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Condi For VP?

Bruce Bartlett makes the case:

    Thinking along the same lines, Arnold Beichman of Stanford's Hoover Institution made a strong case for Mr. Bush to replace Mr. Cheney with National Security Adviser Condeleezza Rice in these pages of The Washington Times on July 1.

Said Mr. Beichman, "It is now time to open a new dramatic episode in American history, one that would show the world what our democracy means: the choice of an extraordinarily talented African-American woman to run for president of the United States on the Republican ticket, the party of Abraham Lincoln."

My main reservation against Miss Rice is that she is untested electorally, having spent most of her career as a Stanford political science professor. Also, we know nothing about her views on issues outside her area of expertise, foreign policy. What is her position on abortion, tax cuts or Medicare? Even she may not know since she may never have had any reason to think about these or the thousand other issues on which presidential candidates must have positions.

That may be Bruce Bartlett's main reservation about Condi Rice. My main reservation would be that she's done an absolutely terrible job as National Security Advisor. But what really makes this impossible is that she's a single woman who's widely rumored to be a lesbian. Obviously I don't have a problem with lesbians, or with single straight women, or even with women who simply choose not to date for whatever reason. But certain elements in the Republican Party don't feel that way at all as you may have noticed over the years.

Now if Cheney were to just die or something, letting Bush put someone new on the ticket, that would probably be to Bush's advantage. Actually dumping him, though, would be a mess. So many people have written that "Cheney could leave the ticket and pretend it's for health reasons" that you really couldn't pretend it was for health reasons, and it would create all sorts of awkwardness to admit that the 2000 pick had been a mistake.

July 8, 2004 | Permalink


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More importantly, the person who makes the decisions in the White House - CHENEY - is never going to decide to drop CHENEY from the ticket.

Posted by: Justin | Jul 8, 2004 9:25:32 AM

C'mon, Condi?

It would stagger belief that the Republicans could put Condi on the ticket after claiming the John Edwards doesn't have the experience to be President. I'm mean what experience does Condi have other than National Security Advisor (which hardly gives you the experience needed to run the country) - Provost at some California University.

I say, Bring it on.

Posted by: pfc | Jul 8, 2004 9:25:51 AM

But what really makes this impossible is that she's a single woman who's widely rumored to be a lesbian. Obviously I don't have a problem with lesbians, or with single straight women, or even with women who simply choose not to date for whatever reason. But certain elements in the Republican Party don't feel that way at all as you may have noticed over the years.

No, no, no.
What really makes this impossible is that she is Black.

Posted by: WillieStyle | Jul 8, 2004 9:31:04 AM

Dude, why no html tags on in comments?

Posted by: WillieStyle | Jul 8, 2004 9:32:47 AM

I keep thinking this constant Veep speculation on the Repub side is just a way of staying in the media after the Edwards announcement. I can imagine Rove trying to tell Dick that he has to throw himself onto his sword for the Cause, and Dick telling Karl what anatomical impossibility to commit.
And WillieStyle is right: Condi's race would simply not play well to the Base, at least in the rural South and Midwest. It would be a deal breaker to a lot of the Bubba republicans; and clips of her testimony to the 911 commission would sink her fast.

Posted by: Mr. Bill | Jul 8, 2004 9:38:35 AM

Just because she's "widely rumored" to be a lesbian doesn't mean she's *actually* a lesbian. She could squelch those rumors with a few high-profile dates around D.C. for Wonkette to document.

Posted by: Adrienne | Jul 8, 2004 9:42:12 AM

Cheney doesn't actually have to die, but he does at least need to suffer a heart attack (which even then wouldn't cut short speculation that the whole thing had been staged).

If Bush wants an African-American on the ticket the obvious choice is Powell. I hear, though, that one reason Cheney must stay on the ticket is the disgruntled conservative base, which would make Powell or Guiliani a difficult choice (though perhaps an easier choice now that they're running against the 1st and 4th most liberal senators). I don't think McCain's presence on the ticket would cause problems for the Republicans, even though he rubs some of the GOP establishment the wrong way.

Anyway, Cheney leaving the ticket is to Republicans' fantasy life what revelations about Bush's personal life are to Democrats'. Very likely neither will happen.

Posted by: P.B. Almeida | Jul 8, 2004 9:55:08 AM

Logical arguments about Condi's experience or how it would look to dump Cheney don't really matter, do they? Anybody who cares about logical arguments will vote against Bush regardless.

What matters is whether she would cause voters in swing states to change their minds.

They aren't voting the issues, because Kerry has taken pretty much the same stands as Bush.

People who would vote for Bush because they're Republicans won't change their vote because of Condi. Maybe they'd make less effort to go out and vote.

Would Condi get black votes or women's votes? I don't know.

