Friday, July 13, 2012

Catch of the Day

How about one to Dan Larison for pointing out that, political impossibility aside, Condi Rice...well, I'll let him tell it:
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.

Nice catch!

13 comments:

  1. My question is: Why is she being considered at all? I think there are two reasons. One, Romney's foreign policy credentials are, shall we say, suspect, so he could shore them up by bringing on a foreign policy expert. Two is what I would call the Herman Cain Effect: Republicans think that if they offer black people a different black candidate from Obama, they'll split the black vote. No, really, they actually believe that.

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    1. c.f. Steele, Michael

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    2. The aim is not to split the black vote. The aim is to get the votes of the white idiots who think they have to vote for a black candidate because "DIVERSITY" or some such.

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    3. Hilarious. How many white people 1)feel that they should vote for a black candidate, 2)but a conservative, GOP black is as good a choice as a Democratic black candidate, so they'll go with the GOP black candidate?

      You may think such "idiots" exist, but I doubt it. However, you're an actual idiot for believing that kind of nonsense.

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    4. ModeratePoli,

      I'm calling a strike on that one. Keep it civil.

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  2. Larison's take-down is hilarious. You could, of course, describe the entire Bush 43 Administration as having a "certain boldness."

    But, listen, I think it's clear why the GOP is at least floating the Condi trial balloon. They may very well need a game-changing, hail-mary type of VP pick if these latest Bain revelations are as bad as they sound (Andrew Sullivan's been all over it this morning).

    If Mitt finds himself needing to continually explain why he's not a felon and perjurer and electoral fraudster - well, let's just say, Rob Portman ain't gonna cut through that.

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  3. In response to TN's question as to why she's being considered at all: She isn't, she was being "mentioned" on the day that Biden was talking to the NAACP, where Romney was just booed. It's just a distraction.

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  4. The amazing thing about this episode is that there are people who still have a credulous approach to the Drudge Report.

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  5. I don't think Portman and Rice are the same, vis a vis the Bush comparisons.

    Democrats are going to tie everyone to Bush, yes. They'll try to do so on the basis of policy similarity, if not serving with Bush.

    The difference between Portman and Rice, though, is that nobody knew who the hell Rob Portman was from 2001-2008, outside of us political geeks. Rice, on the other hand, was a common enough name out there that's she's played herself on '30 Rock.' What polling I've found had her PEAKING at 15% DK/unsure on the favorable/unfavorable question in 2005; she finished with only 8% in that lumped category in 2008. It's less about Dems saying this or that than it is people coming up with the connection on their own. When they hear Rob Portman, their first thought is going to be "is he related to Padme?" When they hear Condoleeza Rice (a much more memorable name, BTW), a heck of a lot of people are going to recognize that name and know who she is.

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    1. Oh, found the Portman numbers:

      http://www.pollingreport.com/p.htm#Portman

      (Long story short: 62% of people admit they have no idea who Rob Portman is. Some portion of the other 38% are lying when they say they do)

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    2. More importantly than 30 Rock, the great Steve Earle wrote a love song to Condi.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avwJPNmCDh0

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    3. Among those who've heard of Portman, how many know his positions on any issues? Can't say that I do.

      Condi is much better off sticking to 30 Rock.

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    4. Matt/Dr. B/Whomever,

      I'd sort of figured Condi was a stalking horse to test how various groups would respond to a Bush admin official. Matt, you're right to point out that Portman had a much lower profile in the admin than did Rice, but he wouldn't by the time election day came around, and to some degree the fiscal failures of the Bush admin would be more at issue this election than would their foreign policy failures. Testing what portions of the electorate still recoil from the taint of Bush (43) without tipping the hand seems like something they'd want to do, if seriously considering Portman. Didn't McCain's team do something similar when vetting Lieberman?

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