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I appreciate Colin Powell’s bold comments about the racism that permeates the Republican Party – I only wish that Powell had decided to unleash his wrath on the GOP during last year’s presidential election.

But it’s better late than never – and Powell did the right thing by putting his party on notice.

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

Powell, who enthusiastically endorsed Obama, said there were numerous comments by Republicans aimed at Obama that proves racism exists within the Republican Party. And it was clear that Powell has deep-rooted concerns about the GOP that have been bottled-up for quite some time.

“When I see a former governor say that the president is ‘shuckin’ and jivin’.’ That’s a racial-era slave term,” Powell said, referring to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin who criticized Obama’s response to the attacks in Libya.

Powell also criticized former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu for calling Obama lazy.

“He didn’t say he was slow, he was tired, he didn’t do well; he said he was ‘lazy,'” Powell said “Now, it may not mean anything to most Americans, but to those of us who are African Americans, the second word is “shiftless,” and then there’s a third word that goes along with it.”

Powell was straightforward with his disapproval of how the Republican Party operates. It’s no secret that some Republicans have disdain for people of color and are not interested in embracing the ever-changing multicultural society.

Both the Latino and Asian populations have increased 43 percent respectively, according to The Center for American Progress. America is quickly getting more racially diverse as more people are identifying as multiracial, and 85 percent of population growth is people of color.

Non-whites, for example, made up 28 percent of the electorate in last year’s presidential election, compared with 20 percent in 2000.

“The new electorate is a lagging indicator of the next America,” says Paul Taylor of the Pew Research Center. “We are midpassage in a century-long journey from the middle of the last century, when we were nearly a 90 percent white nation, to the middle of this coming century, when we will be a majority minority nation.”

It’s pathetic that every year Republicans claim they are going to “reach out” to minorities and work harder to attract African Americans and Latinos to the party and then some Republican bigot says something racially insensitive that sets the party back again.

I interviewed former GOP chairman Michael Steele several times and he always insisted that Republicans have evolved. Steele was either mislead, in serious denial, or didn’t actually believe a word he was saying. In any case, it’s the same old story, year after year. Nothing ever changes in the GOP and I don’t expect change from a party that allows one of its more prominent members to call the president “lazy.”

“In recent years, there’s been a significant shift to the right, and we have seen what that shift has produced: two losing presidential campaigns,” Powell said. “I think what the Republican Party needs to do now is take a very hard look at itself and understand that the country has changed.  The country is changing demographically.  And if the Republican Party does not change along with that demographic, they’re going to be in trouble.”

The Republican Party has so many entrenched bigots that it’s difficult to imagine how the party begins to attract people of color when there is no place for the poor and disenfranchised in its core ideology.

“You’ve got to think first about what’s the party actually going to represent?  If it’s just going to represent the far right wing of the political spectrum, I think the party is in difficulty.  I’m a moderate, but I’m still a Republican.”

And a Republican who tells the truth. Now that’s news.

(Photo: AP)