The people who'd talk about how bad it would be to have a black lesbian in the white house won't do it this time because she's a Republican.

So we have the people who don't want Kerry because he flip-flops etc, and the people who always vote republican and the people who don't pay much attention. Those last are the important swing votes, and would Condi help with them more than Cheney? If she does get it then Rove thinks so, and Cheney doesn't get to choose. He can resign for health reasons and it won't matter that some people would take that as admitting Bush made a mistake to choose him in the first place. If the swing vote cared about Bush making mistakes and not correcting them, or making mistakes and correcting them without admitting they were mistakes, they wouldn't be the swing vote.

Posted by: J Thomas | Jul 8, 2004 9:59:15 AM

*IF* Cheney is dumped, Rice, Giuliani, McCain, and Powell are all pipe dreams. Rice, for the reasons you mention, Giuliani (and Pataki) because he's too socially liberal, McCain because he kind of hates Bush's guts, and Powell because he's sick of Bush's shit. Also, both McCain and Powell could have had the VP slot in 2000 but declined.

More likely:

John Kasich (would help in Ohio)
Elizabeth Dole (counters Edwards)
Bill Frist (safe choice)
Tom Ridge (but pro-lifers would be livid)

Posted by: thirdparty | Jul 8, 2004 10:01:58 AM

Can't really say. I would expect Condi to add several midwestern states to make for the one or two Dixie states she would cost. Repub black vote would probably move from 10% to 30%.

The media would protect her, and create a non-stop buzz. The part would not fear her running at the top of the ticket in '08. Righties would find Guiliani unacceptable, and are worried about the Arnie wing. With Condi, there would be an open primary.

I think Cheney is a risk in the second term, he really has a bad heart. But I agree, this WH leaderless without him.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Jul 8, 2004 10:07:03 AM

Don't you think your blog is a bit high profile for you to be printing unsubstantiated rumours about Condi's sexual orientation? Jeez! Let's take the high road, shall we?

Posted by: Eric Stevens | Jul 8, 2004 10:15:46 AM


"though perhaps an easier choice now that they're running against the 1st and 4th most liberal senators"

Pretty fucking subjective, imo. I could probably design a model, with a little help for a legislative expert, which showed Kerry and Edwards in the middle of the pack politically with their other Democratic senators (to the right of clinton, kennedy, boxer, feinstein, schumer, etc., etc.) by using Microsoft Excels solver function. Exclude the bills from my model which make Kerry look liberal without being too obvious about it, and, bam, a sweet model. In short you're a fool if you think kerry is to the left of both Boxer and Kennedy (I'm selecting two who are obviously more liberal).

Posted by: Andrew | Jul 8, 2004 10:15:50 AM

It would be Frist.

And it will be Frist, if it looks like Dibold and Jeb won't be able to deliver OH and FL.

Condi would cost too much in the South.

What a bunch of f-in idiots.

Posted by: MattB | Jul 8, 2004 10:23:15 AM

Bush may not have a choice of keeping Cheney.

"Vice President Dick Cheney faces criminal indictments for illegal activities while CEO of energy giant Halliburton and also illegally intervened to secure a $7 billion no-bid contract for his former employer after his election to office, an analysis by the White House counsel’s office concludes."

"The Vice President is currently under investigation by French authorities for bribery, money laundering and misuse of corporate assets while at Halliburton and also faces a U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission probe of a $180 million "slush fund" that may have been used to pay bribes."


Rice doesn't have the resume. McCain is very doubtful to accept. Powell has positions that the right can't accept. Guliani has personal background issues the the religious right can't accept. Pataki? Santorum? Romney?

Dan Froomkin yesterday blasted Cheney some more:

"But the "Dump Cheney" rumors continue to swirl in the press, fueled by a steady infusion of feeble poll results, poor reviews from the campaign trail, Cheney's own foul mouth, persistent Halliburton scandals and his continued and unsupported insistence on strong links between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda."


Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Jul 8, 2004 10:26:22 AM

thirdparty: McCain's hatred for Bush's guts seems to have worn off lately. He's managed to turn his flirting with Kerry into a useful tool for the Bush campaign, and he certainly seems to be supporting that campaign in other ways as well.

Posted by: KCinDC | Jul 8, 2004 10:28:26 AM

bob mcmanus wrote:
"Can't really say. I would expect Condi to add several midwestern states to make for the one or two Dixie states she would cost. Repub black vote would probably move from 10% to 30%."

I must respectfuly disagree.
First of all, one or two dixie states?!
Secondly, I think the backlash against a "quota" ticket would be significant even in the rural plains states. An already disgruntled base wouldn't have any patience for such shenanigans.

Finally, I doubt very much Condi would raise the black vote that far.
Powell yes. Condi, probably not.

