Now that you think about it, this is exactly what you would expect him to say, at pretty much exactly the time you’d expect him to say it:

The Republican Party is in big trouble and needs to find a way to move back to the middle of the country, former Secretary of State Colin Powell said Monday.

Powell said the GOP is “getting smaller and smaller” and “that’s not good for the nation.” He also said he hopes that emerging GOP leaders, such as House Minority Whip Cantor, will not keep repeating mantras of the far right.

“The Republican Party is in deep trouble,” Powell told corporate security executives at a conference in Washington sponsored by Fortify Software Inc. The party must realize that the country has changed, he said. “Americans do want to pay taxes for services,” he said. “Americans are looking for more government in their life, not less…”

He blasted radio commentator Rush Limbaugh, saying he does not believe that Limbaugh or conservative icon Ann Coulter serve the party well. He said the party lacks a “positive” spokesperson. “I think what Rush does as an entertainer diminishes the party and intrudes or inserts into our public life a kind of nastiness that we would be better to do without,” Powell said.

Here’s the thing: it sounds to me as if Colin Powell wants a genuinely moderate Republican party. He wants a party that’s less motivated by tax cuts, more accepting of government intervention in the private economy, and more willing to reach out across the aisle. He seems to be saying that that’s also what America wants.

Here’s my question to Mr. Powell: why did you vote against that guy?