From The New York Times:
WASHINGTON — Colin L. Powell challenged Dick Cheney on the legacy of the Bush administration and the future of the Republican Party on Sunday, declaring that Republicans should not bow to “diktats that come from the right wing.”
The remarks by Mr. Powell, a former secretary of state, amounted to a public rebuttal of Mr. Cheney, the former vice president, and Rush Limbaugh, the conservative radio commentator, who have questioned Mr. Powell’s Republican credentials and suggested that he should leave the party.
“Rush will not get his wish,” Mr. Powell said Sunday on “Face the Nation” on CBS. “And Mr. Cheney was misinformed. I am still a Republican.”
Oh those crazy Rethuglican scamps!
Mr. Powell’s appearance underlined an extraordinary public struggle among Republicans over the future of the party and the legacy of the Bush administration, particularly on national security. Mr. Powell broke with Mr. Cheney on the prison camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, saying that he agreed with President Obama that it should be closed and that Mr. Cheney disagreed as much with his former boss as with Mr. Obama.
“Mr. Cheney is not only disagreeing with President Obama’s policy,” Mr. Powell said. “He’s disagreeing with President Bush’s policy. President Bush stated repeatedly to international audiences and to the country that he wanted to close Guantánamo. The problem he had was he couldn’t get all the pieces together.”
In another indication of Republican discord, Tom Ridge, who was a secretary of homeland security for Mr. Bush, said on CNN that he disagreed with Mr. Cheney that the nation was less safe because of Mr. Obama’s national security policies. He, too, supports the closing of Guantánamo. The comments from Mr. Powell and Mr. Ridge come as Republican Congressional leaders are pushing to capitalize on concerns about national security and housing terrorism detainees from Guantánamo in local prisons.
But Karl Rove, who was Mr. Bush’s senior political adviser, saluted Mr. Cheney for leading the fight in challenging Mr. Obama, saying he was doing what other Republicans were not. “The vice president feels very strongly that the administration has mischaracterized and distorted the Bush administration’s record,” he said in an interview.
Liz Cheney, a Republican strategist and Mr. Cheney’s daughter, said, “This isn’t complicated.”
“Conservatism is conservatism,” Ms. Cheney said. “Republicans have led the nation to greatness when they’ve been true to fundamental principles, such as a strong national defense, limited government and low taxes. None of those are things President Obama believes in.”
On Sunday, Mr. Powell called for an “after-action review” by Republicans of why the party had fared so poorly in the November elections, and what the party needed to do going forward.
He made clear that he thought a major threat to the party were suggestions by Republicans like Mr. Cheney and Mr. Limbaugh that there was no room for Republicans like Mr. Powell.
The recent exchanges underscored the turmoil in the party as it tries to assess the losses last year and judge the extent to which it needs to disassociate itself with the policies of Mr. Bush. Mr. Powell’s call for expanding the party was embraced by Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker and a leading conservative in the party, who said Republicans would be doomed to minority status if they adopted a small-tent view.
Still, other Republicans said that while they agreed with Mr. Powell’s argument that the road to success was not in pushing people out of the party, there were clear signs of animosity toward him.
“There are a lot of Republicans and conservatives who are frustrated with Colin Powell because of his endorsement of President Obama,” said Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Republican of Minnesota.
Oh no! Little Timmy is frustrated!
And Mr. Rove said that while he thought Mr. Powell’s views were welcome in the party — “If you want to describe a vision for the Republican Party, you are welcome to do that” — he suggested that Mr. Powell, a former Army general who served as secretary of state under Mr. Bush from 2001 to 2005 and who was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under the first President Bush, had not gone the next step in finding candidates and helping to put the party back into power.