Posted by: WillieStyle | Jul 8, 2004 10:34:35 AM

But just to return to substance for one minute, Condi Rice HAS been a terrible National Security Adviser; she has clearly been unable to manage her way out of a box.

In addition, she's supposedly in charge of Iraq policy (not that you could prove it by anything she's done), she's a liar under pressure, and she's too lazy and/or pompous to have stirred herself to read the 94-page NIE on Iraq when it was finally produced.

In addition, her scholarship is reputed to be (by contemporaneous reviews, not based on anything i know personally) to be as shoddy as her management work at the NSC.

One of the good things about the NBA is that a lousy black coach can now be fired for the simple act of being a lousy coach, just like a white coach. If Condi Rice were a white male, her efforts at NSC would be widely, and justifiably, derided, and the idea that "he" might be considered of vice presidential timber recognized as a joke....

Posted by: howard | Jul 8, 2004 10:40:06 AM

"First of all, one or two dixie states?!"

I can't see Kerry winning Alabama or Texas. They would run Roy Moore before that happened. 1 or 2 losses for Bush.

Incidentally, on the shrimp thread, I said I though it meant Louisiana might be in play. Last night I heard that Kerry had pulled all ad buys out of LA, which is a probably better indication of its viability.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Jul 8, 2004 10:43:06 AM

No matter what they say, a sizeable fraction of Bush's base esp in the south will not vote for a ticket with an African-American woman on it. Doesn't matter how it polls, they won't. And with Edwards being tossed in to help make the Kerry ticket in play with the Johnny Reb's...Bush would *never* pick her. It would be Rummy if Cheney left. I'm not saying the North would be perfect in considering voting for a ticket with her on it, but Bush needs the south and ain't counting on the northeast so that's what he has to consider.

Don't forget how the race issue tossed a senator to the "D" column this last year against the Indian-American (as in India, not Native American :) Republican who polled well but lost enough of the white male republican base to lose the election.

Posted by: Doc | Jul 8, 2004 10:46:26 AM

"Don't forget how the race issue tossed a senator to the "D" column this last year against the Indian-American (as in India, not Native American :) Republican who polled well but lost enough of the white male republican base to lose the election."

I say a ticket with Condi on it instantly puts LA, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, Virginia and possibly even Georgia in play.

Posted by: WillieStyle | Jul 8, 2004 10:54:02 AM

I agree that dismissing Cheney now would be disastrous, a sign of weakness, blood in the water...

Also, Condi wants to be the NFL commissioner...seriously.

I wish she'd convert to judaism and run against Hillary, then we'd have the first gay, black, female & jewish President all at the same time.

Condi '08!

Posted by: j.scott barnard | Jul 8, 2004 11:05:49 AM

Rice is very popular among conservatives. Unlike Giuliani, McCain, Powell, Dole... Maybe they're engaging in wishful thinking about her policy positions, maybe not, (Maybe YOU'RE assuming she can't be a conservative just because she's black...) but you underestimate the degree to which they'd relish watching Democrats flailing about, trying to play the race card against a black woman. And after four years as VP, unless she does have skeletons in her closet, they'd relish seeing to it that the history books recording that the first black, woman President was Republican. You might want to look at Republican respect for Justice Thomas, and Margret Thatcher, before assuming that racism and sexism would rule that pick out.

A bit of research on her past remarks indicates that she tends towards the more libertarian end of the GOP, being both pro-choice and pro-gun, and (Decidedly out of place in this administration.) being a free trader.

As for the excuse to dump Cheney, wouldn't take much of one. It's no lie that he has a heart condition, and it never did make a lot of sense to have a VP who's older and sicker than the President.

Posted by: Brett Bellmore | Jul 8, 2004 11:07:30 AM

I think those that are saying "Condi would cost too much in the South" don't understand the south. First, she'd get all the moderate votes and a greater portion of the african-american vote than Repubs normally get...off-setting the rabid fundies who might care about her sexuality or the few skin heads that might care about her race. Overall, she's a huge positive in the south, being southern herself.

Posted by: j.scott barnard | Jul 8, 2004 11:09:41 AM

Bush campaign ads have forced him to keep Cheney. With the whole "Edwards Second Choice" theme, Bush cannot dump Cheney without this ad coming back to slap him in the face.

Can you say 'Bush flip-floppery?'

Posted by: Kilroy Was Here | Jul 8, 2004 11:13:01 AM

doc, you committed the same error i did a couple of days ago. Indian-American Bobby Jindal lost the gubernatorial race in Louisiana, not the Senate race. Nonetheless, even Fred Barnes acknowledged after that defeat, as you say, that there are many nominally Republican voters in the south who simply won't vote for a non-white person....

Posted by: howard | Jul 8, 2004 11:19:53 AM

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