May 26th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Who would Republicans be better off listening to?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The Republicans making the most noise seem to be attracting the fewest followers. According to a CNN opinion research corporation poll 70% of Americans favor former Secretary of State Colin Powell while 30% favor right-wing talk show host Rush Limbaugh. Let's factor in a previous CNN poll which found 37% of Americans favoring former Vice President Dick Cheney, who has had no loss for words lately. After being virtually silent for eight years he can't, or won't stop talking.


If you narrow it down further and look at the responses of only Republicans, 66% favor Cheney, 64% favor Powell and 62% favor Limbaugh.

At a time when the GOP is trying to rid itself of the legacy of the Bush administration, two former government leaders and a talk show host are the ones making headlines, and two out of three for the wrong reasons.

These three have been butting heads lately. Powell has said Republicans need to stop listening to Limbaugh while Cheney and Limbaugh have proclaimed that Powell is no longer a Republican, which Powell has denied.

Here’s my question to you: Who would Republicans be better off listening to Colin Powell, Rush Limbaugh, or Dick Cheney?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Cheryl from Houston, Texas writes:
Republicans would be better off listening to Colin Powell. However, America would be better off if Republicans listened to Limbaugh and Cheney. It will keep Republicans out of power.

Janne from North Carolina writes:
Colin Powell definitely is the best representative of the Republican Party. Unlike how the media tries to portray us we are not all ultra conservative nuts. Most of us are pretty middle of the road. I proudly believe he is the new face of the Grand Old Party.

Terry from Chandler, Arizona writes:
At 60 years old I'm a life long Republican who is disgusted with the right wing fanatics who have taken control of the party. If the party does not care to listen to Colin Powell they deserve the losses they will receive.

Chris from Buffalo, New York writes:
Well, General Powell has stated that the Republican Party needs to move to the center. In 2008, the Republicans nominated one the most recognizable centrists in the party, Senator McCain. General Powell endorsed his opponent and Senator McCain got creamed in the election. So, common sense tells me that either Limbaugh or Cheney would have to be the ones to listen to.

Gordon from New Jersey writes:
As a one-time Reagan Democrat, I could see myself voting for a fiscally-conservative, secular Republican like Colin Powell, but not for a Cheney/Palin Christian Conservative. I just don't trust politicians who wear their religion on their sleeve.

Will writes:
So the choice is between a decorated veteran, a radio shock jock, and a draft dodging torturer. Man that's a tough one.

Filed under: Colin Powell • Dick Cheney • Rush Limbaugh
soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. Kevin in Dallas, TX

    None of the above. Rush Limbaugh and Dick Cheney are insane. I have nothing against Colin Powell, but it would be better to not rebuild the party around the ideas of a war hero who has no interest in politics.

    May 26, 2009 at 12:59 pm |
  2. don (in naples, florida)

    Rush limbaugh for comedy, Dick Cheney on the Guantanamo ordeal, and Colin Powell on matters of war. As far as the republicans' social agenda they need to move to a middle ground. It's impossible to be pro life if you are in favor of guns, war, and capital punishment.

    May 26, 2009 at 1:03 pm |
  3. Jayne

    As a Democrat, I definitely think they should listen to Cheney and Limbaugh. Every time Cheney opens his mouth the "Grand No Party" loses more members. As for Limbaugh, it's fun watching Republican officials kiss his ring after denouncing him.

    May 26, 2009 at 1:06 pm |
  4. Charles, Lansing, MI

    It would be refreshing for the Republicans to start listening to the people. The people made it clear they didn't want to be led around by special interest groups. The people made it clear we should get out of Iraq. The people made it clear that the economic well being of the nation should not be controlled by the richest 5%.

    May 26, 2009 at 1:06 pm |
  5. Philip Labrie

    I believe republicans should listen to Colin Powell. He has a more "new" and fresh tone. He is a moderate who listens to both sides. The Republican party needs to listen to people like him and Romney.

    May 26, 2009 at 1:15 pm |
  6. Jason, Koloa, HI

    Republicans would best be served by listening to the sound of the water lapping against their boat as they sail offf into history never to be heard from again. If they hurry they may catch up with W. who can't seem to get there soon enoguh.

