As speculation about who Mitt Romney was going to select as his running mate ran rampant, one name that consistently popped up was former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. In a decision making process that must consider everything from the electoral benefits of race, religion, ethnicity, and gender, to experience, demeanor, and expertise on the major issues of the day, Condoleezza Rice was a compelling and attractive candidate for Mitt Romney. She offered a perfect sense of balance to the Romney ticket. While Romney is white, Rice is an African-American. While Romney is a man, Rice is a woman. While Romney lacks any pronounced expertise in foreign affairs, Condoleezza Rice is a foreign affairs expert.
Combined with Rice’s well mannered, diplomatic demeanor and unparalleled expertise on world affairs, Rice would have made an excellent choice for both the shallow electoral benefits that could have been realized because of her race and gender and because of her being probably more prepared to step in to the presidency of the United States at moment’s notice, than any other name that was considered. Many independent polls even indicated that among voters, Rice was their most popular choice Romney could make.
The obvious value of Rice’s potential placement on the G.O.P. presidential ticket forced her name on to almost all vice presidential short lists. If she was ever on Romney’s short list though is another question. Being what she calls “moderately pro-choice” probably denied Romney the chance to give Rice serious consideration for the number two slot on the ticket. Had he picked her, Romney would have surely offended many factions of the conservative base which was already uninspired by his candidacy and doubtful about his committment to the right-to-life cause.
As for Condoleezza Rice herself, all the speculation forced her to repeatedly state that she had no desire to reenter politics, or at least electoral politics. But many, including myself had some doubt as to how sincere Rice was in those claims. In the weeks leading up to Romney’s announcement, although they were unrelated to the Romney campaign, Condoleezza Rice made several high profile appearances and even wrote a superb editorial for the Financial Times that seemed like a foreign affairs manifesto for a future presidential Administration to adhere to. In the months leading up to Romney’s decision on a running mate, some had openly suggested that Rice was “quietly campaigning”to be tapped for Vice President on the Republican presidential ticket.
In April of 2008, ABC News reported that Republican strategist Dan Senor made the same claim.
“Condi Rice has been actively, actually in recent weeks, campaigning for this,” Senor said this morning on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.”
According to Senor, Rice has been cozying up to the Republican elite.
“There’s this ritual in Washington: The Americans for Tax Reform, which is headed by Grover Norquist, he holds a weekly meeting of conservative leaders — about 100, 150 people, sort of inside, chattering, class types,” Senor said. “They all typically get briefings from political conservative leaders. Ten days ago, they had an interesting visit — Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice — the first time a secretary of state has visited the Wednesday meeting.”
Of course all of that is just speculation and unless we choose to believe Condoleezza Rice’s own claim of having not desire to get back into politics. we will never know for sure how accurate or inaccurate the conjecture and assumptions of political talking heads were. But in the two days since Paul Ryan became the VP pick, Condoleezza Rice’s alway’s active online social media activity has been filled with messages about her thoughts on a few different topics but one topic has not been addressed at all ——- her thoughts on the selection of Paul Ryan for Vice President.
Since Romney made the announcement on Saturday morning , Rice posted two comments on her Facebook page and she tweeted the same two comments on her Twitter feed. The first comment offered kinds words to the organizers of the Olympics and Team USA;
Her most recent comment, more than 48 hours after the Ryan announcement, was a quote indicating her support for the NFL along with a photo which displayed her “passion” for the Cleveland Browns.
Like all the talk about Rice being a potential Romney running mate, the meaning of her lack of a reaction to Paul Ryan’s addition to the G.O.P. ticket is also speculation, but so far her silence is deafening.
In a few weeks, Condi who has been given a coveted primetime speaking slot at the Republican National Convention in a couple of weeks, will certainly be praising Romney, and Ryan too, but so far there is no indication of how genuine he glowing words will will be. Especially since her initial reaction has been not to react at all.
Did Condi really want the job or is it true that she really can’t care less about her future role in public service?
Regardless of Rice’s feeling’s though, it is clear that most conservatives are quite happy with the choice of Paul Ryan and with good reason.
While Condoleezza Rice would have certainly brought an incredible amount of dignity, class, superior intelligence, and invaluable experience to the ticket, she would have also a brought up the opportunity for the left to distract Americans voters even more than they are currently are by rehashing Rice’s ties to former President George W. Bush. Such a strategy could have been easily addressed by both Rice and Romney but it still would have been an unnecessary distraction. But by picking Paul Ryan instead of Condi Rice, Mitt Romney forces this election to be about the economy and the federal budget that Paul Ryan is an expert in. And those are the issues which just so happen to be the Achille’s heels that weaken both of feet that the President is trying to stand on.
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