Monday, July 16, 2012

Whither Condi?

The Omnivore got a question about Condoleezza Rice as a potential Romney VEEP. The question was "What do you think?" The Omnivore LOVES questions!

What Do I Think?
Two things. The first is that the answer is "No, it won't be her."
I don’t know who is hitting the crack rock tonight in the rumor mill, but bull shiitake mushrooms.
Condelizza Rice is pro-abortion.
She worked for George Bush for eight years.
In those eight years at National Security and then at State, our relations with Russia deteriorated though she was an expert in that field. Central and South America went to pot as well, the ramifications of which still have not been sorted out. She was one of George Bush’s most trusted advisors and her supporters would have you believe that everything bad that happened, happened because of Cheney and Rumsfeld.
That was Erick Ericson of Red State who may not have the last word but is certainly plugged in. Nate Silver finds that there are no really good female candidates (they are either too old, too inexperienced, too extreme, or too related to Bush ...). In any event, despite the general blogular consensus is against her, I was dubious BEFORE IT WAS COOL!!

Why? Because she simply does not do for Romney what he needs to do for his ticket. That's the other thing I think ...

The Other Thing I Think (Part 2)
The other part to what I think is that Condi is, to be honest, a pretty "exciting" VP pick for someone either (a) in the middle or (b) to a sub-set of the base who is more tactically inclined and somewhat less ideological. I think the distinction here is pretty telling so I'm going to try to tell it!

She's Exciting!
She certainly didn't seem all that exciting to Erick Erickson (Bull shiitake mushrooms) but it is undoubtedly true that if she were picked it would (a) garner a lot of press and (b) appeal to the set of folks who, for example, want a female VP or want a minority on the GOP ticket. There are lots of these people--those who fret about the GOP's image with certain subsets of voters. So, hey: she'd mix it up.

We're Not Racist!
The other thing that is good about Condi is that her presence on the ticket (near the top!) is that it would prove ("prove") that the GOP isn't racist / sexist like some people say. To be sure, Republicans are fairly sensitive about allegations of racism and, frankly, I'm not surprised. This is because (a) no one (especially the, uh, party of Lincoln) likes to be called racist and (b) well, you know.

The prospect of Herman Cain kung-fu schooling elite liberals while deflecting the hurled race-cards like Neo brushing off Agent Smith's bullets was so attractive it was, I have to think, integral to what made him a front runner for his time in the Not-Romney sun. In a similar fashion, having Rice on the stump backing up Romney appeals to a lot of people and well it should: the GOP has its gay members and its black and minority members and that should be at least some evidence that faith-in-markets, traditional marriage-positive, and patriotic policies can and do exist outside of any racial context.

That doesn't mean the racism thing isn't a sore spot and that Condi would be thought to help.

But she's not gonna happen.

Romney has several key things in picking his VP. Winning a state isn't one of them--unless he picks Rubio in which case maybe it was. He needs to (a) reach out to moderates and (b) solidify his base. That means threading a pretty damn fine needle. He needs someone with Tea Party credibility who otherwise appeals to moderate voters. Condi would likely appeal to moderate voters but would not work with the more radical base (the same way Bachmann would be the reverse).

I think either Pawlenty or Jindal work for this--and on the outside Rubio and Ryan do too--but after that the list is, well, narrow--and Condi isn't on it.

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