    May 26, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  7. Willow, Iowa

    Colin Powell and Tom Ridge seem to be the moderates of the Republican party. Unless the GOP goes more toward the middle, I don't think there is any hope for them. The GOP now looks more like the party of Calvin Coolidge.

    May 26, 2009 at 1:20 pm |
  8. Darrell

    Hi Jack,

    Gen. Colin Powell is the only self proclaimed republican in the country who would stand a chance to beat President Obama in 2012, provided Powell wanted to run. If the GOP wants to discard their most popular figure, you won't hear any grumbling from democrats.


    Detroit, MI

    May 26, 2009 at 1:21 pm |
  9. Russ in PA

    Republicans, like the rest of America, would be better served listening to Dr. Ron Paul, a true believer in the Constitution.

    May 26, 2009 at 1:21 pm |
  10. Mike – Denver, CO

    Stacking the deck, Jack? Cheney helped steer us into this mess, Limbaugh IS a mess, which leaves Powell – a man smart enough to know when to leave a sinking ship and strength of character to do what he thinks is best.

    May 26, 2009 at 1:21 pm |
  11. Bruce H.

    The Republican party got to where they are today because of Dick Cheney. If they wish to cease being a marginalized regional party they need to move more towards the center from the extrreme right wing. This means listening to almost anyone other than Rush or the former VP. Being ultra conservative may enable a person to win a primary, but general elections are another matter.

    May 26, 2009 at 1:21 pm |
  12. Billy in Las Vegas

    IF the Republican party ever want's to win an election outside of the "Old South", definately Colin Powell. history has proven that extreamist political parties may rise for awhile in America when there is a crisis BUT they don't last very long.

    May 26, 2009 at 1:25 pm |
  13. dan in Tucson AZ

    Colin Powell is the only level headed one in the group. And is the only one with any level of respect from the American public. so I guess it is a no brainer Jack.

    May 26, 2009 at 1:26 pm |
  14. Alex in Wisconsin

    The Republicans would be better off listening to Colin Powell. But since when have the Republicans done what was best for the long term prosperity of their party and the country? Mr. Cheney lined his pockets at the expense of soldiers and tax payers. Rush Limbaugh is destroying his party while pulling in millions from the radical right. Colin Powell isn't receiving anything but a headache and he has certainly given more to this country than Limbaugh and Cheney.

    May 26, 2009 at 1:26 pm |
  15. sue of minnesota

    Colin Powell. He has nothing to lose. He's not running for any office.

    May 26, 2009 at 1:42 pm |
  16. Tom in Desoto, Tx

    Tossing softballs today Jack. That's an easy one, Colin Powell of course. The Bush regime threw Powell under the bus with the WMD thing at the UN. Cheney was part of those doings. Bush's popularity was in the 20% range when he and Cheney left office, and Dickie is trying to make them look better. Limbaugh's SHOW, he does it for an inflated paycheck.

    May 26, 2009 at 1:50 pm |
  17. Bill in South Jersey

    If they're not willing to listen to the electorate, what's the difference who else they listen to?

    May 26, 2009 at 1:52 pm |
  18. Tom, Avon, Me, The Heart of Democracy

    Senator Olympia Snowe. She makes a habit of being right. Look at her track record and you see that she always puts country first. When George Bush launched the spending spree that put us in this debt, she stood against it. When President Obama proposed a stimulus package to put America back to work, she stood for it. I am a Democrat and will continue to be so until Republicans find a leader who is not a buffoon. In the great State of Maine tradition of Margaret Chase Smith she does what is right and consequences be damned.

    May 26, 2009 at 1:53 pm |
  19. Charlie in Belen, New Mexico

    Despite the damage done to his personal reputation and creditability by the Bush / Cheney administration, I have a much higher opinion of General Powell than of either that fearful little creature Cheney, or that paid propagandist Limbaugh. I, and a large number of former Republicans and independents are much more likely to lisen to the policies of a Colin Powell than those of an ultra right wing fear monger .

    May 26, 2009 at 1:53 pm |
  20. David of Alexandria VA

    Newt or Mitt - maybe both. Hey, that sounds like a ticket!!

    May 26, 2009 at 1:58 pm |

    Colin Powell can call himself a republican if he wants to, but everyone knows what a true republican is, which he is not. I'll continue to listen to Cheney and Limbaugh

    May 26, 2009 at 2:02 pm |
  22. Anne

    This is a no-brainer, Jack. You listen to the only one of the three who has a working brain. That would be Colin Powell.


