Former Secretary of State Colin Powell still carries some gravitas, and he definitely shifted some independent and Republican minds when he endorsed Barack Obama in 2008 for President.
But Powell says he's not willing to commit to doing so again for 2012, giving him the ability to basically become a respected political pundit who occasionally opines on one of the Sunday morning public affairs programs, as he did yesterday, where he was the lead guest by CNN's Candy Crowley on her show State of the Union. Powell was asked about Congressional Republicans talking tough about cutting spending, which Powell has previously spoken critically about. The Retired General told Crowley that despite what some Republicans say, defense should absolutely be on the proverbial chopping block table:
CROWLEY: Where would you with specificity say, look, we don't need a bigger military and we cut there.
POWELL: Yeah. I think we have to look at everything, both domestic and our international accounts. As we draw down from Iraq and as over the next several years as we draw down from Afghanistan, I see no reason why the military shouldn't be looked at.
When the Cold War ended 20 years ago, when I was chairman and Mr. Cheney was secretary of Defense, we cut the defense budget by 25 percent. And we reduced the force by 500,000 active duty soldiers, so it can be done. Now, how fast you can do it and what you have to cut out remains to be seen, but I don't think the defense budget can be made, you know, sacrosanct and it can't be touched.
But the real money in the entitlements, it's Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid. And unless we do something about those, you can't balance the budget. You can't fix the deficit or the national debt by killing NPR or National Endowment for the Humanities or the Arts. Nice political chatter, but that doesn't do it. And I'm very put off when people just say let's go back and freeze to the level two years ago.
Don't tell me you're going to freeze to a level. That usually is a very inefficient way of doing it. Tell me what you're going to cut, and nobody up there yet is being very, very candid about what they are going to cut to fix this problem.