On the great parlor game of VP prognostication I am an outlier, along with Bill Kristol. Like many, I am looking for clues and rationale, but I don't come up with the conventional wisdom,
As for clues:
- Ann Romney's comment that a woman was in the VP mix was not some off-handed throw-away. In the one discussion that I have had with her, Mrs. Romney was adamant that she could not call Rick Perry's wife to offer some human support when Anita Perry was pilloried for making a religious comment. Political wives understand that anything they say will be attacked, and that everything must be orchestrated.
- Mitt Romney's comment that Russia is our "number one geopolitical foe" plays to Condi's core expertise as a Russian scholar. It preceeded her presentation to the major donor June 23-24 gathering at Park City Utah at which Condi gave a tour de force evaluation of the world stage, which was, by all accounts breathtaking. She knows the history, the proclivities of our friends and adversaries, and most of the world leaders.
And the rationale:
- Romney wants somebody with whom he is compatible. No superstars who might upstage him - Chris Cristie; Marco Rubio; Paul Ryan. Like Romney, Rice is quiet, reserved, thoughtful, analytical, not a career politician- and she is a consumate team player.
- Despite Romney's strengths - Bain Capital, Massachusetts governor, Salt Lake Olympics - he has no real international experience, nor do any of the other frontrunners. He understands that international events can unexpectedly take center stage - 9/11 for George W. - and that his agenda will be significantly impacted by China, Europe, and the Middle East. It will be necessary to move from the Obama "leading from behind" Doctrine to reestablishing the United States as the leader on the world stage.
- Some of the politics are obvious - woman; African American; unquestioned academic and government experience. The political downside is also obvious - "a return to the policies of the past that got us into this mess". One substantive debate with Joe Biden should put that to rest.
The real problem is that she has seemed sincere in saying that she is not interested, and her real aspiration is to follow Bud Selig as the commissioner of baseball. When Babe Ruth was criticized for making more money than Herbert Hoover, he observed that he had a better year. The same could be said for the Portland Sea Dogs backup centerfielder. Here's hoping that Condi realizes it is more important to replace Obama than Selig.
bill bowen - 7/13/2012