dick Cheney, who’s been making news lately by blasting the Black leadership of the Republican Party, kept the heated barbs flying Sunday, implying to a national TV audience that the former Secretary of State Colin Powell is a traitor to the GOP.
Referring to a recent verbal battle between Powell and radio air-raider Rush Limbaugh, Cheney told CBS’s "Face the Nation" that, "If I had to choose in terms of being a Republican, I'd go with Rush Limbaugh. My take on it was Colin had already left the party. I didn't know he was still a Republican."
Powell, who was the first African American to become chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, under President H.W. Bush, and secretary of State, under President G.W. Bush, has steadily affirmed his affiliation with the Republican Party, despite endorsing Barack Obama for president. He said at the time that he believed that Obama had a better chance of uniting a divided nation than Republican candidate John McCain of Arizona.
Powell, who has said that he is not as far to the right as many Republicans would like, contends that his party should move further to the center and do a better job of reaching out to people of color. And, in a statement that rankled many Repubs last week, he said, "Americans are looking for more government in their life, not less.” He also dismissed the fire-breathing Limbaugh as merely an entertainer and not somebody the Republican Party should follow blindly.
"I think what Rush does as an entertainer diminishes the party and intrudes or inserts into our public life a kind of nastiness that we would be better to do without," Powell said.
Limbaugh was quick to respond, saying, "Colin Powell is just another liberal. What Colin Powell needs to do is close the loop and become a Democrat. … he’s just mad at me because I'm the one person in the country that had the guts to explain his endorsement of Obama. It was purely and solely based on race."
That was the sentiment that Cheney echoed Sunday.
"The suggestion our Democratic friends always make is somehow if you Republicans were just more like Democrats, you'd win elections," Cheney said. "Well, I don't buy that. We win elections when we have good solid conservative principles to run upon."