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Friday, July 13, 2012


Rumor now has it that Condoleezza Rice is the frontrunner for Romney's VP.

She's too much of a hawk for me, but I've always liked what I've seen of her personally.

At an age where Barack Obama was smoking weed, Rice was practicing to become a concert pianist. At an age when Obama was neglecting his studies so badly that he later had his academic records sealed, Rice was becoming a Phi Beta Kappa. And that pretty much sums up the difference between them.

But personal histories aside, Rice is a brilliant strategic choice.

She nullifies the race card which the Democrats would otherwise inevitably play. If you're black, she causes a little bell to go off in the back of your head: ding, we can't lose either way. Blacks will of course still vote overwhelmingly Democratic. But maybe, just maybe, fewer of them are motivated to show up at the voting booths now.

Rice will help nullify Obama's edge among women. All those frustrated Hillary supporters who wanted to see the first woman President would now at least get to see the first woman VP. (And Rice, unlike Palin, has done her homework; I'd love to see Katie Couric try to ambush Rice.)

Rumor has it, and circumstantial evidence indicates, that Rice is a lesbian. Perhaps the most intriguing question about her candidacy is, will she come out during the campaign? Or, perhaps, will she be outed? Rice has always conducted herself with great decorum, so I doubt that she will volunteer her sexual orientation. Most likely the question will be raised, and she'll brush it aside with a nondenial similar to the one Janet Reno used ("I'm just an old maid with a great fondness for men"), and the issue will be dropped.

But if she does comes out, or is outed, she goes from being a twofer to a threefer.

Imagine she does. Romney has already come out against gay marriage, so it would be hard for Rice to support it. But what if she said something along the lines of, I'm gay and I'm for civil unions with all the benefits of marriage, but which stop short of marriage. Will gay voters support Obama and Biden, who only came out in favor of gay marriage late in their term, and purely for political reasons? Or will they be inclined to support a woman who is actually one of them?

Watch the polls when she is announced. Romney will surge. And remember, Rice doesn't have to win over a substantial portion of any of the groups mentioned. She just needs to win over a percentage point here, and a percentage point there. 

All the Democratic spokesmen will of course decry the cynicism inherent in picking Rice. But their anger -- which will be palpable -- will be commensurate with the extent to which their own strategic advantages will be blunted.

And after four years of the most dishonest administration in memory, they really ought not be complaining about cynicism.


Gilbert Ratchet said...

Or will they be inclined to support a woman who is actually one of them?

On the contrary, this will just make them angrier. Nothing makes a leftist hotter than a black (and female, and apparently gay) person who doesn't toe the line.

John Craig said...

Gilbert --
For the most part you're right; look at the way most blacks actively dislike Clarence Thomas. But this race is so close all it's going to take to make the difference is one or two percent here and there, and Condi is such an exemplary person that I think she's going to win over a few of the independents.

Remember, it's not the left or right which determines the outcome of an election, since their votes are pretty much set in stone anyway. It's the independents.

RHanan said...

Condi said that she was mildly pro-choice. Any depression in the black vote would probably be trumped by the depression in the Evangelical turnout.

Also, I think that for this to work politically, it can't be seen as too obvious of a stunt. The only thing Rice is known for is foreign policy and she's affiliated with the disastrous Iraq War. Why are voters going to think Romney picked her? The only plausible reasons are her race and sex. That could be demoralizing to conservatives who see the Obama administration as anti-white and anti-male and are eager to vote against him on those grounds. It just strikes me as too big of a concession to the culture of quotas.

John Craig said...

RHanan --
All good points. It IS an obvious stunt, but aren't VP's always picked for superficial reasons (as opposed to the policy input they might offer)? Obama picked Biden because he'd gotten along with him okay in the Senate and his people figured an older white man was needed to offset the young black one. For a long time Rubio was the frontrunner for VP for Romney, and wasn't he going to be picked of similarly superficial reasons (Hispanic and good-looking and from Florida)?

And I can't imagine that the people who are sick of the culture of quotas -- like you and me -- are not going to vote Republican because Condi is on the ticket. Anyone sick of quotas is going to cast an anti-Obama vote even if they have to hold their nose to do it.

And yes, Condi was associated with the Iraq War. But she didn't become Secretary of State until 2005, two years after the invasion. And while she was the National Security Adviser from 2001 - 2005, I don't think anybody ever viewed her as primary or even secondary architect of that war. Most people either see Iraq as something Cheney pushed for for oil reasons, Bush pushed for for Daddy reasons (wanted to finsh the job his father hadn't), or Perle and Wolfowitz and Feith pushed for for dual citizenship reasons. Condi was part of that administration, but I've never heard her name mentioned as the evil mastermind behind the invasion.

Anyway, while I agree with your points individually, I don't see them hurting conservative turnout, and I do see them maybe pulling a few independent to the Republican side.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Ms. Rice could enlighten us at to why we invaded Iraq.