Whatever happened to the concept of loyalty?

I grew up in a world where people took care of those who took care of them. That must be a bygone era.

Governor Bill Richardson exemplified a rat’s rat when he turned on the Clintons to back Barack Obama, sucking up for a vice presidency. Richardson would still be a nobody had it not been for Bill Clinton elevating him to two cabinet posts during his administration.

Enter, the former Secretary of State. For years, Colin Powell has been among the most revered public figures in America, once envisioned by millions, possibly, as the first African American president. Many thought he would be chosen as John McCain’s running mate. After all, he had been a staunch ally of Senator McCain for twenty years, as was McCain to him.

Instead, he stuck it to McCain.

Here is a man whose rise to national prominence was at the behest of republicans like Ronald Reagan, George Bush I, George Bush II and John McCain. First black National Security Advisor. First black four star general of the U.S. army. First black Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of staff. First black Secretary of State. All on the coattails of republicans who saw greatness in this man. John McCain was there supporting him all the way.

Instead, he not only stuck it to McCain, he stuck it to the republican party.

Colin Powell shares nothing in common with Barack Obama, and everything in common with McCain, including a long and distinguished military career and later, many years of public service. He and McCain have been stalwarts of republican party moderation, often separating themselves from the far right dogma. They stood shoulder to shoulder in the successes of Gulf War I, and then the War in Afghanistan and the most controversial of all; the War in Iraq. They have shared a common bond, similar views, similar careers and mutual respect.

Who would have guessed? When the chips were down, in a colossal act of betrayal, Powell turned his back on everyone who catapulted him to prominence over the last twenty years, including John McCain, by backing Obama for president. Obama’s politics are an ocean apart from moderate republicanism. He is also the most liberal left-wing of all one hundred senators in Washington D.C. He never served in the military; never supported Powell in his career, does not share the same ideology and has no record from which to draw any parallel. It makes no sense.

Powell has forever personified the erosion of the color line in America, drawing admiration from all sides of the spectrum, not because of color but because of his accomplishments. All of America has loved Colin Powell.

Not any more. All that respect and admiration for Colin Powell just took a major dump among millions, not just because he disappointed supporters of McCain, but because nobody loves a backstabber, no matter what party he or she belongs to.

Why did he do it? Platitudes like “new direction,” and “transformational figure” and citing McCain’s pick for vice president, doesn’t cut it. I might buy into the Judas-like betrayal had Powell identified one political issue he agrees with, or one accomplishment of Obama’s that he alined himself with. But that didn’t happen.

When all is said and done, and the dust settles, that one reason becomes crystal clear. I know what that reason is, and so do most Americans.

McCain and Powell have much in common… except one thing.

Obama and Powell have nothing in common…except one thing.