    May 26, 2009 at 2:08 pm |
  23. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    Of those three choices, it would have to be Powell. He is the only one of the three with any functional brain cells remaining. They should have listened to him more when he was advising against the Iraq adventure......the Republican Party and the country as a whole would be better off today.

    May 26, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  24. Kim in Dodge City, KS

    By all means it should be Rush. That way the Republican Party will never, ever, ever again be in control of this country. Colin Powell is far too intelligent for Republicans to comprehend, and Cheney is the root of all evil.

    May 26, 2009 at 2:14 pm |
  25. Andrea from New York

    They will be better off listening to Colin Powell. At lest he has the intelligence to see that the Republican party needs to be more moderate in order for them to be mpre acceptable to the electorate. Instead of clinging to their holier than thou attitude about other people and their lives and their choice of lifestyle and their personal beliefs.

    May 26, 2009 at 2:25 pm |
  26. Dawn

    Jack, most certainly Colin Powell. He is the most decent of all the Republicans. When he speaks he makes sense.
    Why anyone listens to Rush Limbaugh's rant just boggles my mind. As for Dick Chaney, he needs to go back under the hole where he came from.
    He had his time in Office, and said little during the 8 years his Administration terrozied the world. Now he wants air time.
    Please, it's about time the media ignored him. he looks evil, and just
    sounds angry.

    May 26, 2009 at 2:28 pm |
  27. Marc from Austin, TX

    Dick Cheney of course! He wasn't allowed to speak to the American People for 8 years due to enduring the weight of being Commander in Chief of the War on Oil! Now that we got rid of he and his side kick [BUSHY], he can now defend against the mistakes . . . i mean decisions made over the last 8 years.

    I wonder why Bush is being so quiet though . . .

    May 26, 2009 at 2:40 pm |
  28. Ruth from Easton PA

    Jack, of the three choices you cited, I think Colin Powell comes closest to being the voice of reason. He seems to be someone who can overcome the negativity spewing from virtually all corners of the Republican Party. However, it doesn't seem most Republicans are looking for positivity and reasonable attitudes these days. Which is probably a large part of why Powell voted for Barack Obama.

    May 26, 2009 at 2:44 pm |
  29. Richard - Knoxville TN

    Golly – That's a tough choice - Powel is a Neo-Centrist who believes moderate republicans should be included, so that lets him out (I mean, who'd listen to someone like THAT one??) - So I reckon my vote is that Cheney should be the "Face" of the party & with Limbaugh being its "Voice

    Knoxville TN

    May 26, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  30. Joe in VA

    As one who has voted republican in every presidential election since Goldwater, given the choices presented, I'd choose Colin Powell. It's sad that a man of such high character and credentials, one who served his country proudly and with such distinction, has become a target of the likes of Limbaugh who has never done anything of merit except rant into a microphone. That's why I'm now an independent and will be so until the Republican party comes to its senses again and starts presenting pragmatic solutions instead of putting ideology first.

    Chatham, VA

    May 26, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  31. george

    Just by process of elimination Colin Powell is a shoo-in. Cheney is a war monger, when called to serve a no-show, and a criminal for torturing, where Linbaugh is a big biuffon full of hot air. It amazes me how he stays tethered to the ground instead of just floating away, and please no-one stick a pin in him. Who wants to see anyone take a trip to outer space without a parachute.

    May 26, 2009 at 2:56 pm |
  32. Ryan, Galesburg, IL

    Powell is the most reasonable on your list, but Republicans have been more interested in slogans and jingoism for the last 30 years. Let Rush and Hannity lead their cause, and the rest of us can get on with improving the country.

    May 26, 2009 at 3:00 pm |
  33. Beauregard

    How about none of the above. I know I don't listen to any of them. One is on a radio show and the other two are retired and for obvious reasons. I would come closer to listening to what Dr. Demento had to say on politics then any of those 3.

    May 26, 2009 at 3:08 pm |
  34. Andy in Vancouver, BC

    How about listening to common sense?

