Let’s briefly review Noonan’s argument for Rice to appreciate just how wrong it is. Rice is a figure of “obvious and nameable accomplishment”? Which accomplishment would that be? Completely failing to do a competent job as National Security Adviser? Presiding over the worst period of U.S.-Russian relations since the Cold War? Facilitating Hamas’ takeover of Gaza? Advising Bush as he embarked on one of the greatest debacles of post-WWII U.S. foreign policy? Helping to shape one of the most disastrous foreign policy records of modern times? Take your pick. No one can take any of that away from her. Her accomplishment is obvious. Noonan says that Rice wouldn’t be “learning on the job.” Certainly not. She didn’t seem to learn anything while she was in her previous administration positions, so why start now? Choosing her as the VP nominee would have a “certain boldness.” Then again, driving off of a cliff demonstrates a “certain boldness.”I have a post up at PP pointing out the totally obvious point that Rice is disqualified anyway because of her position on abortion -- see too Ed Kilgore, who beat me to it. I'm not really sure why some pundits don't get that there's an absolute veto over unorthodox positions on abortion in both parties when it comes to the national ticket, but that veto is surely there.
I'll also add, as I did at PP that I disagree with those who think that Rice would be a poor choice politically because, as Conor Friedersdorf says, "The Republican campaign strategy of mentioning George W. Bush as little as possible would be jeopardized by choosing a figure best known for the controversial role she played helping to shape his foreign policy." If Rice (or any other Bush figure) is chosen, Republicans simply won't mention it -- and Democrats are free to mention Bush whoever is on the ticket.
No, the real political problems for Rice are electoral inexperience and, far more critically, abortion. So she won't be chosen. But Larison is right: whatever the electoral pluses or minuses, the substantive case for Rice is shockingly weak.