My initial reaction yesterday to the Condoleezza Rice story was that it was completely bogus. (A Bush-era official, with no electoral experience, iffy social views, and no expertise in economics). But two days later, I'm having second thoughts. There has been no denial, and Rice has disappeared. She is "on vacation." While Bobby Jindal would still be my choice, Rice might actually be okay. The other day I explored here why she shouldn't be the pick, so let's explore why she should be.
1.) Vice-Presidents are fairly pointless, have little influence or sway on domestic policy, and pretty much act as an international diplomat or presidential agenda peddler. Sarah Palin compromised some of her positions - the bailout for example - in 2008 to back McCain (but also publicly disagreed with him in other areas, such as energy). Either way, if you don't like Mitt Romney, it doesn't really matter if the VP is the most conservative person in the world, because they have very little power anyway. Does anyone think George HW Bush had much sway over Reagan? So, if Romney promising to cut taxes, repeal ObamaCare, seal the border, end subsidies, be pro-life, and support businesses and workers doesn't convince you, simply having a tea party candidate on the ticket won't matter much anyway.
2.) While I initially said Rice was a poor pick because she doesn't have economic and governorship experience (like Jindal does), and is almost exclusively experienced in foreign policy, I walk back that assessment that the latter is not important. First, Mitt Romney's defense of American capitalism has been stellar. He doesn't necessarily need a copycat in that regard. But more to the point, Rice is an expert in the ONLY area that Obama receives high marks: foreign policy. In fact, Obama's signature achievement was the capture of Osama bin Laden. And wouldn't it be nice for Dr. Rice to remind us just exactly how OBL was captured? Yes, the capture of OBL is almost exclusively attributable to the policies of Bush-Rice-Cheney. And as a bonus, Biden was picked to be Obama's running-mate due to his "expertise" on foreign policy. They only debate once, and wouldn't that be a great one?
3.) It's hard not to like her. She can't be called dumb. Her life story is compelling. If anyone has listened to Rice speak about her upbringing, it's hard not to be inspired. She makes Obama's consistent race-baiting and pity-me life-stories seem like a WASPy joke. She grew up in the Democrat-led, Jim Crow segregationist south (and became staunchly pro-gun as a result). She had her Master's degree before most college kids pick their undergraduate major. She excelled in an era where she was not supposed to. She remains fairly popular as far as Republicans go. And she's become so disgusted by the Obama administration's policies that she has even become political and outspoken on domestic issues. Rice, who seemed neutral to the thought of an Obama presidency 4 years ago, actually represents the "what was I thinking" crop of people who thought Obama wouldn't be an utter disaster.
4.) The move would be extremely gutsy on Romney's part. Everyone is saying Romney can't pick a woman after "the Sarah Palin episode." (And no, Palin did not cost McCain the election. McCain was always going to lose - and not even Palin could save him). They also say he can't pick a black person, because Obama is black. And add the two together, and now that's just crazy talk. But Rice is different. She actually has indisputable experience and qualifications. She is the most powerful black woman in the history of the US government. She understands the importance of not being patronizing to black people, and that is a message she could deliver. And since the expectation is that Romney has to pick a Tea Party type, not doing so would also be gutsy. And does Obama really want to go after Rice and her foreign policy given what has happened internationally and his escalating and confusing Afghanistan policy?
5.) Aren't reluctant politicians the best ones? It's obvious Rice never had political ambitions. Her passion was foreign policy and she lived it. She never really seemed interested in the political side of government. Until Obama came along that is. And isn't that the story of the base of the tea party? Obama might actually drive her into politics because she realizes the destructive path America is now on. Like millions of Americans (and, specifically, women) who revolted in 2009-2012, Rice's current actions actually captures a lot of that spirit to get up and do something.So, that's the best case I could make for Rice. If she is the pick, I would accept it. As a conservative, I don't need to be pandered to with a vice-presidential pick that has little influence on domestic policy anyway. Rice comes off as fairly libertarian in most of her domestic positions, which are generally acceptable to tea-party conservatives (except for her limited pro-choice views). Romney has run as a conservative, and if he does what he says he will do that is all conservatives can hope for. Picking a VP in order to appease a group of people can look desperate. Rubio might fall into that category. But picking a person that the president wants to work with is what leadership is about.