    May 26, 2009 at 3:16 pm |
  35. Mike in Albuquerque,NM

    None of the above. Niether of these men hold an elected office in public or in the party. Cheney had his day, Powell had his chance, and Limbaugh has his foot in his mouth. At this time the party leader is Steele. He is the one they should listen to.

    May 26, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  36. Ed

    Powell is only one talking to the American pple. with nothing to gain.but the respect of the Repubs.....they seem to forget he "could" have been Pres..lol...Cheney as always instilling "fear" and Limbaugh in it for the money...and ratings...Ed..CA.

    May 26, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  37. Chris from Buffalo, NY

    Well, general Powell has stated that the Republican party needs to move to the center. In 2008, the republicans nominated one the most recognizable centrists in the party, Senator McCain, and General Powell endoresed his opponent and Senator McCain got creamed in the election. So, common sense tells me that either Limbaugh or Cheney would have to be the ones to listen to.

    May 26, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  38. Paul S. Columbia, SC

    Republicans shouldn't listen to any of them and waste time on those who are without power. They should listen to Obama, Reid, and Pelosi, and then fight for exactly the opposite with every fiber of their being.

    May 26, 2009 at 3:29 pm |
  39. boxer girl in iowa

    if they are the only choices then it should be Colin Powell. he has more intelligence than all the others put together. They really don't get it do they.

    May 26, 2009 at 3:29 pm |
  40. Jeanne

    Maybe they could find someone else who isn't so negative and mean-spirited as the Limbaugh-Chaney-Rove crew. How about Rudy Juliani? Now there is a smart guy who we haven't heard from in awhile. Let him weigh in.

    Jeanne, Freeman, MO

    May 26, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  41. Pugas-AZ

    I don't think we should be listening to any of them. Chaney is living in the past and should retire to a game shooting preserve. Limbaugh should continue talking- to himself in a padded cell. Powell had his chance and should, like old soldiers, just fade away. The Republicans need new blood. Where they will find it, who knows.

    May 26, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  42. Patricia Rohn

    If you want to listen to excuses, listen to Dick Cheney. If you want to waste your time with bombastic narcissism, listen to Rush Limbaugh. If you want sane, clear leadership, listen to Colin Powell. I am neither Democrat or Republican, but if Colin Powell had thrown his hat in the ring, I would have voted for him.

    May 26, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  43. Bill Davis

    Jack, you presume what's left of the Republican party will listen to anyone. I'm afraid the Grand Old Party has been reduced to ideologues firmly entrenched in their own fantasy as to what their party should be. These people only hear what they want to hear. If they had a lick of sense, they'd listen to Colin Powell. Unfortunately, they don't and they won't

    Bill D.
    Champaign, IL

    May 26, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  44. Jean B

    I use to like Colin Powell, but believe he has gone off the deep end. The most honest is Limbaugh (and I'm not nuts about him but he speaks truth).
    Jean B

    May 26, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  45. Terre. San diego

    If they are smart & really want a chance to revamp, then Powell is the one! If not they will continue with the radical right.

    May 26, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  46. Fran, Brimley, MI

    Definitely Colin Powell. He stands for unity, not divisiveness and fear. After eight years of Bush and Cheney’s ineptness, and Limbaugh's outrageous comments Colin Powell is a breath of fresh air for the Republican Party. Constantly attacking and not unifying for the good of the country shows the Republican Party is still, even after defeat, not ready to change!!!! They are still the GOP – Grossly Obnoxious Party!!!!

    May 26, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  47. Susan Frost

    If they want to win elections, the answer is obvious. Colin

    May 26, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  48. Michelle, Philadelphia, PA

    Good question, Jack. My response is this: Who sounds the least crazy? Answer: Colin Powell.

    May 26, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  49. Nancy, Tennessee

    What a choice! The ballot consists of : A former Vice President that orchestrated some of the worse policies the United States has ever seen before. A talk show host that is a lunatic. A man who sat and lied to us and the United Nations about weapons of Mass Destruction that got us into a senseless war that has left 4000 plus soldiers dead and thousands of other wounded. I think, we need to write in an underdog to lead the Republican party. Good thing the election is not tomorrow – we don't know a good underdog.

    May 26, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  50. Susan from Kona, HI

    You mean Larry Moe or Curly? They are all a dieing breed.

    May 26, 2009 at 5:16 pm |