Finally, in the person of Colin Powell, we have someone for whom the overworked cliche "piece of work" is precisely descriptive. Watching Powell consider running for President as a Republican or as an independent, or perhaps on the bottom half of the G.O.P. ticket, is to encounter a master of animated caution. He is charismatic and focused. His thoughts are ordered and formed in complete sentences--a truly dying art. His entire aspect is commanding and confident. He can appear compassionate and tough, sober and humorous in the same instant. But for all his brilliance as a performer, what Powell says as...

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