Tuesday, March 25, 2008

and a side of Rice.....

I have a bad confession to make. I read the New Yorker every week. Pretty much cover to cover. Sorry.

Anyway, in last week's issue I found an intriguing idea: Condi Rice for the second spot on the Republican ticket.

an excerpt:

To deal first with the obvious: Rice may be “only” the second woman and the second African-American to be Secretary of State, but she is indisputably the highest-ranking black female official ever to have served in any branch of the United States government. Her nomination to a constitutional executive office would cost McCain the votes of his party’s hardened racists and incorrigible misogynists. They are surely fewer in number, though, than the people who would like to participate in breaking the glass ceiling of race or gender but, given the choice, would rather do so in a more timid way, and/or without abandoning their party. And with Rice on the ticket the Republicans could attack Clinton or Obama with far less restraint.

By choosing Rice, McCain would shackle himself anew to Bush’s Iraq war. But it’s hard to see how those chains could get much tighter than he has already made them. Rice would fit nicely into McCain’s view of the war as worth fighting but, until Donald Rumsfeld’s exit from the Pentagon, fought clumsily. And it would be fairly easy to establish a story line that would cast Rice as having been less Bush’s enabler than a loyal subordinate who nevertheless pushed gently from within for a more reasonable, more diplomatic approach.

Rice is already fourth in line for the Presidency, and getting bumped up three places would be a shorter leap than any of the three Presidential candidates propose to make. It’s true that her record in office has been one of failure, from downgrading terrorism as a priority before 9/11 to ignoring the Israel-Palestine problem until (almost certainly) too late. But this does not seem to have done much damage to her popularity. In a Washington Post-ABC News poll taken when opposition to the Iraq war was approaching its height, she enjoyed a “favorable-unfavorable” rating of nearly two to one. The conservative rank and file likes her.

Does anybody besides me think this is a great idea? Or are y'all hankering for flip-flop Mitt?


Tom said...

Rice's (ummm) biggest impediment to (ahhh) elected office is (hmmm) that (uh) she can't (....) can't speak a simple (errrr) English sentence.

Josh Hall said...

Why do you need to apologize for reading the New Yorker? The New Yorker is an excellent publication to learn about things you don't know anything about. I'm a Reason subscriber but frankly I find the New Yorker far more interesting and challenging to my world view.

prison rodeo said...

Two things:

"And with Rice on the ticket the Republicans could attack Clinton or Obama with far less restraint."

Not sure I see how this follows, unless we're talking about nothing more than race- and/or gender-baiting.

"It’s true that her record in office has been one of failure..."

Sounds like a ringing endorsement to me.

Honestly, short of McCain going waaaay off the reservation (Ahnold, anyone?), I'm not sure the identity of the GOP's #2 is going to matter much anyway.

Angus said...

PR: because he wins no matter what or because he loses no matter what??

Dirty Davey said...

Won't happen. I've believed for some time that the main Republican plan for running against Obama is to take advantage of voter racism.

They don't actually have to DO anything or even SAY anything--everyone knows that Obama is black and McCain is white, and the people to whom that matters do not need to be explicitly reminded.

For the Republicans, putting Rice on the ticket would be throwing this advantage away. It won't happen.

Shawn said...

dd...do you really think that the median voter is racist enough to decide based on that factor?

seems unlikely to me; maybe I don't hang out with enough survivor-watching nascar fans (of which group, "one" would be too many).

Dirty Davey said...

Shawn asks "dd...do you really think that the median voter is racist enough to decide based on that factor?"

I don't think in this case there is a single line on which to identify "the median voter".

I do believe that a nontrivial number of voters who might vote for a white Democratic candidate will vote against Obama. Many of these voters will tell themselves that they "just aren't comfortable with him" or that they're concerned about his preacher, or that they just feel McCain is "more presidential"... but these claims will boil down to discomfort with the idea of a black president.

The more openly anti-black folks have likely been voting Republican since Nixon's "southern strategy"... but the McCain folks still want their votes. Having Rice on the ticket would keep them at home, while having a white VP on the ticket against Obama would likely increase their turnout.