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Colin Powell is a still a Republican. The man who served President Reagan and both Bushes refuses to leave the party that once prayed for him to run for its presidential nomination.

But he also refuses to to remain silent while he sees the Party of Lincoln run rampant with hostility toward everyone but straight white males.

“There’s also a dark vein of intolerance in some parts of the party,” Powell said on NBC’s Meet the Press. When asked to explain, he said, “What I mean by that is they still sort of look down on minorities.”

Powell cited specific examples of Republican policies designed to prevent African-Americans from voting, the birthers, and Sarah Palin and John Sununu’s racially provocative language.

Demetrius Minor posted a rebuttal to Powell on the FreedomWorks blog that acknowledged that “the GOP must re-evaluate its approach and methods of messaging to minority communities.” But Minor then went on to use Powell’s appointment by Bush and the existence of one Democrat who questioned President Obama’s birth certificate as proof that Powell was being unfair. He even defended Palin’s use of “shuck and jive,” accusing the four-star general of “uber sensitivity.”

After saying that Powell’s voting for Obama twice basically invalidates the former Secretary of State’s position, Minor suggests Powell “actively involve himself in transforming the GOP.”

But the problem with the GOP is that no top Republicans are willing to call out the GOP’s intolerance. Powell is trying to help the GOP see what most everyone but diehard right-wingers see. And when it gets pointed out that the Republican Party is losing support from every group but married white males, often Republicans insult the groups they’ve alienated even more by suggesting they only vote Democrat because they’ve been promised “gifts.”

In case Republicans need more explanation, here are five clear examples of the intolerance teeming through parts of America’s right wing.

Photo credit: jdlasica via Flickr.com

Witchdoctor/Re-Nig

Whether it’s a t-shirt depicting President Obama as a witch-doctor being so popular at a recent Tea Party convention that the wearer considers taking orders, or a bumpersticker that says “Don’t Re-nig,” parts of the Republican base seem fixated on President Obama’s race. Republicans often explain this away by saying that this is a small fringe. But it’s a such a small fringe, why are there so many examples of blatant racism? And why are Republican leaders generally unwilling to condemn them?

Photo: Palmetto Public Record

DOMA

America is broke, Republicans say over and over again, except when it comes to finding money to prevent same-sex couples from enjoying the benefits of marriage. The Defense of Marriage Act has been ruled unconstitutional by two federal judges and will be reviewed by the Supreme Court in this current session. The president’s administration has refused to defend this law, a relic of outdated public opinion about gays and lesbians. Now the House GOP — which is prepared to shut down our government to get us to spend less — is prepared to spend $3,000,000 to defend the antiquated law, which tramples on what Republicans usually call “states’ rights,” according to a contract obtained by The Huffington Post.

Photo credit: AP Photo/Rachel La Corte

14th Amendment

Two words for anyone who says there isn’t a dark vein of intolerance in the Republican Party: Steve King. The congressman from Iowa has compared immigrants to dogs — in a good way, he says — and started off this year’s session of Congress by reintroducing a law that would ban so-called “anchor babies” to prevent immigrants from giving birth to children eligible for citizenship. If you don’t know that proposing an unconstitutional law designed solely to alienate Latino voters suggests that you look down on minorities, call Colin Powell and maybe he’ll explain it to you.

Birtherism

We’ve had exactly one black president and one debate about a president’s citizenship. Anyone who suggests there’s anything behind the completely discredited accusations of the birthers other than racism or xenophobia is lying or delusional. Yet the Republican nominee for president, Mitt Romney, stood onstage to accept the endorsement of a clown whose only contribution to the political discourse was questioning the president’s citizenship.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore

War On Voting

You’ve heard about the Republican War on Voting and the GOP’s constant rebuttal: “You have to show your ID to get Sudafed. Why not to vote?” Because there isn’t a history more than a century long of African-Americans being denied the right to buy Sudafed. President Obama would not have been able to vote for himself in much of this country when he was born. The idea that voting needs to be made more difficult is so repugnant to Americans who had to struggle for their rights that the GOP’s War on Voting backfired. So what’s the GOP doing? Inventing new ways to steal elections.

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Danziger Draws

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel and a memoir.

Rep. Thomas Massie and family

Some days, it’s the little things, the small absurdities in the news that make a person wonder if there’s any real hope for American democracy.

Consider, for example, the Christmas greeting sent out by Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky, featuring the Republican congressman’s entire family—husband, wife, two daughters, and three sons—brandishing semi-automatic rifles and grinning into the camera like some latter-day Bonnie and Clyde. Or “Y’all Qaeda” as somebody derisively dubbed the happy family on Twitter.

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